All of this happened waaaaaaay later than it should’ve, but Monday the Baltimore Ravens finally decided to terminate the contract of running back Ray Rice. Shortly thereafter, the NFL announced that it has suspended Rice indefinitely in light of the video that surfaced earlier this morning that shows Rice punching his then-fiancee in the face in an Atlantic City elevator. Previously, of course, the league suspended Rice for the season’s first two games.
The Ravens, after a slew of terrible PR moves of their own, should have done this once the news first broke if they were going to do it at all. We already knew that Rice struck his wife, but now that we’ve actually seen the video, it’s somehow worse? They were all defiant about standing by “their guy” at first, but now they can’t distance quickly enough. Cutting Rice is obviously the right move here, but the timing seems weird. If you’re going to do it at all, do it sooner, Ravens.
The NFL publicly admitted a couple of weeks ago that they had erred in their initial decision to suspend Rice for such a short amount of time, but now it appears as though they’re trying to make amends. The suspension is probably just icing on the cake considering a team would be completely insane to try and sign Rice at this point. It would be a nightmare from a public relations perspective, and would send an awful message.
Is Rice’s career over? Who knows. Other NFL players have returned after being convicted of major crimes, including Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little. Rice’s circumstance is different, however, especially considering the position he plays. Running backs are rarely effective beyond the age of 30, and Rice will turn 28 next January. Is he worth the potential headache if his on-field production is likely to decline soon anyway? Running backs grow on trees and you can find gems anywhere. Signing a known wife-beater (who wasn’t really THAT great to begin with) would be quite the head-scratcher.
And, since this is a fantasy site, I suppose it’s semi pertinent to mention that (obviously) this elevates the stock of both Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce. Pierce, however, was benched following a fumble in the opener against the Bengals. Forsett led the team with 70 rushing yards and a TD.