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Ray Rice and the Great NFL Hypocrisy

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Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice wants back in the NFL so badly that he reportedly promised to donate his entire 2016 NFL season salary to a charity against violence against women if a team signed him. What if it was your team that signed him? Personally, I’d welcome it.

Baltimore Ravens v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So this is not specifically a Saints story, but as an NFL story, in a way maybe it is. Just keep reading...ok skimming, and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say here:

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice wants back in the NFL so badly that he reportedly promised to donate his entire 2016 NFL season salary to a charity against violence against women if a team signed him. The news was reported by Daniel Phillips and later confirmed by Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

So will any NFL team sign Rice in order to donate money to a charity working to prevent violence against women? One should and I wouldn’t be mad if it was our Saints. Of course, said team would have to make Rice sign an agreement that he would actually follow suit and donate the entirety of his 2016 NFL season paycheck to such charity. The signing would inevitably be followed by a bit of a media circus as well, but more importantly, if this actually happened, it would show that the NFL (and indirectly all of us) truly care about contributing positively to thwart violence against women.

There are only two main reasons why Ray Rice hasn’t played another down of professional football since the infamous elevator video where he is seen punching his then-fiancee and knocking her out cold: 1) Rice’s abilities as a running back had steeply declined in his last NFL season. 2) We all saw the video.

And therein lies the great NFL hypocrisy and indirectly, our own too.

in 2013, the last time he played NFL football, Rice rushed for 660 yards, a meager 3.1 yards-per-carry average and only four touchdowns. Then came the scandal. Just like Greg Hardy, Ray Lewis, Michael Vick, Leonard Little, Donte Stallworth and any other NFL stars who got involved in a cringe-worthy off the field incident, Rice would have undoubtedly gotten another chance to play in the NFL, from either the Ravens or another team willing to give him a second chance. The team would have waited until another scandal took its turn on the 24-7 news cycle stage, Rice would’ve issued a well-concocted apology, Goodell would have suspended him for four to eight games and the diminutive back would have started his rehabilitation tour on some NFL stadium near you. But then we saw it!!! Oh God, we saw it. It would have been so much better if someone wouldn’t have put the truth so blatantly in front of us. Who needs to see that? We just want some footbaaaaawwwwll!!!

But after seeing it, we couldn’t pretend anymore. The NFL especially, couldn’t pretend anymore. Goodell had to do something, something drastic. So he probably instructed every NFL team to NOT sign him for a while, otherwise (as we unfortunately know too well in New Orleans) he would wield his big fat stick! It’s all about "protecting the shield!" And all the dolla-dolla bills the League makes, of course. Shhhhh...

So now, two plus years have passed and Rice is trying to get back to the league. But man, we saw it though. We saw it! What a horrible person, we saw it. Our - insert NFL team name here - shouldn’t sign this despicable human being. Our team signs good guys with character, you know guys like...like Junior Galette in Washington, or like Greg Hardy who just worked out for the Jaguars. Our team is clean, thank God!

I wish some NFL team would sign Ray Rice, and by doing so, give money to a charity for the prevention of violence against women. And I’ve said it, I wouldn’t mind if it’s the Saints. Here’s a guy who clearly has recognized his mistakes, has paid quite a price by very simply getting black-balled by the NFL. Here’s a guy who now is clearly trying his very best to play a sport he sorely misses, but also use his voice to try and repair the terrible damage he has done, by becoming an advocate against the type of heinous acts that got him into the purgatory he is in right now. Even more importantly, Rice could be (like Vick became when he returned to the NFL) another symbol of what-not-to-do and a redemption story in this society of ours that grows increasingly unforgiving.

Oh and before you start telling me that he sucked in 2013, just the year before that Ray Rice ran for 1143 yards with a 4.4 yards-per-carry average and nine touchdowns. Rice wouldn’t be as big a gamble as Tim Hightower was when the Saints signed him after he had been out of football for years due to injuries.

Finally, maybe the NFL can stop being such a bunch of hypocrites and actually do something good by using the very same reason they sent Rice into the football wilderness to initiate a stronger dialog and educate young athletes about the horror that is violence against women.

If you think I’m crazy, you know I always welcome your opinion. The floor is yours.