Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice finally stood in front of a microphone to talk about the incident at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City on February 15. Except for court statements, he’s been fairly silent since that time. According to the Baltimore Sun on May 23, Rice, with wife Janay at his side, offered up an emotional apology to fans, family members and the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray Rice looked uncomfortable standing there. He probably was. The Ravens’ running back has never been in trouble before that night, when hotel video showed Rice dragging his then girlfriend/now wife Janay out of an elevator. She was unconscious. He spoke of failure, sorrow and trust.
“There were a lot of tears shed, but me and Janay can truly say that we’re in a better place,” Rice said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll gain back everyone’s trust to let you all know that we’re still the same people, and I’m still the same person. I really treat my job as a very special job, and I failed miserably. But I wouldn't call myself a failure, because I’m working my way back up.”
Ray and Janay Rice’s family was in attendance, as was their two-year-old daughter Raven, who cried through most of it. The only teammate of Rice’s who attended was wide receiver Torrey Smith, a good friend.
“For everybody here, I want you to know that I’m still the Ray Rice that you know or used to know or [have] grown to love,” Rice said. “I’m still the same guy. As me and Janay wish we could take back 30 seconds of our life, we definitely sit here today and tell you that we are better parents, we are better lovers, and we are also better friends throughout the situation.”
Janay Rice made a brief statement after her husband spoke. She was initially charged in the February altercation, but those charges were later dropped.
“I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night, but I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together, and we are continuing to strengthen our relationship and our marriage. ...,” Janay said. “... I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but [to] the community. I know he will gain your respect back in due time.”
Janay’s father, Joe Palmer, was seated in the front row. Rice spoke of him as "my father I never had.” Ray Rice lost his own father to a shooting when he was five years old. It was an awkward moment, but he pushed on. “I know it wasn't easy when you saw everything that happened, but I just remember your words: ‘You’ll get through it,’” Rice told Joe Palmer. “Those words will stick with me deeper than anything that I can imagine, because one thing you gave me was trust.”
The Baltimore Ravens have stuck behind Ray Rice throughout this ordeal, but that does not rule out the possibility of a suspension or other sanctions from the NFL.