A number of Baltimore Ravens fans appeared at Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers wearing Ray Rice jerseys. They wore the bright purple attire, emblazoned with Rice's name and the number 27, despite the fact -- or, perhaps, because of the fact -- that the player was released from his contract with the team and suspended indefinitely from the NFL earlier in the week, after footage of him knocking his partner unconscious in an elevator was released by TMZ.
Each fan had their reasons for wearing the jersey. Fox Sports 1's Mike Garofolo set out to determine some. Here are a few selected responses:
"I'm making a statement. I don't believe in domestic violence. But I will say: Any woman who can hit a man, a man shouldn't have to sit there and take the abuse."
"I'm not supporting what he did. There's players who did worse than he did, and they're still playing. I feel like what he got kicked out for wasn't right."
"The reality is: He made a mistake. He admitted it. He owned up to it -- both him and his wife -- and they were punished for it. He's done everything they've asked him to do."
The Associated Press also spoke with some Rice supporters. Here's what one had to say:
"There's two sides to every story," said [Ravens fan Racquel Bailey, a] 23-year-old waitress from Baltimore. "I saw the video. That's their personal business, and it shouldn't have affected his career. I don't agree with domestic violence, but she's still with him, so obviously it wasn't that big of a deal. Everyone should just drop it."
The NFL's problem with domestic violence extends beyond the players who commit it and the executives who condone it.