NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Former NFL star Ray Rice, who made headlines for a domestic violence attack, is now honored in his hometown.
On Friday, Rice and other NFL stars were inducted into New Rochelle’s Walk of Fame.
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, there was a warm reception for the controversial New Rochelle native.
“I thank you all for judging the man I’m becoming and not the football player I was,” Rice said in a speech.
Three years ago, Rice, a running back who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, had a highly publicized domestic violence incident at a casino in Atlantic City. Video surfaced showing Rice punching out his then-fiancée, who lost consciousness. Rice was suspended by the NFL and his career was cut short.
Now a plaque with his name joins other inductees at Ruby Dee Park.
A paragraph under Rice’s name addresses the domestic violence incident, saying he has since become an advocate. He calls domestic violence an epidemic and says, “I know that my situation has raised awareness.”
“My wife’s the true hero in this whole deal, and I think that the more and more you can talk about it is the more the issue can get talked about,” Rice told CBS2.
With his wife in the crowd, the 30-year-old father of two says he’s a changed man. But the decision to induct him was not popular with some.
New Rochelle’s mayor hinted at that.
“We are reminded that the past is not something that we simply celebrate, although that is, of course, enormously important,” Mayor Noam Bramson said. “It’s also something that we learn from. It’s something that we debate.”
Still, no protestors showed up at the ceremony. Only supporters were there, including his elementary school teacher and others he grew up with.
“I’m here to honor a former student that deserves to be honored,” said Harriet Kramer, Rice’s former teacher.
Rice said he’s looking forward to showing the plaque to his kids — and will explain the notorious incident when they’re older.