On Now
Coming Up
  • Wed., Jul. 27, 2016 5:30 PM EDT Live Terrell Suggs Press Conference OLB Terrell Suggs will address the media.
  • Thu., Jul. 28, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Live Training Camp Press Conference Head coach John Harbaugh, RB Javorius Allen, T Ronnie Stanley and S Eric Weddle will address the media.
  • Fri., Jul. 29, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Live Training Camp Press Conference Head coach John Harbaugh, tight ends coach Richard Angulo, TE Dennis Pitta, DT Brandon Williams and G Marshal Yanda will address the media.
  • Mon., Aug. 01, 2016 7:00 PM EDT Training Camp Military Appreciation Day The first M&T Bank Stadium practice will take place on Monday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. This practice – free and open to all fans – coincides with the Ravens’ annual Military Appreciation Day. Approximately 3,500 special seats will be reserved for active service members and veterans who present valid military identification upon check-in at the stadium.
  • Sat., Aug. 06, 2016 6:00 PM EDT Training Camp Fireworks Night On Saturday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m., the second M&T Bank Stadium practice will showcase the organization’s third-annual Fireworks Night, an event highlighted by post-practice autographs for children and a fireworks/laser show.
  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 5:00 PM EDT Countdown To Kickoff Party Presented By Miller Lite Grammy Award®-nominated rock band 3 DOORS DOWN will perform at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff Party Presented by Miller Lite on Friday, Sept. 9 at Maryland State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Open to all ages.
  • Mon., Oct. 03, 2016 5:00 PM EDT A Purple Evening A Purple Evening is back! Join Purple on Monday, October 3rd for on-field drills, player appearances and autographs, giveaways, and much more! Tickets will go on sale soon. Check Purple-Just for Women on Facebook for the latest club and event information.
  • Sun., Oct. 23, 2016 7:30 AM EDT Purple Away Game Trip Up the Jersey Turnpike we go! Hit the road with the Purple Club on Sunday, October 23rd to watch our Baltimore Ravens take on the New York Jets for a 1:00 p.m. game at MetLife Stadium. Don't miss your chance to join the only NFL women's fan club to travel into unfamiliar territory!
  • Sat., Dec. 10, 2016 2:00 PM EST Army vs. Navy Football Don't miss one of the greatest events you can ever attend! The Army-Navy Game presented by USAA returns to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, December 10, 2016

News

Print
RSS

Eisenberg: Good First Step, Long Road Ahead

Posted May 23, 2014

Ray Rice’s greatest hurdle may lie in the court of public opinion.


When Ray Rice was accepted into a pretrial diversionary program by a prosecutor in New Jersey, it meant his legal problems could eventually vanish for the most part. And regardless if the NFL decides to suspend him under its personal conduct policy, any punishment likely will be over fairly quickly.

But while those aspects of his situation are rapidly improving, Rice will not have it so easy in the court of public opinion.

He is facing a much longer haul in his battle to assure fans he is the same, good solider they knew before a grainy security video surfaced in February, leading to his indictment on an aggravated assault charge.

He started the recovery process Friday at the Under Armour Performance Center, speaking to reporters for the first time since the incident. Wearing a gray suit as his wife, Janay Palmer, sat beside him, Rice was nervous, emotional at times, and deeply apologetic, at one point saying, “I failed miserably.” Without taking questions, he sounded like someone who knew he had made a terrible mistake.

“Hopefully one day I will gain back everyone’s trust,” he said. “I’m still the same person.”

His wife also spoke, saying she regretted her role in the incident. "I love Ray, and I know he will continue to prove himself to you and the community,” she said.

It was a safe start to Rice’s attempt to reclaim his positive image, but there’s no doubt a tough road lies ahead.

Rice burnished a golden image in the community with his years of earnest hard work, his countless hours spent in schools, camps and hospitals. He was the star who remembered where he came from and genuinely related to those not as fortunate. He also set an upbeat, positive tone in the locker room, leading both by example and with his words.

The Ravens have stood by him through these tough months because, as President Dick Cass said earlier this week, “We have the advantage of knowing Ray.”

But the positive vibe he worked so hard to develop was mitigated in an instant in many minds, undone by whatever happened that night in a casino elevator in Atlantic City. And the dark clouds that scudded into his previously clear-blue sky will not go away easily.

More than a decade ago, Rice’s mentor, Ray Lewis, experienced even more serious legal trouble. He ultimately got on with his life, but it took years for sponsors to return to him, for Lewis to change the narrative. In the end, he was one of the faces of the NFL and a powerful force in the community. It became a great story of redemption, but his road was long and tough, and some detractors have never forgotten what happened.

Rice’s situation is different in many ways. Rice isn’t going to trial, and it appears he’ll plead guilty to nothing. But domestic violence is a terrible problem in society and a white-hot-button issue, as it should be, and however your toe gets dipped in that boiling water, you’re going to get scalded.

When Rice finally does take questions, some won’t be pretty. And as he tries to get on with his life, he’ll always have to deal with one major obstacle – a grainy security video living forever on the Internet as an on-demand refresher course of the troubles he would like to bury.

Some fans are ready to absolve him, while others are struggling to reconcile their support for him. I have heard plenty from both sides. Frankly, there’s enough doubt that I’m not sure things are ever going to be quite the same for Rice.

But problems that seem insurmountable can ease over time. Life goes on. People get second chances. Rice elected to speak Friday because he wanted his fans, teammates and the community to hear his remorse. He also wanted to send a message to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will decide if he gets suspended, and if so, for how long.

From here, Rice’s next move is to complete the diversionary program while carefully returning to the community work he was so passionate about before. It’s going to require a tough hide. People say things. He can’t just snap his fingers and make his recent past disappear. All he can do is roll up his sleeves and start trying to change any minds he may have lost, one by one.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos