Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is facing charges in Atlantic City related to an incident last weekend in which witnesses say he knocked out his fiancée at a casino with an uppercut to the face. A video has now emerged showing Rice dragging the woman’s limp body out of an elevator.
Things are complicated further by the fact that Rice averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry this season, making it hard for the Ravens to know exactly how to feel about him knocking out a woman.
“If this was the Ray Rice of two or three years ago, when he was arguably the most productive running back in the NFL, we’d be standing by him 100-percent,” said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. “We’d be asking for privacy and stressing that things didn’t happen as they seem. But his production has gone down back-to-back years and he’s 27 now. He could be through his prime. Considering all that, maybe we take a strong stance here against violence against women or whatever and cut Ray from the team.”
The Ravens faced a similar scenario with the team’s former star Ray, retired linebacker Ray Lewis, when he was involved in a double murder. But head coach John Harbaugh says the circumstances were very different.
“I wasn’t here back then,” he said, “but I remember how the Ravens gave him unwavering support throughout the whole thing, even though it was a pretty gruesome scene, which he fled from in a limo, covered in blood, and then destroyed his clothes and lied to police. But Ray was only 24 then and was coming into his own as a player. Unfortunately for our current Ray, Ray Rice, he made the mistake of doing crime as he was exiting his prime, not entering his prime. That makes it much easier for us to pretend to sincerely care about our players’ off-the-field behavior.”
Before the Ravens make a decision on Rice’s future with the Ravens, he will be asked to meet with team officials.
“We want to put him through a workout to see if he still has what it takes to produce in this league,” said Newsome. “He’ll also probably want to tell us his side or whatever to the Atlantic City thing. But we don’t care so much about that. Even if he is somehow completely innocent, if we determine he’s no longer good, we’ll still use it as an opportunity to cut him and maybe even recoup what we still owe on his contract. Moralities clause or something.”
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