NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- News12 reported Thursday that former Baltimore Ravens All-Pro Ray Rice has officially joined the coaching staff of the New Rochelle High School football team. He has volunteered his time with the team over the past three years, according to the report.
Two weeks ago, Ray Rice was indicted into the New Rochelle Walk of Fame.
The effort to rehabilitate Ray Rice’s image — his career in the NFL effectively ended with the release of video showing him brutally cold-cocking his now-wife — is in full swing in New Rochelle. It is hard to imagine how Mayor Noam Bramson or New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne rationalize putting Rice on a pedestal. Less so, New Rochelle High School Football Head Coach Lou DeRienzo who has consistently used his position with the school district to smooth the way for Rice since the story first broke.
Rice is not some down-on-his-luck guy who made a mistake long ago. Rice was charged with assaulting his wife just three years ago. He is a multimillionaire. He does not need a job. This is about a program designed to rehab his image orchestrated by Rice’s “team” which includes DeRienzo. If they want to do that on their time -- and their dime -- let them. Why should taxpayers be supporting Rice's PR campaign?
The question is not “does he deserve redemption?” Everyone who sincerely seeks redemption should get it. The question is whether he should be honored as some sort of hero for it.
To recall, it was not long ago that Rice was suspended “indefinitely” by the NFL in 2014 after video of him assaulting his then-finance in an Atlantic City elevator.
On February 15, 2014, Ray Rice and Janay Palmer were arrested, charged and released from jail after an incident at the Revel Casino. Both were charged with “simple assault”
At the time, Rice's attorney said there was a "minor physical altercation."
We now know that this was not even remotely true. The lawyer flat out lied. The question is whether he lied in spite of Ray Rice telling the truth or because Ray Rice did not tell the truth to his lawyer. Unfortunately for both of them, there was surveillance video.
On February 19, 2014, video was made public by TMZ showing Rice dragging Palmer, limp and unconscious, from an elevator. Local police confirmed that there was video depicting Rice knocking Palmer unconscious with his closed fist but the video was not released.
Despite the video of Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator, Baltimore Ravens officials supported Rice. Head coach John Harbaugh, General Manager Ozzie Newsome, and Team Owner Steve Bisciotti all expressed their support for Rice, extolled his character and gave assurances he would be back with the team in the fall.
On March 27, 2014, Ray Rice was indicted by a Grand Jury on charges of aggravated assault. The charges against his wife were dropped. The following day, Ray Rice married Janay Palmer.
On May 21, 2014, the domestic violence charges against Rice were dropped after he agreed to enter a pre-trial intervention program which included court-supervised counseling.
With the criminal matter out of the way, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a hearing with Rice and Palmer on June 15th, after which Goodell said Rice was "ambiguous" in his account of events at the Revel Casino. On July 24, Rice was suspended by the NFL for 2 games.
As the 2014 season opened, on September 8th, TMZ released the now infamous video of Ray Rice punching Janay in the face. That same day the Ravens fired Ray Rice and the league suspended Rice “indefinitely”. The next day the Ravens owner made a public apology for the team’s handling of the situation. On September 10th, ESPN reported that Ray Rice spit on Janay Palmer before he hit her,
'The following week Ray Rice appealed his suspension. On November 28th, Rice won his appeal and was reinstated by NFL. No team has been willing to hire him since.
Given this history, it is hard to imagine the New Rochelle Board of Education wanting a football coach with a history of violence to work with children. What this matter really shows is that Lou DeRienzo is a power unto himself, outside the control of Athletic Director Steve Young, New Rochelle High School Principal Reggie Richardson, Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne or the School Board. The question for members of the New Rochelle school community is who do you want running your schools, an educator or a football coach?
Talk of the Sound has filed a Freedom of Information request for all paperwork related to his relationship with the school district.
What do Talk of the Sound readers think? Is it time to forgive, forget and move on OR banishment, exile and infamy?
TMZ VIDEO: Ray Rice Dragging Unconscious Fiancee