Ravens running back Ray Rice, who has campaigned passionately against bullying, is throwing his weight behind a Maryland bill that would make cyber-bullying a minor crime.
Rice alerted his online fan base Wednesday that he's supporting Baltimore County Del. Jon Cardin's proposal. While he won't be able to make Thursday's bill hearing in Annapolis, he has sent written testimony and he hopes his followers will show up in person.
"I WOULD LIKE AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO SHOW UP IN PERSON AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!" he wrote -- in all caps for emphasis. "LET'S TAKE OVER ANNAPOLIS AND LET THEM KNOW WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT PUTTING AN END TO BULLYING!!!"
The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on HB 396 is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lowe House Office Building.
Rice referred to his plea as an "urgent call to action."
He posted his written testimony online. Here's a snippet:
"I receive hundreds of messages through email and facebook each week from kids and teens who are bullied to the point of contemplating taking their own lives because of the hateful things others are saying on facebook, twitter, and instagram," Rice wrote. "We need to change youth culture so that children understand that their words have consequences. People feel they can speak more hatefully on the internet than they do in person or even on the telephone – that culture needs to change."