It’s Time For Us To Forgive Ray Rice

Ray Rice pauses during a news conference with his wife Janay on May 23, 2014. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Ray Rice pauses during a news conference with his wife Janay on May 23, 2014. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

According to ESPN, four teams are currently looking at signing Ray Rice now that his indefinite suspension from the NFL was overturned on appeal. One of the teams alleged to be interested is my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints.

While it is unlikely that the Saints will sign Ray Rice as their backfield already has plenty of depth, some team will pick him up, and there will be the inevitable outcry from some people who think he should have been banned forever. To those people I say, “get real.”

While I certainly don’t condone Ray Rice’s actions, at what point do we need to stop rubbing his nose in his actions and demanding more and more punishment? This constant desire to punish someone over and over again indefinitely for their misdeeds isn’t something confined solely to conservatives or liberals, it seems to be an inherent part of human nature and a need for revenge long after someone has paid the price for what they’ve done.

Here in the United States, we have a serious problem with recidivism with 77% percent of prisoners released being arrested again within 5 years according to a Bureau of Justice study.

An estimated two-thirds (68 percent) of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of release from prison, and three-quarters (77 percent) were arrested within five years, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

More than a third (37 percent) of prisoners who were arrested within five years of release were arrested within the first six months after release, with more than half (57 percent) arrested by the end of the first year.

These findings are based on a BJS data collection, Recidivism of State Prisoners Released in 2005, which tracked a sample of former prison inmates from 30 states for five years following release in 2005.

During the five years after release, prisoners in the study were arrested about 1.2 million times across the country. A sixth (16 percent) of released prisoners were responsible for nearly half (48 percent) of the arrests. About two in five (42 percent) released prisoners were either not arrested or were arrested no more than once in the five years after release. (Source)

Of course, we’re talking about a guy who was a star athlete making millions of dollars involved in an ugly domestic violence case that he managed to avoid jail time on versus a criminal justice system that will put someone behind bars for years for selling a bag or two of marijuana. If he didn’t have the money to get an expensive lawyer, it’s pretty safe to say that like many other people who are processed through the system every day, we wouldn’t be talking about his return as he’d probably be serving time in prison.

Ray Rice is coming close to the end of his career, even if a team decides to take a chance on him, as Neil Paine over at points out:

So, by any standard, Rice was awful when he last played. And at age 27, he’s at the point on the running back aging curve where production starts to fall off a cliff. FiveThirtyEight contributor Chase Stuartlooked at a cohort of recent RBs who had good careers (at least 5,000 career rushing yards and 40 rushing yards per game) and found that nearly a third of them were washed up by the end of their age 28 season. Almost two-thirds were finished by age 29.

Even after his reinstatement (and the requisite quotes about Rice having stayed in “great shape” during the ban), Rice is unlikely to contribute to a team in any meaningful way this season. So whoever signs him is looking at maybe two more seasons of any productivity from him — and that’s without factoring in a year of rust and just how bad Rice was when he last took the field. Combined with the seemingly inevitable backlash his signing will cause, it’s tough to find any logical reason to give Rice another chance in the NFL. (Source)

So why am I telling people to get over the Ray Rice incident? Because the guy paid the price by losing his job and millions of dollars. The NFL was apparently well aware of the incident when handing out the initial suspension and only issued the indefinite suspension after it got out that they were aware of the video in the beginning. Ray Rice did a terrible thing, but he didn’t try to lie or mislead anybody about what happened. What’s more, he took full responsibility for his actions and expressed genuine remorse, which is more than what can be said for Adrian Peterson’s half-hearted and apparently insincere apology for physically abusing a small child. Ray Rice could be used as a spokesman against domestic violence and serve as an example to others who find themselves caught in abusive relationships, but not so long as we keep piling on the guy.

The NFL and Ray Rice are both ready to put this behind them and move on – and it’s time we did the same.


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