Ray Rice is on a “redemption campaign.” I read about it today in New York magazine and had to roll my eyes – not because I think it’s my place to pass judgment on a professional athlete and deny him a second chance, but because I can’t believe the reporter went along with so much of his publicist’s shameless narrative.
I take issue with a lot things about the piece: that it opens with a description of the house, car and jewelry Rice dutifully bought his mother; that it closed with him picking up his wife, Janay, for dinner; and that somewhere in between it dares to repeat the “alternative story” that “Rice was not a monster, but a good guy who made ‘a mistake.’” It’s an awfully generous profile considering the circumstances.
But here’s the real problem I have with the article. After reading it, I asked myself: What was Ray Rice’s agenda for this redemption campaign? Was it to explain himself and apologize for his bad behavior? Was it a quest for personal redemption pure and simple? No, though there was surely some of that sprinkled on top.
It was to communicate that he’s available for hire and willing to play for the bargain basement price of $870,000. It was to let us know that he’s been working out twice a day and is in the best shape of his life. It was to remind the NFL that someone hired Michael Vick after he got out of prison and that turned out just fine. It’s all in there and his publicist couldn’t have written it better himself.
My advice to New York magazine and any others who want to dignify his campaign: Don’t print the talking points.