Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice said Tuesday that he is “horribly sorry” for the February domestic violence incident involving his wife, Janay Rice, which led to his suspension from the league. The 27-year-old free agent asked NFL teams for a “second chance” after his reinstatement to the league on Nov. 28.
“This is something, you know, as a man, you have to own, and we’re horribly sorry, and I’m horribly sorry for everything that I have to put my family through,” Rice told Matt Lauer during an appearance on the “Today” show. “I still got to live every day, go take my daughter to school. She’s going to grow up, and the way the Internet works now, she’s going to Google her father’s name, and the first thing that’s going to come up is -- you know what’s going to come up.”
Initially, Rice was suspended for two games after his domestic violence arrest. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended Rice’s suspension indefinitely after a graphic video of Rice’s knockout blow in an Atlantic City casino elevator was leaked to the public. The Ravens opted to immediately release Rice. An independent arbitrator overturned Rice’s indefinite suspension last Friday, enabling him to sign with any NFL team, ESPN reported.
Rice spoke extensively Tuesday about the Ravens’ much-criticized press conference in May, during which his wife apologized for her role in the incident. Janay Rice, whose maiden name is Palmer, told Lauer on Monday that Ravens officials “suggested” that she apologize and that she complied to help her husband salvage his career.
Her apology provoked outrage from critics, who decried the implicit “blame the victim” message. When asked by Lauer if he understood the anger over his wife’s apology at the May press conference, Rice acknowledged that he “made a horrendous mistake” in handling the situation.
“The reason why that press conference was the way it was, was because we were still under legal situations,” Rice said. “So there wasn't much that could be said, but I'll be honest, we were nervous, I was nervous, and that was the first time we were available to speak. And I made a horrendous mistake not apologizing to my wife.”
Four NFL teams have expressed interest in signing Rice, including the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, ESPN reported. Rice asked Tuesday that NFL executives forgive his past transgressions and offer a chance at redemption.
“They would have to be willing to, you know, look deeper into who I am and realize that me and my wife had one bad night, and I took full responsibility for it,” he said. “And one thing about my punishment and everything going along with anything that happened is that I've accepted it. I went fully forward with it. I never complained, or I never did anything like that. I took full responsibility for everything that I did, and the only thing I can hope for and wish for is a second chance."