Young athletes are always looking up to the pros for inspiration as they too dream of making it big someday. But what if some of those pros don't set the best examples?
Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice has been in the spotlight after an alleged altercation with his now–wife.
We spoke to the head football coach from Pleasant Valley High School who says events like this are opportunities to send a clear message to young players.
“What kind of man does that to a woman, his wife, girlfriend?” says head coach Rusty VanWetzinga.
Through the alleged actions of a pro, Rusty VanWetzinga can make his point loud and clear to athletes at the beginning of their careers.
“That type of behavior is not acceptable,” says VanWetzinga. “I think if you deliver that message in that circumstance, I think that could carry some weight.”
After security video allegedly showed the Ravens star dragging his unconscious wife, at that time his fiancé, out of an elevator, Rice plead not guilty to a third degree charge of aggravated assault.
He's currently participating in a pretrial intervention program that, if completed, would lead to the charge being dropped. The worldwide attention the story has gathered is just an example that one wrong decision could change your life.
“We always say hey there's a lot of eyes on you,” says VanWetzinga.
Making matters more difficult, many students with dreams of stardom look up pros like Ray Rice that have made it big.
“A lot of them imitate them and see that and see their actions positively and negatively,” says VanWetzinga.
And that's why coaches at even the most local of levels make themselves clear, there is zero tolerance.
“You address those issues immediately when something like that is said, whatever it is, whether it's about the opposite sex, [or] the same sex,” says VanWetzinga.
While all the details are not yet known about ray rice and what exactly happened in that elevator, coaches believe it can still be a lesson on how to carry yourself both on the field and in your community