As you’ve probably already heard, I’m in for Drew Forrester on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” all this week on AM1570 WNST.net. Drew is in Ocean City-presumably doing enough golfing for him, myself, Luke Jones and the entire European Tour.
I have no idea if Drew is planning on writing daily posts himself this week, but I’m going to try to do my best to write my own. Drew’s Morning Dish is brought to you by Koons Baltimore Ford. Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish can be brought to you by Koons Baltimore Ford…unless of course they think I’m a big dummy and don’t want to put their name on it.
This will be about the most simple opinion I will have ever shared on-air or online. Sometimes I say things that people argue with or yell about, but I can’t fathom there being much in the way of dissent here.
The issue surrounding Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice is complicated, to say the least. I have shared a number of opinions about the topic over the course of the last few days and have no doubt that those topics will re-appear throughout the week and throughout the rest of Rice’s tenure in Charm City. I’m on the record about thinking the punishment was too light and that the NFL has a major “perception issue” at best when it comes to women, while the team has failed woefully to address the issue of domestic violence.
But Ray Rice is going to be a Baltimore Raven moving forward. Barring injury, he’ll return to the field Week 3 and will look to help the Ravens make a push towards winning the AFC North again. Before that, he’ll be on the field for preseason games (probably three of them) and will make his first major public appearance Monday night when the team holds a public Training Camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium.
There are a lot of things Ray Rice should do moving forward in his NFL career. He should be humble and appreciative of whatever amount of support fans choose to give him. He should work hard in his marriage and personal relationships. He should stay out of trouble. He should be willing to answer questions openly and honestly when he addresses the media for the first time Thursday in Owings Mills (I say “first time” because I am expecting he will actually answer questions this time). He should attempt to work hard in his professional career-playing football-and re-stock an inventory of appreciation among those who will likely be uncomfortable watching him play.
There’s one thing in particular he absolutely should not do-probably ever again.
Until his trip to Atlantic City, perhaps this celebration was the single most synonymous image of the three time Pro Bowler. Rice’s touchdown celebration has been completely sensical. Given his 5’7″ frame, the former second round pick has been doubted throughout his career, with skeptics wondering whether a player could succeed at a high level in the league at that size.
The celebration-which involved Rice flexing his ample biceps (or sometimes pointing at them)-was his way of saying his toughness and strength more than made up for what he lacked in size.
Rice’s touchdown celebration has been re-enacted by many in Charm City who have looked up to Rice. If you have attended a game at any level-from Pop Warner to college-in this area over the past few years, you have undoubtedly seen a young football player impersonating their idol.
But as the former All-Pro returns to the field after being the first of five Ravens to be arrested in the offseason, it’s time for the celebration to go.
There’s multiple reasons why Rice should abandon the muscle flexing. The most obvious is the visual created by the celebration. While those in Baltimore might recognize the flex as a celebration he’s used for his entire career, those around the country will immediately see a connotation between the flex and the incident with his wife. At best, it’s not worth the headache for Rice to have to try to defend himself. More realistically, it would represent an alarming lack of awareness.
Additionally, struggling Ravens fans don’t deserve to have to defend it. The player and team have already put fans in an awkward position for multiple reasons. Undoubtedly, Ravens fans will be asked “how does it feel do root for a wife beater” for the rest of Rice’s tenure in Purple and Black. The situation doesn’t need to be worsened every time the running back does something significant on a football field.
Someone in this area will inevitably make some sort of “PC Police” claim in response. I won’t bother to try to explain to someone that doesn’t understand why it isn’t a good idea for someone who was arrested for domestic violence to publicly flex his muscles as a form of celebration. If you don’t get it, you won’t get it. But consider that even if you cling to the rights of speech, perhaps dropping the celebration would simply be the best way for Rice to show humility at this point.
As a player, Rice shouldn’t treat it as something someone is taking away from him, he should instead treat it as an opportunity to show how much he’s grown as a man from the lowest moment of his life.
When he made his statement in Owings Mills weeks ago, Rice made it clear he wanted to try to make things return to normal as quickly as possible. You hope he understands that even a gesture like this wouldn’t POSSIBLY get him there.
But it would go a long way in starting the process.