Ravens running back Ray Rice may be loathed in most of America after an offseason that saw him face an assault charge for hitting his wife. But Rice is still beloved in Baltimore.
The Ravens had an open practice at their home stadium on Monday night, and Rice heard loud cheers from the fans in attendance. Rice was twice shown on the big screen, and both times he got enthusiastic ovations, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Rice tapped his chest to show his appreciation as he soaked in the applause.
Many fans wore Rice jerseys, and several Rice jerseys were spotted on women and children.
Rice’s actions this offseason have not been worthy of people cheering him, and when the NFL let Rice off with only a two-game suspension, it provoked nationwide outrage. That doesn’t seem to matter to the adoring public in Baltimore, however. What matters there is that Rice remains an important part of the Ravens’ offense.
It happens often, in every sport and every city. No matter how heinous an athlete’s actions, if he can help the home team win, he’s going to hear the cheers.