If you’re trying to show your players how to avoid doing the wrong things, bringing in someone who did one of the most absolutely vile and abhorrent things — and is successfully turning his life around — is probably not the worst way to go about your business.
Already this offseason, Nick Saban has brought in Mike Tyson to speak to his Alabama football team. On Thursday, Ray Rice was in Tuscaloosa as the Crimson Tide head coach’s “Title IX speaker” to touch on subjects such as domestic violence.
Then a member of the Baltimore Ravens, the former Rutgers running back was suspended by the NFL in 2014 after videos surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. Initially suspended, Rice never played another down in the NFL because of an incident Kyle Flood, then the Scarlet Knights’ head coach and now an assistant coach at Alabama, described at the time as a sad day for RU football.
Prior to Rice’s latest appearance, Saban explained his reasoning for bringing Rice in.
Well, he’s obviously going to talk about how to treat the opposite sex and having the proper respect for other people,” Saban said when asked about Rice’s appearance. “And I think that’s important to relationships. It’s important as a person to be able to do those things in a very respectful manner.
I think a lot of the players can relate to (Rice’s) circumstance,” Saban said. “And it will be interesting to hear a guy that has had issues that now has turned a corner and has really done everything he can to help other people not have the same problem that he has. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him doing that and we’re certainly glad to have him here.