By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The penalty was finally handed out for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice following an incident where hotel video surfaced showing him dragging his unconscious fiancee off an elevator.
He had allegedly knocked her out cold.
The league’s punishment is two days’ suspension.
Rice released a statement taking responsibility and saying the experience made him a better person.
“My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children, I let down because of this incident,” Rice said, per ESPN. “I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that.”
While Rice appeared contrite, coach John Harbaugh’s response has drawn plenty of detractors on social media.
“It’s not a big deal, it’s just part of the process,” Harbaugh said, according to ESPN. “There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray. He’s a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake, alright? He’s going to have to pay a consequence. I think that’s good for kids to understand it works that way. That’s how it works, that’s how it should be.”
CBS Detroit’s Ashley Dunkak talked to the Lions’ Golden Tate, and several other players about the incident recently, and they also seemed to find sympathy for Rice.
“What you do outside of football is your business,” Tate said. “Now I don’t agree with assault or any of those other illegal actions, but it is what it is. That’s not football-related.”
As far as Rice specifically, Tate said at the time he hoped the NFL would consider Rice’s history when it penalized him. Tate, who knows Rice, said the incident did represent Rice as a person.
“He’s a great guy, a guy with high character,” Tate said. “It’s unfortunate that that night happened. I’m sure if he could do it all over again, it wouldn’t even come that close, and it’s unfortunate that one incident – he’s done many, many great things in this community, in this league, he’s won a championship, he’s a great person, always smiling. It’s kind of sad that that one incident is what people are going to remember forever. Like I said, we’re under a microscope, and you’ve just got to be smarter. As far as a punishment, I’m sure NFL, NFLPA will look over it thoroughly and decide what they think is best.
“I’m praying that they also look at what he’s done for the NFL previously and for his family and for this league.”