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Ray Rice Named ‘Legend Of The Game’ By Baltimore Ravens After 2014 Cut Due To Domestic Violence

The Baltimore Ravens decided to honor Ray Rice with the "Legend Of The Game" title at the team's game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens decided to honor its former running back Ray Rice with the “Legend Of The Game” title at the team’s game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Rice received the game day tradition that the city of Baltimore gives on New Year’s Eve to recognize a former player for their accomplishments both on and off the field , NBC Sports reported. However, considering the nature of Rice’s domestic violence past which got him cut from the Ravens back in 2014, many are confused about why he was selected to receive the honor.

Rice’s NFL career came to an end a decade ago after elevator surveillance caught him punching his then-fiancée, now wife, so hard that he knocked her out and dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator. After his arrest for the assault, the NFL faced backlash when they decided to suspend him for just two games.

In September 2014, the Ravens cut him from the team. But nearly a decade later, the franchise believes Rice should be honored for becoming a changed man.

“Rice is being recognized for the player he was, and for the redemption he has worked towards,” the team wrote on its website. “Out of the public eye, Rice has been working on himself, his relationship, and within the community.”

The Ravens continued, “Rice helped the Ravens win their second Super Bowl in 2013. He totaled more than 2,000 total yards in two seasons and topped more than 1,000 rushing yards in four straight years (2009-2012).”

Rice followed up with his own statement affirming how much he’s changed in the nearly 10 years since being cut from the Ravens.

“I truly understand why I was let go and why so many hearts changed. But hopefully people can see where I’m at now. They say people can change, right? I am not the same person I was 10-12 years ago. That’s just not who I am,” Rice said.

“Every time I stepped on the field, I gave it my all. But I couldn’t say the same for life. Now I’m trying to be the best version of me.”

Since ending his NFL career, Rice and Janay Palmer tied the knot and welcomed their two children Rayven (11) and Jaylen (7). The family also moved back to Baltimore, where Rice coaches two youth football teams, the 13U and 7U Pikesville Wildcats. He also launched a nonprofit called Pipeline 2 Prosperity where he helps underprivileged kids in Baltimore and in his hometown of New Rochelle, NY, by providing them with toys, sports equipment, peer-to-peer mentoring, and other resources.

He was inspired to launch the organization after visiting a group home where the correction officer told him that the kids there were often on a pipeline to prison.

“Raising my kids here, I can’t call it a Super Bowl, but it will be a surreal moment,” Rice said of his return to Baltimore. “I want people to really see me. I’m still standing. I’m still going to be strong. I’m still going to help as many people as I can. I’m still going to be a man in the community.”

However, social media had much stronger responses to Rice being honored by the Ravens, due to his violent past.

“Reminder that Ray Rice knocked out his fiancée and then drug her unconscious body out of the elevator and back to their hotel room,” one person tweeted.

There are also many who defended Rice being honored, including sports journalist Jemele Hill who feels the NFL champion has “done the work” since his infamous domestic violence incident.

“I’ve done A LOT of reporting on Ray Rice over the years and it’s very few situations in which I’d say this: He’s truly done the work. He’s a good person who had a horrific moment, but has done so much to educate young boys and men about domestic violence,” she wrote. “His advocacy work isn’t for show. He is proof of the power of growth and healing.”

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