Ray Rice is a cautionary tale- as he stands as one of the early examples of cancel culture.
Ray Rice was an ascending star in college football for the Scarlet Knights from 2005-2007. Over his time playing for Rutgers, Ray proved he could handle the workload, rushing 910 times, for 4926 yards and 49 TDs. Ray also caught 37 passes for 334 yards and a TD. He was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
After a respectable rookie season, in which he rushed for 454 yards, Ray took over the starting job at RB full-time for the Ravens. Over the next 4 seasons he’d rush for over 5,000 yards, while totaling nearly 2,500 yards receiving. Ray led the NFL in rushing TDs in 2011 with 12, and earned Pro Bowls nods for his efforts in 2009, 2011, and 2012, and well as second team All-Pro honors in 2009 and 2011.
Ray’s 2011 season culminated in 2,068 yards from scrimmage (1,364 yards rushing and 804 yards receving) to lead the NFL. After rushing for another 1,000+ yard season in 2012, Ray was oft-injured in 2013, causing him to miss the 1000 yard plateau for the second time in his career. Shortly thereafter the wheels would fall off his career.
Celebrity news gossip spread about a video of Ray assaulting his then fiancée in Atlantic City. It spread to social media, and it was not a good look for Rice, the NFL or the Ravens. Forget that Ray was extremely giving over his career and that he was voted Baltimore’s Most Charitable Person of 2012, or that he’d been extremely active in homeless assistance, Make-A-Wish foundation, and cyberbullying prevention- he was in the crosshairs of social media justice, and he’d be judged only by what happened.
Sure, it was a bad video. There’s just no excuse for beating a woman. And the price was making a very popular player in Ray Rice- a virtual pariah. The backlash was severe. He’d be suspended by the NFL, and eventually cut by the Ravens. Because of what happened, to Rice’s then fiancée, the silver lining is the NFL has become more attuned to domestic violence issues, and more consistent in their investigation and punishment that they dole out.
Rice for his part continued training- hoping for another shot, but it never came. Instead, much to his credit, Rice spends much of his time speaking to athletes about domestic violence. He also remains quite active in charitable giving, but eschews the limelight, wanting to be judged by his deeds, not by his airtime.
Even today, Ray’s name is associated negatively with domestic violence. When I decided to get his autograph, many of my friends asked why. – And to that I think it’s important to understand the context, and fabric of football, good and bad that our players embody. I hope eventually people will forgive and forget Ray Rice, because everybody deserves a second chance.
Sorry this post is going to be different. It’s going off the rails a bit from the usual player biography.
Today we’re going to talk about when paid signings go bad, because I was the recipient of one. I had been after Jermaine Lewis for years, but being a terrible TTM signer, I decided to wait since I wanted him on a sorta rare Texans Inaugural Set card.
After missing out on a signing on a budget for Lewis earlier this year, I was super happy to find an affordable one going on in early November through IPO Sports Marketing. I put my card in the mail and patiently waited. The trade was accepted on October 31st. The event was scheduled for 11/14, but later on I discovered that he hadn’t updated his SCN offer to match his flyer, which said November 21st!) On December 1st I emailed the guy and asked him about the event. He did not respond. The next day I received my card back, with this additional random Topps card signed, and a note stating, “No Texans cards. Sorry.” -That’s it.
I emailed IPO Sports Marketing that day on December 2nd telling him that what I received was unacceptable and that I would like a full refund. I got no response.
I checked my SCN outbox on December 4th and noted that he had not opened any of my emails, so I decided to escalate the situation through Paypal and leave negative feedback through SCN where the trade was facilitated. -I had been more than patient with IPO Sports Marketing, and now it was taking too much of my time.
An hour or two later, I got an email from Paypal indicating my refund. Then shortly afterwards IPO Sports Marketing put my SCN email on blitz. He responded first to my email on 12/1 about where my cards were with a tirade:
I was not aware that he did not sign Houston cards til signing. I tried to give you a free card and refund. But you gave a negative?? Insane. We have had countless signings this and last month. Now you to will receive a negative. I have lost a childhood friend to Covid. But hey your card is more important!
– IPO Sports Marketing
Ok let me lay this out since he subsequently blocked me:
a. If he wasn’t aware that Lewis didn’t sign Houston cards, why didn’t he contact me over the next two weeks after the signing to let me know?
b. He sent me that autographed card, but did not tell me I’d be issued a refund, nor did he do it until I requested one.
c. Yes I patiently waited for his service that he did not fulfil correctly or with customer service.
d. I don’t care if he had countless signings. – This is called an ‘argument by authority.’ I can easily say that I have gone to HUNDREDS of in person signings, but does that give me any credo: Nooo.
e. Negative feedback? -That’s retaliatory.
f. Sorry, I didn’t know he lost somebody to COVID. -That’s his personal business though and isn’t material to the transaction.
g. My card is important to me. -Why is he belittling me for his failure? Maybe he’s really only interested in the big fish that he’s cooking and not little guys like me? I mean just says more about him.
