September 10th, 2014
11:53 AM ET

Wife of Former NFL Player Says Ray Rice Shouldn't be Banned From the League

When the elevator footage of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was released this week, where Rice is seen striking his then-fiancee, public reaction was clear and consistent.

A torrent of criticism, shock and sheer fury was unleashed upon Rice, the Ravens and the NFL, which resulted in the quick termination of Rice's contract and a finger-pointing game of "who knew what when."

What few could understand, however, was the mindset of Janay Rice, Ray Rice's now-wife and victim in the video.

Why did she stay? What are the choices one faces in abusive relationships - with added public scrutiny?

Dewan Williams, wife of former NFL player Wally Williams, had a frank and challenging conversation with Michaela Pereira on "New Day" Wednesday about the Rice fallout, and the sometimes subjugated roles of NFL wives.

Williams also detailed her own experience with domestic abuse.

"When you reach out, you're left on an island by yourself," she said. "I was told by coaches, in our particular situation, I was told not to talk to the media. Not to talk to anyone, not to get an attorney."

Williams believes aspects of football culture could potentially foster abusive home lives.

"You have these men that are playing a very violent sport, and it's okay to use aggression and to enforce their will on someone else in the football field," she said.

Yet despite Rice's admitted guilt, and the incriminating nature of the footage, Williams maintained that Rice is merely being used as an example in the wake of a public backlash.

She said she doesn't think Rice should be banned from the league and hopes that he can one day return to the NFL.

"I feel that he's being punished because the lights have been turned on," she said.

"He’s being made to pay for things that have been ongoing."


RELATED: NFL commissioner doesn't rule out a return for Rice

RELATED: Ray Rice terminated by team, suspended by NFL after new violent video

RELATED: Ray Rice's wife slams his punishment for violence against her


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soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Storm

    Although I don't agree with banning him for life, and I don't condone hitting another person, regardless of sex, age, skin color or any other attribute, I DO believe that he should get the 2 game pinishment. I will ALSO say that from the video I saw(and I feel like I must be the only one who saw this) she hit him, spit on him at least once, and AGRESSIVELY had her hands in his face. She seemd to be comfortable with doing it too, so I have to conclude that it was a routine occurrence. I feel that you're going to get an agressive physical response from any human, regardless of their ideals or thoughts on violence if you're repeatedly show them violence. Give him the punishment you gave him, and be less 'knee-jerk' next time.

    September 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Sheila

      Ravens fan, are you?
      He punched his wife in the face for God sake.

      December 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  2. pachy

    I think that all professional sports should mandate that there are two (2) rules that you have to abide by before you are eligible to play – I do not care how old you are, what your skin color is, where you got your "education" or who you sleep with, but you should have to know:

    1. who your father is
    2, who your children are

    September 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • cole

      Well that would mean all the people that don't know their fathers can't play in your league then they would start a new league where all those can play and that league would be better than the people who know who their fathers are hows that. How many kids you have? how about these are men making millions and can take care of as many kids as they like even the ones out of wedlock

      September 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • jg

      make no sense.

      November 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • william

      I believe that every athlete that plays a agressive sport should routinely see a behavior specialist to keep them in them
      balanced for the times on an off the field .it can be hard to shut off aggression if that is what you do for a living.for
      example our soldiers who come back from combat an our police officers who patrol very hostle enviroments,it is normal for them to be aggressive because of the nature of there jobs,,aggressive therapy help grounds an balance these people . this should be mandatory.
      them able to function in a normal manner when they go home from there jobs

      December 20, 2014 at 1:18 am | Reply
  3. pachy

    There are several universities that have very memorable slogans in their locker rooms or on the tunnels leading to their stadiums. Most notably, "God, Country, Notre Dame"and "Play Like a Champion Today"

    I would suggest that the NFL place the following sign in every team's locker room:

    "Pick on Someone Your Own Size"

    September 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  4. Roger

    It's unfortunate that Ray Rice and the recent incidents involving other individuals have been made the example for this very ugly and devastating part of a culture – domestic abuse in the forms of spousal and child beatings. However, the NFL or any other business entity that is supported, funded by the public and endorsed by many conglomerates must take a stand and preserve the integrity and ethical culture that they profess to believe and abide. Just because it’s been happening in the past does not make it right. Just because the light has not been shone prior to Ray Rice’s violent behavior does not exonerate him from his action. Just because the NFL did not strongly and strictly enforce such behavior prior to Ray Rice’s incident does not mean the NFL should continue to put on the blinders and hope that the public outcries would just go away.

