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Apologies 'Not Enough'; UW's Miles, Ravens' Rice Need To 'Own' Misdeeds

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Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during a news conference May 23, 2014. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his then-fiance at a casino.

Two football players recently apologized for incidents that involved violence against women. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel wants more from both the players and the organizations that punished them for their actions.

"It was the words of the players that bothered me because they never explained why and how, and what they did," Art said. "Until they do that, you can't own it."

UW's Cyler Miles

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Credit Elaine Thompson / AP Photo
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AP Photo
Washington's Cyler Miles in action Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in an NCAA college football game against California in Seattle.

University of Washington sophomore Cyler Miles is the presumptive starting quarterback for the Huskies following the departure of senior Keith Price. Miles was involved in an incident following the Seahawks Super Bowl win on Feb. 2 that left a woman injured. He was never charged, but a former player was.

Miles is from the Denver area. He and former UW wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow donned Denver Broncos gear and engaged with Seahawks revelers in the U-District. Police say Stringfellow attacked a woman who was photographing the fight. Authorities say he was involved in another fight a short time later.

Stringfellow ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault. Miles wasn’t charged due to lack of evidence, but new head coach Chris Petersen sidelined him for the entirety of spring practice and the team's opening game at Hawaii Aug. 30.

'I Messed Up Big Time'

Speaking to the media Wednesday for the first time since the incident, Miles called his actions an “embarrassment” and his punishments “fair.”

According to Sportspress Northwest, Miles said, “I want to apologize for my behavior and my actions earlier this winter. A lot of people that represent me are affected by my actions. Obviously my family, my teammates, my university, and also the city that I live in right now, Seattle.

“It was an embarrassment to all of those people, me, my family and my last name. So for that, I truly apologize, and at the same time, I realize that I did mess up. I highly regret it and I’m very excited to get back on the team and do my best to put this past me and start working with my guys again.”

Art says Miles' apology left a lot of questions unanswered.

"When you want to own a misdeed and take full responsibility for it, you've got to explain what you did and why you did it," Art said. "We want to understand why Cyler Miles would deliberately walk into a Seahawks (Super Bowl) party with Bronco gear. He was looking for trouble. And that is not what you want for any player, much less the potential leader of the University of Washington football team."

Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice

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Credit Gail Burton / AP Photo
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AP Photo
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice answers question during a news conference after NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, July 31, 2014.

The NFL recently suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after he assaulted his then-fiancée (and now-wife) Janay at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino in February. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has come under fire from a lot of people, Art included, who believe the punishment from the league was not enough.

There is video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of a casino elevator; police say there's evidence he assaulted her inside the elevator.

Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program earlier this year to avoid aggravated assault charges. Once the program, which takes place over the course of one year, is completed, Rice will not be convicted of third-degree aggravated assault. The arrest, however, will remain on his record.

Back in May, Rice apologized for his actions. His wife also apologized for her role in the incident. Assault charges against her were dropped.

Art wants more.

"I want to hear from Ray Rice what he possibly was thinking. Not just to say, 'I'm sorry,' and, 'These actions were inexcusable.' That we know," he said. "What we don't know is what these guys (Rice and Mikes) were thinking. And that's important if they expect fans to re-embrace them and be forgiven."

Fans, PR Experts 'Enablers'

Art says a lot of fans are too quick to forgive athletes, no matter their misdeeds.

"There needs to be a statement by these guys about not striking women," Art said. "You have to explain yourself. Until that happens, it causes our society and the lawyers and the PR people, who are instructing these guys on what to say, to become enablers. It makes striking a woman or causing physical harm less consequential.

"Other athletes, other men need to see these guys suffer the consequences in front of the TV cameras if it's going to be, at all, a deterrent to future misbehavior by other guys who might contemplate raising a hand or causing a misdeed towards a woman," Art said. 

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You can find Art Thiel's work at  Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.