NEW YORK-JAN 31: Football player Ray Rice attends ESPN The PartyThe world was shocked over a year ago when a video of NFL player, Ray Rice, beating his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, surfaced. It sparked huge debates about domestic violence and whether sports leagues should discipline players in these situations. Rather than end their relationship, the couple moved forward and were married not long after the incident. The charges in that case were dismissed.

In a recent interview with Outside the Lines, Rice said: “I can understand some people probably never will forgive my actions but I think that every step that I took going forward right now—over time, I want to be able to rewrite the script, to tell my daughter that daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward. To the survivors of domestic violence, I understand how real it is, and I don’t want to ever take that for granted because this is a real issue in our society. My video put the light out there. If you have never seen what domestic violence looks like and you look at my video, I could understand why some people would never forgive me.”

Rehabilitation

It is true that the video of the altercation ignited the discussion around what constitutes domestic violence and many had opinions about Janay’s decision to stay in the relationship. Rice feels that he deserved as second chance and refers to himself as a “rehabilitated man” after completing a 12-month program for first-time offenders. He attended counseling and stayed out of legal trouble which resulted in the charges being dropped from his record.

He elaborated: “We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that. Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak…I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video, that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.”

Impact on Career

Indeed. He may not have suffered in terms of losing his relationship but his career took a hit. After initially only receiving a 2-game suspension, the Baltimore Ravens ultimately dropped him after the footage from the assault was released. Rice filed an appeal with the NFL to allow him to become eligible to play again but he remains a free agent and has not been signed to any team.

The football player explained that he understood why teams were shying away from him and he also stated that he realized that playing is a privilege. He went on to add: “I always preach one or two bad decisions, and your dream could become a nightmare. Well, I had to eat my own words. I truly lived a nightmare. There is no set in stone whether you’re going to get a second chance or not. I have to set my hope and faith and everything else that I’m doing in my life, I’m just really hopeful for a second chance.”

Only time will tell if a team is willing to add him to their roster but, hopefully, Rice has truly learned his lesson. If you or anyone you know has been subjected to domestic abuse, visit the The National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 1-800-799-7233. There is no need to suffer alone.