His next email was one telling me to be patient and they’d offer me a refund AFTER I got the card in the mail. The problem was the email he responded to was the email that I told him that I had already received the card and it was not acceptable from 12/2.
His last email was notification of the negative feedback he left me, where he claims to have offered me a free card and a full refund- and that I am just a crazy person.
So I immediately contacted the admins at SCN, and after investigating they removed his retaliatory feedback (not to mention it is clearly stated not to do it in the rules). IPO Sports Marketing attempted to explain a revisionist history of the situation, trying to make it sound like they had offered me the card for free and a refund and that I was just a crazy person who ran off and hammered them with Paypal and negative feedback.
Now why would I do that when I just want my autographed card? Why would I create unnecessary drama for myself like that? This has happened to me in the past, and you know how the seller handled it with me? COMMUNICATION. And you know what I did? – I didn’t leave negative feedback. That’s for sure. (What IPO Sports Marketing failed to understand as a retailer is with every customer service mistake, there’s an opportunity to fix and an opportunity to make another sale- but he didn’t.)
All he had to do was say, “Hey couldn’t get this done. I’m so sorry. Here’s a free autographed card. I’ve already refunded you your money (and gone through with it).” That’s the tragedy of it. It became a mountain for me to stand on because he refused to deal with the mole hill in front of him.
I do not take negative reviews lightly and I do not like issuing them whether its SCN or EBay or whatever. I am exceedingly patient, so when I decide I am unhappy with a service, it is not done lightly. It is done after methodical documentation and an opportunity at every corner to give the retailer a chance to communicate with me or make me whole.
Thankfully with the available time date stamps from the emails that I received from both my personal email and SCN, I was able to compose a timeline for them to review, so they could understand that his timeline of events was not accurate. My negative feedback was accurate to the situation and the moment, but after this happened, I felt I should write about it, so others would be aware that there are bad signing situations that happen.
Later that week, a Ravens fan posted all his Jermaine Lewis autographs that he obtained from that signing. Curiously, he included 3 signed Texans cards that Lewis had penned. What took the cake later, was one of my friends also experienced a similar situation with the IPO Sports Marketing. IPO offered to send him any Jermaine Lewis autograph that he had- and sent a photo grouping of all the cards, and among them again was another Jermaine Lewis Houston Texans card.
Why would IPO Sports do this to me? Coupled with my friend’s issue, I am led to believe that IPO Sports forgot to get our cards signed, then sloppily tried to cover it up.
There are a lot of people out there who shouldn’t be handling signings (especially now during the days of COVID). There are people who don’t understand customer service, who are overwhelmed by their own lives, problems, or underlying issues that they didn’t understand about handling autograph signings.
Be patient with them. Go easy on them, but don’t let them gaslight you when it is their fault. Tolerate to a point and don’t be afraid to hold them accountable when you’ve been more than reasonable and had enough.
That being said I’ll wait until some other time to write about Jermaine, when I have another autograph in hand of his on his Texans card. In the meantime, and I say this with conviction: Beware about doing business with IPO Sports Marketing.
I had been wanting Justin Forsett for sometime on a few cards, but being that he doesn’t sign through the mail from what I saw, so I put him on my list to pick up a certified of when the price was right. With COVID in full swing, COMC ran an aggressive sale on their inventory, so I was able to get Justin with a stack of other autographs that I was after. -I just didn’t expect this gem of a Score 2010 to appear.
Not to mention that Justin was a hero to me for shoring up my lineup during his rookie year in my fantasy league. I grabbed him with two to three games left in the season, and he provided me with a win to help propel me towards the championship in 2009. Later as a brief member of the Houston Texans he blew past the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day in a very memorable game.
Justin had a pretty decent 4 years at Cal playing for the Golden Bears from 2004-2007. He rushed 567 times for 3220 yards and 26 TDs, and caught 41 passes for 386 yards and a TD. Despite his solid output at Cal, Forsett was not selected until the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and bounced on and off the roster of the Seahawks and Colts. Returning back to the Seahawks in 2009, he played in all 16 games, posting up 619 yards on 114 carries, scoring 4 times, and catching 41 passes. He’d spend the next two years with the team, as his playing time slowly dwindled. Eventually Forsett was allowed to walk after the 2011 season.
Justin signed with the Houston Texans in 2012. With Arian Foster the primary back in the lineup, Ben Tate and Forsett would fight over playing time as his backup. As a great change of pace, Forsett rushed 63 times for 374 yards and an 81 yard TD against the Lions. Disappointingly, he didn’t resign with the Texans after the season, electing to spend 2013 with the Jaguars.
Justin’s final act in the NFL was primarily with the Baltimore Ravens. He’d earn his only Pro Bowl nod in 2014 rushing 235 times for 1266 yards and 8 touchdowns, catching 44 passes for 263 yards as a replacement for Ray Rice. An injury plagued 2015 saw his numbers dip. In 10 games, his numbers dropped to 641 yards on 151 carries. He’d be released during the 2016 season, spending time with the Lions and the Broncos.
Forsett retired in 2017. An inventor, he’s come up with quite a few successful ideas, attracting former NFL players as investors.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.