In an attempt to distance itself from disgraced NFL star Ray Rice, Rutgers has decided to pretend he never existed.
Prior to its Big Ten debut Saturday, the university removed from its stadium and campus all traces of Rice, who led the Scarlet Knights to an 11-2 record in 2006 and rushed for 4,926 yards in three seasons.
Just like that.
“It’s tough,” former Rice teammate and current Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I mean, we came (to Rutgers) together. We were freshmen the same year, so a lot of things that we did for the school, we did together. You also understand the school has a certain responsibility to the athletes that are there now – to alumni, to sponsors and everything. I think they’re probably doing what they have to do for the school. I don’t have any control over that, but it’s just tough to watch. He was part of a lot of things that happened at the school. He did great things for the university. I think they’re doing what they have to do, but it won’t take away some of the great things he’s done for the university and the community.”
Rice’s high school alma mater, New Rochelle, did just as Rutgers did last week, removing all evidence that Rice ever existed.
For Doug Gottlieb, it’s simply too much. While Gottlieb in no way condones what Rice did, it’s not as though he pulled an Aaron Hernandez. He did not kill anyone. He did something wrong – something horrible – and he is suffering the consequences. But erasing him from the stadium and record books seems like a bit much.
Is Gottlieb wrong for thinking this?
“No, I think you can have your own opinion about it,” McCourty said. “I think it’s a tough situation, but in today’s society when the public is really going against someone, I think people of power and different positions feel like they have to do something about it. I think that’s what you see with records at New Rochelle. Whether (that decision is) right or wrong, I don’t know how much that matters. I think they feel like they’re doing what they have to do in the best interest of the school.
“I’ve spoken to him,” McCourty said of Rice, “and I think he’s doing good. I think he’s doing what he needs to do for himself, and I think that’s what’s important. I just want to support him and his family right now and can’t wait to see him back on the right path.”
Gottlieb asked McCourty when his conversation with Rice occurred.
“Pretty recent,” McCourty said. “Not to get into many details, but he’s doing all right.”
McCourty added that many people – fans – view the NFL, through no fault of their own, through a narrow prism. They know all about the wrongdoings of a few players, but they aren’t aware of the great deeds done by so many others.
McCourty and his twin, Jason, for example, are spokesmen for sickle cell anemia and are heavily involved in the Embrace Kids Foundation.
“I think I’ve gotten pretty positive feedback in general just from the things that I’ve done in the community,” McCourty said. “But I think the overall view with the NFL, a lot of times, is determined by what people see. Mostly, I think people see the negative things that have happened. Whether it be the recent things that have happened or other things in the NFL, I think the negative stuff is more on TV, more in the media outlets. So that’s what people tend to think.
“But there’s some people doing great things in the NFL. It’s just not talked about as much.”