So much can happen in six months. I have always had this philosophy. Six months from now, your life can be completely different – totally unknown – and quite unexpected. It may be good or bad, let’s say life is purposeful.
Just ask Ray and Janay Rice. It wasn’t long ago Janay was getting married to an up-and-coming NFL star. Ray had a nice $4 million salary, a promising football career, along with a Nike contract to boot. Life was on the fast track to success and happiness.
Fast forward to media showing the world what their life was like behind closed doors. All the money and prestige in the world could not make-up for what was going to happen next. A You Tube episode went viral showing a night gone wrong after a drunken evening at a casino. When the elevator doors opened, it appeared Janay was passed out and being PUSHED out by Ray. What exactly happened in the elevator was not made public, leaving a lot to the imagination. We did not know. A few months later additional footage of the episode was made available, making it clear what happened, no longer leaving anything to our imagination. Janay is knocked out by her husband’s left hook.
We saw firsthand what domestic abuse looks like.
The saddest thing to me: Janay defending her husband, apologizing for her role and saying it is none of our business. It made me sad. We made it our business because we care not because we were interested in ruining a life. We wonder how a smart, educated, beautiful woman could be treated by a man in the most disrespectful way. So much to offer yet so shelled up in a place that was, well like the elevator: Just you and me and our ups and downs.
The problem is not just about “you and me,” this affects everyone around the abuse. The daughter who will witness the disrespect and believe that is how she should be treated. The fans that idolize Ray Rice and believe it must be ok to disrespect women and women who stay in a victim role believing that it somehow is their fault.
Ray and Janay may not realize this now, but the elevator probably saved them.
They believed that these 30 seconds of bad decision making created a nightmare that changed their lives. The odds are there would have been more to come, maybe not tomorrow, just another time when things just get out of hand. So, maybe the elevator saved them.
We never know why things are put in our path. One thing for sure, Ray and Janay have helped build awareness about domestic abuse. The dialog in locker rooms, schools, and in families is now open for discussion to talk about what abuse looks like, that it is not OK and that there is help available.
We hope that Ray and Janay can reinvent themselves as a crusader for a good cause. We hope they help us champion love and peace and respect. You were out on this stage for a reason. Maybe it was about saving your life. Janay said she wants to show us what real love is, we hope you do.
What is your life going to look like in 6 months? What can you do (or stop doing) today to put you on the path to joy and fulfillment.