Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(ELLICOT CITY, Md.) — Bryan Bartlett and his wife, Angie, were horrified when they watched a video that showed Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer.
After the NFL suspended him in the wake of video’s release, the Bartletts of Ellicott City, Maryland, struggled with what do with their 6-year-old daughter Brynn’s Ray Rice jersey.
“My wife had shown me posts on Facebook of people burning their jerseys and it just didn’t seem like a good idea,” Bartlett said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America. “It almost seemed like a violent way to deal with a violent act.”
So the Bartletts decided to do something positive. They took Brynn’s jersey and altered it, changing the name “Rice” to “Nice” and adding a few more words to form a complete message: “Be Nice to Girls.”
A photo of Brynn wearing her one-of-a-kind jersey went viral, but the Bartletts said this simply wasn’t an art project. They are making sure that Brynn and her brother understand the meaning behind the message.
“Before we made the shirts, we had talked to both of our kids…we told them that they know that no matter how mad they get or how frustrated they get, never to hit anybody, not hit a boy, not hit a girl, never hit anybody,” Bartlett said.
Parenting expert Stacy Kaiser said the Bartletts have the right idea.
“What we’re seeing here is something that’s ideal for all parents to do, which is taking a bad situation and turning it into a good, teachable moment,” she said.
Bartlett said he was “really just thinking about my daughter and what would almost make me feel good about the message that she had on her shirt. It’s very important to me that she has pride in herself and feels empowered.”
Brynn is a fan of the jersey. “I like it,” she said. “I think it looks really cool.”
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