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Royce West Makes Solid Points About His Client

On Thursday afternoon, Attorney Royce West addressed the media about last weekend’s unfortunate car accident involving his client, Rashee Rice. It’s clear he’s a savvy lawyer and politician; those two usually don’t coexist in media terms. However, he said something that should ring true for all athletes who make mistakes and those that judge them.

I heard the name Royce West on Monday for the first time. I knew he was a politician and attorney who represented Dallas area athletes. He’s been a lawyer for over forty years, which is a lot of mileage in legal circles.

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He spoke to the media on Thursday, addressing the situation surrounding Rashee Rice and the accident that involved six cars on Saturday. He didn’t mince words. He admitted Rice was driving the Lamborghini and cooperating with the police. He also expressed relief that nobody was seriously injured and all involved were safe.

As he began his news conference, he made a statement involving the narrative of Rice and the unfortunate accident that rocked social media platforms over Easter Weekend. Even before the facts became public, those seeking 15 minutes of fame on social media quickly discarded Rice from the Chiefs and shunned his actions.

I’m not defending the stupidity of recreating the Indy 500 on a Texas highway with his friends; he was lucky nobody was seriously injured. Yet, he hasn’t been charged with any crime; some were ready to turn their back on Rice.

That’s not the right thing to do, and his lawyer echoed those sentiments publicly.

“Why don’t you do a story of who he is, as opposed to what occurred,” West asked the media in attendance.

“Because it seems as though what you’re saying is based on this one incident, you’re going to define him based on this incident, as opposed to his entire body of work. I would say each and every one of you, if all of us, had to be defined by one incident, that would be ridiculous, as opposed to our entire body. So, I’d that you as the media, look at his entire body of work before saying exactly who he is. That will be better.”

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He makes an excellent point, and yes, it had political and social tones to reach the public and the NFL. This young man who has never been in trouble before should not be defined by his singular action last weekend.

As you all know, I’m an old dog. I’ve been around the NFL my entire life as a fan, reporter, and journalist, and there is NOTHING I haven’t seen outside the game that would shock me. What Rice did Saturday was thin in substance, but it was still wrong at every level.

Had there been serious injuries, the narrative and story would have been vastly different. So, let’s not pretend it was worse.

Rice has never been in trouble or given a hint; he was not a outstanding young man until Saturday. We don’t know what led to the high-speed chase or the circumstances involved in the two cars racing in the first place.

To some, that might not matter, but in the politically charged environment we live in today, perhaps there is more to the story, and we should only judge Rice once those facts become public.

I’ve been 24 years old before, and the man I am today is far from the stupid kid I was in my twenties. I drove cars with my foot smashing the accelerator to the floor, pushing the limits of my car, and I had a few fender benders in my day. Some were my fault, and others were not.

I’ll even admit I raced a few times down Ward Parkway in Kansas City when I was much younger, and it was stupid. I was lucky I never had an accident. To end my Speed Racer days, I was caught racing my MR2 on that famous Kansas City Street, and I learned my lesson.

Rice has the same opportunity to learn from this singular mistake, get right with himself, make amends to all involved, and rebuild his trust within the Chiefs locker room.

Once that’s accomplished, I hope the Chiefs Kingdom can support Rice and give him the benefit of the doubt; he won’t do something like this again.

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