    I am glad that the NFL and the respective teams have finally realized that something has to be done. It should not matter who the culprit is (his status in the team). If he is found guilty, then he should pay the price, whatever the law dictates. This does not only preserve the integrity of the sports but to hopefully mitigate future incidents. This is also a wake-up call to others and hopefully deters other players from acting on their impulses. Just because football is a violent sport within the confinement of the 100-yard rectangular field, it does not mean it has to permeate other part of our society. Domestic violence is WRONG, and we all must take a stand to combat this horror!

    September 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • cole

      Why only the NFL, how about GM or AT-T or Walmart how come their is no up roar when one of their employee's hits a wife of kid, does congress get involve or you for that matter, the last time I look the NFL was a company not a elected congress that when we see them doing something wrong we want congress involve all the time, is it the money the atheletes are receiving well how about the CEO of Koch industry's or Halliburtion they at least take government subsidy's we don't tell congress to go and babysit them why all of a sudden the NFL or MLB need to have congress tell them how to run their business, if Ray Rich broke the law we have courts for that, if the Ravens suspend him two games and you don't like it don't go to the games no more but all this making a company fire someone for something that goes on everyday in America, why right know a women is being hit in the face right this minute.

      September 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Reply
      • Laura

        Because the NFL League Office is tax exempt, that's why. If they want govt to stay out of their business, they can change their status and pay taxes like those other companies.
        And most companies have conduct contracts just like the NFL. If I break the law I could be fired as well because I signed that contract. If he doesn't like the rules, he is free to get a job somewhere else that employs women beaters.

        September 30, 2014 at 4:51 am |
  5. Sebastian Kent

    If women don't want to be subject to being hit; don't hit a man. Don't get in his face, don't sell him wolf tickets. Act like a mature, emotionally stable, collected woman and expect him to treat you as same. If he doesn't, leave him immediately and many men will rush to defend you if he gets or threatens to get out of line to truly ABUSE you.

    Men, if a woman can't control her emotions, LEAVE her. She will cause you problems and trouble that isn't worth it. Only when these types of women realize there is a downside risk to their acting out behavior, that it won't be excused, will they change

    September 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • absh

      It's only. Black playes

      September 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • jg

      right on

      November 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  6. Kellie

    I agree with Russell regarding men should never hit women or children. For those of you who believe if a woman gets in a man's face she should be hit then you're saying that the average woman and have a fair physical fight with the average man yet if that's true why want NFL, NBA and other sports allow women to play??? Please name me a woman who plays on an NFL team? or a woman who plays in the NBA and I don't mean the WNBA....

    September 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  7. kathy

    Domestic violence laws are in place and should be strictly enforced for any type of assault, period. Putting pressure on the offender's employer to step down from their position makes no sense at all. Many women's groups are calling for Goddell to resign but I have not heard that they are also putting pressure on any Fortune 500 CEO's to resign because their employees have been accused of domestic violence. Why is the NFL singled out? Because of the publicity and political stage? OK fine -use it to help bring awareness but you push it too far when you blame the commissioner.
    I do not condone violence of any type and I was in a violent relationship for much longer than I should have been so I understand the complicated reasons for putting up with the destructive behavior but in the end Janay has to stand up and take the only action that makes sense and give her a life where she and her daughter can sleep safely at night.
    Enough already.

    September 18, 2014 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • Jackie

      Fortune 500 Companies are privately owned and are entirely different entities. Taxpayers fund the NFL stadiums, antitrust law doesn't apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. If the public feels that the NFL policy should change then the league should respond. Great article by the Atlantic:

      September 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • Rose Garcia

      I agree with you Kathy. The NFL needs a policy, and to dismiss a player indefinitely is ridiculous. People can be rehabilitated against violence. Also, the archaic notion that a man shouldn't hit a woman is based on a woman's frailty. Women should also know they shouldn't hit a man know that a man has a right to protect himself just as she does. Self defense is for everyone in all incidents, man vs. man, woman vs. woman, man vs. woman and woman vs. man. If a woman holds onto that posture that a man can't hit me simply because I am a woman, then women should not be allowed to become soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, armed FBI agents, armed CIA agents and the like. Also, if a man can't hit a woman because she is frail, and she is a police officer, soldier, fire fighter, armed FBI agent or armed CIA agent then she should be paid less, because she can't perform the duties as a man due to her frailty.

      September 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  8. Jon

    well that was a terrible interview. more excuses for violent criminals. all i got out of this interview is that it's ok to smack around your wife because you play in the nfl and make money. you can do almost anything and keep your career. seems like these women will put their morals and lives on the line for money and fame. all of this is abnormal behavior and ignorance.

