The morality of the NFL has always been a murky area to wade through. You can only go so far into repeated player safety and personal conduct issues before the rip tide pulls you under. High profile stars can be marred in domestic violence incidents yet still bank on being signed in the offseason.
Many thought former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice would never step foot onto a professional football field again after shocking video of him striking his then-fiancé surfaced. It's not that Rice is an over-the-hill veteran who made a horrible and very public mistake and isn't worth the headache at this point. He is just 28 years old and only a few years removed from a 1,000 yard rushing season. But the sharp and unprovoked violence of his assault, the brutality of it, led many to believe that Rice was done in the NFL.
However, that may not be the case any longer.
"I still don't believe Rice will play in the NFL again, but I used to be 100 percent sure," Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report wrote. "Now, based on conversations with numerous team executives over the past few weeks, it's more like 50 percent. At best. One general manager told me point blank, 'He will 100 percent be on a team next season.' Word is, teams thinking hard about Rice are in the NFC."
Second-chances and shots at redemption are ingrained into American society, largely for the greater good. But is it right for Rice to be have another crack at the privileged lifestyle of an NFL player?
The NFL is a revenue generating behemoth and the string of highly public domestic violence issues involving star players this season did nothing to slow that down. Franchises know that regardless of fan backlash and protests, NFL supporters will still buy tickets. They'll still tune in every Sunday. They'll still be fans.
How can we change an organizational culture when the bottom line remains constant?
The NFL likes to pretend that it's a role model; that the league is forever perched upon a high horse. But if Rice suits up for a team next season, it will be a clear indication that it's just business as usual for the NFL.