Rutgers University brought back alumnus Ray Rice for their spring practice scrimmage after Rice has been embroiled in a domestic violence case.
On Friday night, former Rutgers and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was invited to the program’s Friday spring practice to speak to the team. Rice, who has been caught up in a domestic violence situation from last year, was invited by Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood to speak.
From College Football Talk:
"“The message was really simple; you can do a lot of great things in your life. You can do charitable works at home and in the cities you are working in, but if you make the wrong decision, you’re going to have to be accountable for it,” Flood explained. “Ray made a wrong decision and he’s held himself accountable for it. He’s paid the price for it and I thought today was an opportunity for him to deliver a message to prevent one of our young people from doing that in the future.”"
With this, Rutgers is one of the first institutions to show support for Rice since video of him hitting his then-fiance surfaced in September.
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The idea of punishment from the league against Ray Rice is not for retribution, but to denounce domestic violence and to afford Rice an opportunity to make some amends for what he has done.
As to the first point, a cynical and yet somewhat accurate take would be to say that the league denounces domestic violence as a public relations move rather than as a moral stance. Regardless, the suspension of Ray Rice brought the issue to the forefront and has made fans of the NFL more conscious of social issues.
As it concerns Rice’s rehabilitation, bringing him on to speak to Rutgers players is a perfect way for him to demonstrate that he is undergoing personal growth. Rather than turning himself into the victim, like he did when the blame was initially placed on his fiance, Rice appears to be admitting his fault in the incident and using it to help other younger people. He is not waltzing into Rutgers practice like a king, but coming in as a figure of remorse.
Certainly this may not reflect well directly onto Rutgers University, but it does actually show a concern for helping Rice grow as a human being when other fans and institutions would like to see him remain down. If he can continue on this path, then maybe a team can consider bringing him back into the fold; but the more important aspect is Rice’s personal growth, which Rutgers is currently enabling.