Ray Rice is a polarizing figure in the NFL. His performances have been stellar and as a Baltimore Raven the city has embraced him. Unlike his sterling reputation on the field, his personal life has been a little bit messy.
In 2014 Rice was suspended on suspicion of domestic violence charges. This led to major scrutiny from the media, domestic violence groups and the NFL itself.
It’s no secret that football players are taught to be aggressive. Many studies have been conducted on the correlation between aggression, football and domestic violence. On a case-by-case basis it’s clear that not every player struggles with these issues or acts on these aggressions.
In order to rehab his image, Rice has committed to donating his entire 2016 salary to domestic violence charities should he be picked up by an NFL team. He’s been out of the game since 2014.
Rice spoke with USA today and conveyed his sentiments to the reporter, "Me donating my salary is something that'll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there's a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It's raising awareness.
"People need homes. People need shelter when they're in a crucial situation. I've donated a lot of money to charities, but I had a situation where it was a national crisis. I'm not saying I'd be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it's something that will show where my heart is. My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way.”
A lot of people have criticized this move as a pragmatic solution to an emotional problem. The 29-year-old player played six consecutive seasons for the Baltimore Ravens. His records include 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns. He’s hardly a player you’d want to miss.
Rice attended the pro bowl three times and was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in September of 2014 after they had been scrutinized for sweeping domestic violence issues under the rug.
USA Today reported that the minimum salary for a player like Rice would boast a staggering 885,000 dollars per year. This is the amount that Rice suggests he’d donate should the Ravens pick him back up again.
His window to return to the Ravens has been rapidly closing, and Rice told NJ.com that he was eager to get back on the field and right his wrongs in the process. He seemed genuinely remorseful for what he had done, and even took responsibility for other players who weren’t strong enough to own up to their mistakes.
"I don't want to ever say I'm giving up, because that's never going to be me. I'm happy. I'm in the best shape of my life, and I know if it doesn't happen this year, it's probably something I have to deal with. But you know what? It's not the end of my life.
"I know that the window for playing is closing. But if my window closes, I'm going to make sure I open up a thousand more opportunities for kids, to give them an opportunity to pick up where I left off,” Rice told NJ.com. That's where I'm at. I've got three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. There's a lot of people that can't go out there and do what I did. But I don't want it to end that way, it's safe to say.''