Ray Rice faced the music Thursday. But when it was time for the Baltimore Ravens running back to address reporters for the first time since the NFL handed down his controversial two-game suspension last week for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, you could hear a pin drop.
With his wife, Janay Rice, watching from a balcony overlooking a large contingent that included reporters, Ravens staffers and about two dozen players, Rice struck a tone of extreme contrition for the incident that led him to this point.
“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” said Rice.
“I want to own it.”
Rice entered a diversionary program in May, three months after an infamous episode with his wife (who was his fiancee at the time) at an Atlantic City casino led to an aggravated assault charge against him. Security cameras caught Rice pulling an apparently unconscious Janay Rice (nee Palmer) out of an elevator.
“My actions that night were totally inexcusable,” said Rice, who apologized profusely to his wife, 2-year-old daughter, teammates, the Ravens organization, Baltimore community and even other victims of abuse. “That’s not who I am as a man.”
He said he needed help in the aftermath of the assault but pledged to help others suffering from domestic violence once his counseling is complete.
Rice admitted the press conference held with his wife at the Ravens headquarters in May was “awkward” and took the opportunity to publicly and explicitly apologize to her Thursday. He took no questions two months ago while letting the legal and NFL disciplinary process play out.
“My wife can do no wrong,” he said Thursday, while declining several times to discuss what exactly happened in the elevator. “She’s an angel.”
The league has been subjected to a withering fusillade of blowback from both traditional and social media, with many of the critics wondering why Rice’s penalty for allegedly knocking out a woman is only half as harsh as the four-game suspensions so often issued to early-stage violators of the NFL’s substance abuse or performance-enhancing drug policies.
Rice would only say he had no control over the process.
SOURCE: Nate Davis