The first Ray Rice video was horrifying. The NFL is hoping for a much different reaction to a second video featuring the former Baltimore Ravens running back.
“We shot a video that just highlights everything that I’ve been talking about decision-making, how things happened in my life, how things unfolded,” Rice told McManus. “The guys get to hear it from me, how it unraveled.”
In 2014, Rice punched his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City hotel elevator. Originally suspended for two games by the NFL after portions of the security-camera footage were uncovered and released, the league suspended Rice indefinitely and the Ravens released him after footage of the actual punch was obtained by TMZ. He hasn’t played in the NFL since and seems unlikely to ever resume his career at the age of 30. Since the incident, Rice has worked to rehabilitate his image by speaking to high school and college teams about the choices he made. He and his fiancee, Janay, were married six weeks after the incident. They have two children together.
In each of the past four years, the league has created a video presentation to remind its employees of various aspects of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. Last year’s presentation focused on DUI, sexual assault and gun safety, McManus says. A previous video featured former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter after hitting and killing a construction worker while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. The league suspended Stallworth for the entire 2009 season.
Now another player will hope to get his message across, namely “don’t do what I did.”
“We started bouncing the idea around where what if Ray could share the journey he’d been on and the choices that led him to his series of bad decisions that led him to where he is now,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility, told McManus. “And that wasn’t an easy decision to make.”
Said Rice: “I’ve been building relationships with [the NFL front office], and it’s a mutual thing. The NFL has a great platform, they reach a lot of people. It’s part of our responsibility to reach out for not the on-field opportunity but off-field, too.”