But he took time for something more important Friday night, speaking from personal experience about the consequences of bullying.
Rice told the crowd at the “A Ray of Hope” event that his younger sister was bullied at school, and struck in the eye with a rock.
“My mom was telling me she wanted to let my sister go take care of business, you know, you take care of it one time and maybe she won’t bother you no more,” Rice said, via Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. “I told my mom it’s not the right thing to do. The school will take care of it. We got the principal involved, we got the police involved. I think we got it under control.
“I want to get the message out that some people are not alone. If you feel like you’re in that dark cloud, you got to speak up because the only help to recovery is admitting that something is wrong.”
Speaking to a group of teens and parents, Rice recalled the suicide of an area girl which was tied to bullying she was on the receiving end.
“Well you know after I heard about the story about the little girl losing her life over somebody’s words, you can’t imagine somebody’s life being taken over words,” Rice said. “I live by the creed that sticks and stones they break your bones, but words can never hurt you. In this case, words killed somebody. When you think about it, we all put ourselves in somebody’s shoes, a different family’s shoes.
“Whether we have kids or not, we can feel that family’s pain. I felt that pain and I felt like it’s time for me to be a voice out there. In another situation, you’re talking about retaliation. That’s not the kind of retaliation that you need in this kind of situation. It’s getting your voice out there to help any other situation.”
Good for Rice for being willing to take up the cause, and spending his time before his season starts trying to make a difference.