If Ray Rice returns to the NFL this season, he plans to donate his income to a great cause. As you know, the 29-year-old was cut by the Baltimore Ravens in September 2014 after a disturbing video leaked of him knocking out his then-fiancée in a casino elevator. Rice tells USA TODAY Sports that he’d donate his entire salary in 2016 to organizations with programs focusing on education and prevention of domestic violence and supporting survivors and their families. He explains,
All the scrutiny that I’ve got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing. Me donating my salary is something that’ll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there’s a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It’s raising awareness.
People need homes. People need shelter when they’re in a crucial situation. I’ve donated a lot of money to charities, but I had a situation where it was a national crisis. I’m not saying I’d be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it’s something that will show where my heart is. My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way.
The minimum salary for a seventh-year veteran such as Rice in 2016 is $885,000. With training camps opening next week, though, Rice remains unemployed. He has been working out near his home in Stamford, Conn., and with kids at his old high school.
On Wednesday, Rice delivered his message at a summer program for high school-aged students in the Bronx.
I think the biggest donation that you can give to domestic violence is your time. I’m not just going to be giving it because I have money. I’m going to be giving it because I did the background and the research and spent a lot of time with people who understand the cause. The only way to fix the problem is awareness. It’s an epidemic. I know that my situation raised awareness. I’m not thankful for being that guy, but I’m thankful for the people that now are not afraid to ask for help, because I had to go get the help myself after to realize the severity of what domestic violence is.”
Rice and his wife, Janay Rice, married soon after his indictment stemming from the Feb. 15, 2014, incident in Atlantic City. He was accepted into a pretrial diversion program that resulted in the dismissal of an assault charge against him. The couple has a 4-year-old daughter and are expecting a second child.