Personal accountability for a public person like Ray Rice becomes something we demand most urgently when video becomes available. The footage of him punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in the face inside an Atlantic City casino elevator, rendering her unconscious—then later, by her feet, dragging her limp body out into the hallway—is brutal and unforgettable. Now, nearly 18 months later, he’s doing all he can to make amends both privately and publicly. By all accounts, he has improved his relationship with Janay, to whom he is now married. He has been undergoing counseling and after a typical celebrity semi-apology, has fully owned up to what he did. Theoretically, the door is now open for the former NFL running back and domestic abuser to resume his pro football career.
More and more, we hear people saying that Rice “deserves” the opportunity to do so. His former Ravens teammate Torrey Smith said as much in June, telling TMZ that Rice has “made things right with his wife and family and earned respect with his actions since the incident.” espnW reporter Jane McManus echoed that argument, writing that Rice, by all accounts, has “dedicated himself sincerely to the process.” Now, the two co-founders of the national organization A Call to Men, which aims to end violence against women, are also advocating for Rice to be given a second chance. “We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive,” co-founder Tony Porter told ESPN this past weekend. “We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He’s deserving of it.”