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Ray Rice Defends His Taking of a Terrible Towel

Ray Rice says that he didn't do it to be disrespectful. Said he's merely honoring the rivalry

Blasphemy, or respect?
Blasphemy, or respect?
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

According to this article, Ray Rice might have incurred the wrath of the late, great Myron Cope.

Immediately following the game at Heinz Field, where the Ravens defeated the Steelers 13-10, Ray Rice traded the gloves he wore during the game to a fan for their Terrible Towel. He then draped said Towel over his head on his way down the tunnel.

This act drew the attention of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who tweeted in response

Bad idea ray just ask lendale white and tj whosyourmama

In case you don't recall, LenDale White and Keith Bulluck both stomped on the Terrible Towel after the Tennessee Titans defeated the Steelers in 2008. Initially, the Titans head coach at the time, Jeff Fisher, completely dismissed the action.

I mean, I know we weren't happy to have 10,000 people in our stadium waving those yellow towels. It's a tremendous commentary on the great fan base the Steelers have, but I'm sure our guys didn't like it. They're a good football team. They have our respect, and I'm sure we have their respect. But this isn't a big deal to me.

Well, it ended up being a pretty big deal. The Titans have not been back to the post season since that year, and have been pretty much terrible in the win/loss column. The Titans have since tried to make up for their egregious disrespect by donating money to the Allegheny School, but it doesn't seem to have worked.

Before that, T.J. Houshmandzadeh mimed polishing his cleats with a Terrible Towel after defeating the Steelers 38-31 at Heinz Field in 2005. After that, the Steelers went on a roll, defeating the Bengals soundly in the playoffs, and went on to win their fifth Super Bowl. Since then, TJ has bounced around the league, and had been a shadow of his 2005 form, and is now unemployed by an NFL team.

Rice had this to say about it:

I actually asked a fan to trade like I've been trading jerseys with guys at the end of the game," Rice said, via The Baltimore Sun. "So, I didn't stomp it or do anything wrong. I actually walked out with it, and I think I'm going to save it and put it in my basement to cherish the rivalry. It's not like you get out there and do derogatory stuff and spit, no none of that stuff. If you think about it, where I'm at in my career, you cherish these rivalries, cherish the moments.

So, it seems like he wasn't being intentionally disrespectful, and was just looking to collect a souvenir of the game.

The Steelers play the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 13.

As a side note, that may only be entertaining to me, the writer of the article referenced the great Jim Croce song "You don't mess around with Jim" at the beginning of his piece.