    September 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  9. Kinogo

    I would never hit a woman unless she posed an immediate threat to my wife or my children. However, I would NEVER hit someone or spit on them unless I expected and was ready to get hit back. I feel like there is a bit of a double standard in this regard. Society can't say that a man should never hit a woman but then condone the woman hitting the man because his retaliatory punch did more damage than her initial assault. No one should hit anyone, regardless of sex, race, whatever. It's beyond me what Ray Rice was thinking when he unloaded on his then fiance like that. I'm sorry she had to take a punch like that but we as a society need to move past this idea that its okay for a woman to assault a man just because she supposedly can't hurt him. Bottom line, don't hit someone if you don't want to get hit back. I know there are many women out there that have received much worse and that have never hit their partner. Those women (and the men that abuse them) are more deserving of our sympathy and disdain (for the men).

    September 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  10. Patrice Strong

    Should we go bak and ban all of the other players convicted of domestic abuse as well....just asking.

    September 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • Russell Stubbs

      Yes, for all the reasons I've stated. This is a serious crime. Some abused women end up dead or seriously injured. They at least suffer mental and physical scares for life, so absolutely yes. These men are already rich so it's not like it's going to kill them.

      September 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Reply
      • Rose Garcia

        What does money have to do with anything? Most women who are involved in domestic disputes and violence are women in poverty, a low economic class and the lower end of the middle class and I don't hear a great deal of uproar about their abuse in the media or by many women groups. May be each state should require men and women to go through self control classes prior to owning a gun and every 5 years and as a condition for the re-issuance of a driver's license or obtaining and possessing medical insurance. Hopefully those conditions will cover everyone in every economic status.

        September 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
  11. Russell Stubbs

    Abusers rarely ever change. They are mostly narcissistic personalities and narcissists think very deeply every thing they do is the right way. So they don't listen to therapists, even if they are forced to go. Ray Rice is a rich, privileged, coddled football player, he will never change.

    September 17, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
  12. Russell Stubbs

    I once beat a man very badly for hitting my girlfriend. Does that make me as bad as him? NO! Because he was not a small women and he never really got in trouble for it.

    September 17, 2014 at 10:31 am | Reply
  13. Russell Stubbs


    September 17, 2014 at 10:27 am | Reply
  14. Ellsworth Barnes

    Iin 1988 Wille Horton became the face of violent crime. In the 1990's O.J. Simpson became the poster child for domestic violence. Later after Michael Jackson was charged with child abuse he became the poster child for that crime. Later Tiger Woods became the poster child for adultery. Chris Brown in 2009 became the new poster child for domestic violence . Now it is Ray Rice whose name is synonymous with that crime. The pattern i am seeing is that black men have become the face of crimes we happen to be most afraid of. This scapegoating flows from a stereotype- in American culture race and crime are linked. By demonizing black men in this way they become prey for targeted violence. This has much todo with why Michael Brown was shot.

    September 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      Preach reverend Sharpton. Are you serious? Michael Jackson hasn't been black since the 80's. How are you going to make this about race? It is people like you who are the real racists. Let me guess. The more than twice as many black people in prison in this country were setup too right?

      September 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
      • Deborah OutFox

        Brian, you have no clue. Take a social science class or some related subject, as you are out of your league on this subject.

        September 19, 2014 at 8:49 am |
  15. jlmfeb1976

    Sorry that this lady had to go through domestic violence as well, and sorry to say that she is right that Ray isn't the only one who has done this, but just because he his actions have been unveiled, and that the light is shining on him now doesn't mean he shouldn't be held accountable. She said he shouldn't be suspended further and shouldn't be made an example of, but I disagree. He should be made an example of, and so should every other person who is found guilty of such a crime. Just because Janay is still alive and is willing to stay with a man making millions (who can allow her to live a lavish lifestyle) doesn't mean he should be left off the hook for such a violent crime. If he gets a soft slap on the wrist and is allowed to continue playing in the NFL, what happens the next time he loses his temper? Will she (or the next victim) safely walk away from it? Ray needs help. And so does Janay. I don't know if he should be allowed to play the game again. He should probably be behind bars (and should also be getting some mental help). At a bare minimum he shouldn't be allowed to play again this year, and he should be getting some serious psychiatric help. Janay looks like a big lady with a pretty sturdy jaw, but he still could've broke her neck or caused some serious brain damage. Well, maybe he already did; she subsequently married him....

    September 14, 2014 at 2:50 am | Reply
    • Brian

      Janay is laughing all the way to the bank. She got him walking down the isle out of this and most likely free of a prenup. Funny how they rushed the wedding so she couldn't testify against him. I'll take a haymaker to the chin for half of that guys loot.

