Despite the appalling video showing Ray Rice punching out his soon-to-be wife in an elevator, some NFL team or another is going to want to hire the former Ravens star now that a judge ruled the NFL can’t suspend him indefinitely.
Billionaire Mark Cuban, as the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, knows something about the world of pro athletes.
On Monday, speaking at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, Cuban said if Rice was regularly abusing his wife, “somebody in the NFL knew.”
Cuban said that the NFL, like the NBA, has psychologists on staff who can identify behaviours that indicate an abuser. (Although Rice’s wife said in a recent interview that Rice isn’t one of those men, doesn’t routinely hit her, and this was a one-time, drunken thing.)
Whether it was a one time deal or not, Cuban says that he’s not comfortable with the idea of kicking Rice out of the NFL entirely with no help for his problems.
I don’t like the idea of just throwing someone to the curb. I don’t like the idea of just pushing our organizational problems and saying, ‘That was horrible what you did. Just go be horrible for someone else, or keep on being horrible and nobody is ever going to stop you.’
What I would try to do, have tried to do (we haven’t had anything that bad), is to say, ‘Let’s go get you help. We’ll deal with whatever legal issues, but you’re not stepping onto the court until you’re past all that.’ It could be alcoholism. It could be whatever.
… You may not want to employ them longer term. But don’t just throw them out. Get them help so wherever they go next, even if it’s not professional sports, they are in a position to have a career of some sort.
He says that any team that wants to hire Rice should have a psychologist interview him and make sure his issues are fixed before letting him join a team. If they are, “this is America” where we believe “in second chances.”
Cuban also thinks that all sports teams, even in junior high, should be doing a better job of identifying such problems and intervening. He says:
We’re not setting standards for men coming into our sports that we need to. If a kid is in AAU [college sports] or he’s in junior high and you see these tendencies, there needs to be programs to get them help. … If you’re abusive in relationships or you have anger issues, we need to say — and I’ve brought this up on in our meetings — before you can be on an NBA court, if you’ve had these things in your background we need to get you counseling.
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