Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice has been somewhat of a bully on the football field, running over opponents at every chance. But he has a problem with bullying among kids at school, and wants to stem this growing trend.
The 26-year-old Rice has spoken at several local Maryland schools about bullying, having been touched by the death of 12-year-old Bailey O’ Neill.
O’ Neill, who was a student at Darby Township in Pennsylvania, was taken off life support Sunday after being placed in a medically induced coma. He was beaten up by fellow classmates on January 10, causing seizures. Doctors placed O’Neill in the medically induced coma to stop the seizures.
Rice took to his Facebook page Sunday.
“I reached out to the family and was able to spend about 45 minutes on the phone with them,” Rice wrote. “I could hear their sadness, worry, frustration and grief. They would be faced with removing their son, cousin, nephew, and best friend from life support.”
The Super Bowl champion expressed confusion in trying to understand why bullying has been so prevalent.
“I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than “kids being kids” or a “playground incident,” Rice wrote.
Rice told between thousands at an anti-bullying rally in Baltimore last July that his sister was the victim of bullying.
“Going into the eighth grade, a girl kept on picking [my sister],” Rice said via The Postgame. “The girl threw a rock, hit my sister in the eye, and my mother’s first reaction was to tell her to retaliate. That wasn’t the right answer.”
Rice said after getting the police and the principal involved, that his sister has not had any more problems from the girl. Unfortunately, the outcome for Bailey was not the same.
“But, I DO KNOW THIS: I will NOT give up my fight. Every day I will continue to fight AGAINST bullying and fight FOR Kindness,” Rice wrote.
He added: “Bailey – my little buddy, I will not let you become just another bully statistic…you are my inspiration and one more angel that will help me continue the fight for kids everywhere. You are going to help me save lives. RIP my little friend.”
The investigation into O’Neill’s death is ongoing.