      September 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Deborah OutFox

      @JimFeb 1976, You make a lot of assumptions here. If you read your own writing, I am sure you will agree that most of the things you say pertaining to mental illness, jaw strength, the judicial system and money motivations are circumstances you you couldn't possibly know anything about. Two intoxicated people have an altercation and the man hit the woman in retaliation. She falls and hits her head on the railing and is knocked unconscious. It's not a pretty picture, but we are hardly fit to determine whether the man is mentally unstable. Furthermore, you act as though he has not been punished. He has, both judicially and through the NFL. His fight now is because of the standard of double-jeopardy, which bars against penalizing someone twice for the same violation. Also, please do not further victimize Janey Rice by insisting that she is driven by financial greed, and that is the only reason she married her high school sweetheart. She is a competent and confident woman who does not have to justify her love to you or anyone else.

      September 19, 2014 at 9:02 am | Reply
  16. Chris

    It's sad when men don't get it... it's heartbreaking when women don't.

    September 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  17. Trisann

    I agree with Dewan. The NFL should have suspended him for the season and made sure he enrolled in an anger management class. But the one thing that concerns me is that nothing is ever said about women's behavior. Women are not always innocent in these situations. Domestic violence is viewed from a one-sided perspective. Men's hands are tied while women a given a free pass to do as they please. Some of these same women who are criticizing Mr. Rice are victims of domestic violence. They encourage other women to leave a relationship while they remain in their own. The NFL does not need any women in Congress or anyplace else to enter into this event. They can develop their own policies in a thoughtful manner. This is not the first and will not be the last domestic violence incident because women will use any policy put in place to their advantage.

    September 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • Russell Stubbs

      You are part of the problem. A man should NEVER hit a woman or a child. I was married for 15 years, My wife cheated on me then left me. We had many arguments. I NEVER HIT HER! I also never hit my children and they are both perfect honor students and very good people. I weight over 200 pounds am a black belt in Isshinru karate and studied Jujitsu. I could really hurt somebody if I wanted to. That aside, most men could easily hurt most women, the fact is we are bigger and stronger and it is COWARDLY to do such a thing even if they hit you first. I've had girl friends hit me and I never hit them back. Ray Rice is a very big strong man and could easily cause serious damage to a woman or child. That is why men should not hit women. His wife could never do serious harm to him. Whenever a women hit me sometimes I laughed it off. It barely even hurt. I do agree that black men seem to getting targeted here and that's wrong.but he should still be banned from the NFL forever along with any white players who hit women. What he did was a hyenas act and could have caused serious damage.

      September 17, 2014 at 10:11 am | Reply
      • Russell Stubbs

        Sorry it's Heynis not hayenas.

        September 17, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • Cynthia


        September 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • Brian

      Have you ever been punched in the face by a woman? I am guessing no. I would say it is the equivalent of getting punched by a child. (No offense ladies). Men are bigger and stronger. That is fact. Like it or not. You do not put your hands on a woman. Ever. Even if she deserves it. And many many do (just kidding girls). But seriously. If you can't brush off a punch from a woman and walk the other way you are no kind of man.

      September 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
      • Deborah OutFox

        @Brian. I watched a crime story in which a man hired a hit-man to kill his wife. It was caught on film. The woman was about 75 years old and she beat up the hit-man and choked him to death. Not all women are as weak as you think. By the way, have you ever seen Lela Ali fight? Just saying...

        September 19, 2014 at 9:09 am |
  18. jeff

    There were other better reactions that Mr. Rice could have done, but his wife, based on other videos i saw, had repeatedly hit him in the hallway (I think) and then was coming at him again when he hit her.

    Physical assault is wrong no matter which way it goes.

    September 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  19. Jjan

    He should be banned. I disagree. It just shows that this lady and lot of society does not believe in integrity anymore. If you get a high paying job like that. Get you damn act together and get counseling and realize you cant knock out a person or fiancé and get away with it. this lady is stupid and so is her spouse. You want to do crimes and not pay anytime. God is not even like that. You are forgiven but consequences remain. Just like with David who killed Bathsheba husband. Word. Go back to traditional values and stop suggesting people who do crimes get away with not a major consequence. I don't wont you working with females and domestic violence for defending a criminal who knocked out his girl and saying he should go play this lucrative sport football although he did wrong. Who cares he is made an example. We needed an example long ago. Imagine how many got away with murder so to speak.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Reply
    • Deborah OutFox

      @Jjan, You seem awfully upset about Ray Rice's salary.

      September 19, 2014 at 9:12 am | Reply
  20. x1134x

    Jane, she's not entitled to ANY of the money he earned prior to his marriage in divorce, only his earnings going forward which just disappeared. She was planning on gold-digging and leaving, not digging in and forging a life. I know that's just my opinion, but that is what it is.

    September 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Russell Stubbs

      I agree, she probably is a gold digger that's why she's not leaving him. Listen to what this woman says, the fist thing is he's a "good provider".

      September 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  21. Jane

    What did you marry for his money and 25 million isnt enough???

    September 11, 2014 at 10:57 am | Reply

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