Ray Rice held a press conference to offer an apology for a recent altercation that went viral. Several months ago Rice was in the news and not for his football talents. The Super Bowl champion and team favorite was seen on a closed circuit camera from a hotel elevator at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. slugging his then fiancé Janay Palmer during a heating exchange. What looked like a simple lover’s spat quickly turned into her being knocked unconscious.
Like a scene from a Friday night MMA style fight, Rice seemed to lose his restraint and strike her twice. As she fell to the ground her head made contact with a metal railing in the elevator interior and rendered her unconscious. What happened next is what has the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ready to hand down a stern judgment. Rice is seen in an exterior camera dragging Palmer’s out of the elevator doors when he was spotted by hotel security.
Although the incident took place in mid February, Rice was recently indicted on assault charges, married the victim in question and is embroiled in a legal battle with the prosecutors from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Rice recently held a special press conference to address the allegations and share his side of the story.
Silent since the footage was revealed, Rice was showing a softer side at the press conference. Seated with his now wife Janay Palmer to his right, they both spoke in terms of showing a unified front. Rice and Palmer seemed to both have come to the revelation that they each held a certain level of responsibility in escalating the situation. But the question yet remains, how sincere was his apology? Could he be taken seriously after the apparent rushing of his nuptials?
Public apologies from celebrities and athletes are nothing new. From the infamous presidential sized statements of Bill Clinton to Chris Brown, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant; we have seen everything from the broken and contrite to the evasive and agitated. A common thread is the typical public support of their partner at their side. Some view this as a sign of marital strength while others see it as a cheap PR stunt to distract our minds from the obvious.
Rice, who weighs in at nearly 221 pounds, should have easily been able to restrain Palmer until he could exit the elevator. Instead what has NFL officials and the community at large concerned is that he chose not to. With two solid punches, he knocked her out cold. That type of unchecked anger may be suitable for the gridiron, but is actually illegal on the streets. Atlantic City police arrested both parties at the scene and charged them for assault.
About a month of the incident the Ravens running back was indicted on a third-degree aggravated assault charge. Rice is not expected to be handed out any jail time for the incident because on May 20th he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program. This program allows him the opportunity to avoid going to jail if he stays out of trouble.
The intervention program will take at least a year, but if successfully completed the third-degree assault charge would be dismissed. The arrest would remain on Rice’s permanent record but there would be no conviction.
Rice may avoid jail time but is still expected to be “disciplined” by the NFL. He is meeting with Goodell in the near future for a conversation which will likely outline his punishment. The Ravens are preparing for their team member to miss anywhere from three games to 25 percent of the 2014 season. One of the reasons the league is expected to come down hard on Rice is due to the video of the incident which quickly spread across media outlets.
A press conference was recently held which allowed Ray Rice and his now wife to offer an apology for a fight they had at an Atlantic City Hotel. The questions many are asking after Rice rushed to change Janay’s status from fiancé to wife is, “Is he just sorry he got caught, is his apology sincere or is this simply another publicity stunt?” Only he knows the reason for the apology. For the altercation Rice may not serve any jail time but he has definitely been handed a big-time loss in the court of public opinion.
Opinion By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)