Titans’ Micahel Oher Not Blind On Ray Rice


Unless you live under a rock, then you know that the Tennessee Titan’s Michael Oher (of the movie The Blind Side fame) was a teammate of Ray Rice while with the Baltimore Ravens. Unless you live under a rock, if you are a sports fan then you no doubt have heard of the continuing drama surrounding the Baltimore Raven’s Ray Rice.

I won’t rehash that story too much. Suffice it to say that Rice is under scrutiny following a video released by TMZ Sports of him striking his then fiance’ and now wife, Janay Palmer, inside an elevator. TMZ had previously released a video of Rice on the outside of the elevator dragging his fiance from the elevator. Rice was suspended on that incident for just two games.

With both videos out in public now, not only is Rice under close scrutiny, but so is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Ravens organization, and the whole of the NFL for how these kinds of issues are handled as an organization.

Personally, I don’t like the drama, and I cannot wait until the story dies down and we can get back to thinking about football rather than the personal and legal issues of players. I realize the NFL and its players have a responsibility to handle these things correctly, but I think we fans often get pulled down a social current that many of us don’t care to get pulled down. We’d prefer to stay ashore on stable ground and focus on the game. Does that mean that fans like me don’t care? Not at all!

It’s not that I’m insensitive to the situation of many women (and frankly men!) in domestic violence situations, but media outlets tend to go overboard with coverage of these stories, even sports media, and the sports we actually want to hear about as fans gets swept under the rug for a time. I suppose you could say I’m guilty of that as well as I write this story, but as you’ll see, for me it’s more about football than about the drama.

In fact, the only reason I’m mentioning the Rice drama at all, is because of the relationship between Ray Rice and the Titan’s Micahel Oher.

As I mentioned, Rice and Oher were teammates and friends in Baltimore for five years. Oher not only blocked for Rice, but they had the memory together of a Super Bowl victory in 2012, and had lockers right next to each other in the clubhouse. Oher got to know Rice well, and has since had some thoughts as the recent Rice drama has begun to unfold.

According to a report by The Tennessean, Tennessee Titan offensive lineman Michael Oher had the following thoughts about the unfolding story on Ray Rice:

"I don’t condone that or anything. From my understanding, having a locker right next to Ray, he was a good guy it seemed to me. But there is no place for anything like that, striking a woman like that. If my daughter was to get hit like that from another man, I would have a serious problem with it. I wish him the best, but there is no place for that. I don’t care if you are a football player, a professional athlete, a regular man or anything. There is no place for that, for striking a woman."

I fully agree with Oher, who is clearly not blinded to the truth about Ray Rice, and knowing right from wrong.

The Baltimore Ravens released Rice on Monday, and the NFL has now taken action to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely. The NFL and Roger Goodell have come under extreme scrutiny for perhaps not doing enough, and for perhaps trying to hide what they really knew about the whole of the incident.  The FBI has now stepped in with an investigation of their own.

I like that Michael Oher was vocal about Ray Rice, and if you’ve seen the videos of Rice abusing Palmer, then you know where Oher is coming from. There is NO place in any walk of life for anyone to treat another human being in that fashion. When you are a role model as any well-known sports figure is. it’s doubly true that there is NO place for such a person in sports. If Roger Goodell did try to cover up what he knew about this incident, then there’s also no room for such a commissioner in the NFL.

As I mentioned previously, I would like us to be able to get back to football, but with regard to what Rice did, as Michael Oher said, there is no place for that. We cannot turn a blind eye to these kinds of issues in life, and certainly not with professional athletes. If we do, we run the risk of of inadvertently announcing that its somehow okay. That won’t help the victims of domestic violence, and it won’t help this great game of football either.

In my opinion, the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice is a good thing, for him and for football. People make mistakes, but this issue is now much larger than whether Rice simply made a mistake or not, or whether or not he is now contrite about it. The issue is also about right and wrong, and the issue is also about what is best for football. I love the sport, and I think for the continued integrity of the NFL, the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice may well need to be permanent. If Goodell covered up what he knew, then I can think of at least one more suspension that should take place as well.