Michael Vick knows a lot about being a villain in the NFL. Well, the New York Jets quarterback has come out and told Ray Rice what he needs to do in order to get back on the road to redemption.
Vick, a former Pro Bowler, has been fighting a constant battle to get back on the public's good side after his conviction on dog-fighting charges in 2007, and has become an animal rights advocate through the Humane Society to help. Vick mentioned that as an example of what Rice has to do to gain back the public's trust.
"You've got to continue to make amends," Vick said to NJ.com. "Once you start something, you can never go back. I feel like I've become an advocate of animal welfare, and I think I have to continue that.
"It's all about keeping kids 15 years from now from doing the same. We've saved a lot of kids, and we've saved a lot of animals. That's how I feel. Ray will make it right. He'll do everything he can to make this situation whole again."
At a news conference last month to answer questions about the two-game suspension he received from the NFL as a result of the incident, Rice expressed his intentions to become an "ambassador" against domestic violence. Vick said that the 27-year old has to follow through on that pledge.
Become an Advocate
"I think the most important thing that you can do is to try to make amends for what you've done," Vick told the website. "I think you have to show people that you're trying to help yourself and bring awareness to that situation to help others, to prevent it. You've got to become an advocate."
Vick spent 18 months in federal prison as a result of his dogfighting charges. He was reviled when he came back, and there was an outcry from animal rights groups when the Eagles signed him in August 2009. But Vick won over fans in Philadelphia and outside the city, too, with his sensational performance on the field and his service in the community. He is now with the New York Jets, signing with the team this offseason.
Striking Wife Unconscious
Rice was arrested on February 15th of this year after he struck his then-fiancée Janay Palmer, leaving her unconscious during an altercation in Atlantic City. Video surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. The couple married a couple of days after the incident.
Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.
He has been cheered back by Ravens supporters, but he will not be getting that same response from any other fans he comes across next season.