Ravens running back Ray Rice walks off the field
before addressing the media at a news conference
after NFL football training camp practice, Thursday,
July 31, 2014, in Owings Mills, Md.
MILLS, Md. — Ray Rice stepped to the microphone,
took a deep breath and spoke for 17 minutes about what he
called "the biggest mistake of his life."
arrest for domestic violence against his then-fiancee last
February is something Rice figures will haunt him long
after NFL career has ended.
Baltimore Ravens running back was arrested on assault
charges following a Feb. 15 altercation in New Jersey in
which he allegedly struck Janay Palmer. Rice has been
accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion
could lead to the charges being dropped.
actions that night were totally inexcusable," said
Rice, who during Ravens training camp Thursday spoke
publicly for the first time since receiving a two-game
suspension from the NFL.
daughter is 2 years old now. One day she's going to know
the power of Google. Me having to explain that to her,
what happened that night, that's something I have to live
with the rest of my life."
referring to a grainy video in which he is shown dragging
Palmer, now his wife, from an elevator at an Atlantic City
casino. He did not address the incident at an impromptu
news conference in May, and although he refused to divulge
details on Thursday, he dismissed the notion that he was
don't want to keep re-living the incident. I'm trying to
move forward," he said. "What happened that
night was a huge mistake, and that's what I'll keep it at.
I don't condone any of my behavior. I take full
responsibility for my actions. My wife can do no
a Ravens polo shirt and a pained expression throughout the
session. More than a dozen TV cameras were in place, some
telecasting the interview live, and several of his
teammates stood behind the throng to show their support.
is the team's career leader in total scrimmage yards and
ranks behind only Jamal Lewis in total yards rushing. But
this press conference wasn't about football.
about apologizing for actions that he insisted were one of
was the first time it ever happened," he said.
"I've never had a problem with domestic abuse. This
was a one-time incident."
addition to the two-game suspension, Rice was fined three
paychecks totaling more than $500,000. There have been
reports that the fine was too light. Rice declined to
weigh in on that subject except to say that he would have
accepted whatever penalty the NFL deemed fit.
football games and no money was going to determine what I
have to live with the rest of my life. That punishment I
received from the NFL, it hurts that I can't play
football," he said. "I never planned to appeal
any kind of punishment. So whether it was two games, four
games, six games, eight games, I was going to own my
actions and be a man about it and take whatever was given
reputation has likely taken a harder hit than he has ever
absorbed on the field.
some people's eyes, Ray can do no wrong. That's something
I take pride in," he said. "I know a lot of
people out there have lost respect, maybe not like me
anymore. But that's my fault. I have to own that. That's
my battle each day."
pleaded with his fans to make smart decisions.
still have kids out there wearing 27 jerseys, and I just
want to tell them that please don't make the mistake I
did," he said. "I always talk about one or two
bad decisions and your dream can become a nightmare, and I
was truly living a nightmare."
teammates still support him.
known Ray for a while. He's a great guy," linebacker
Elvis Dumervil said. "We're all human, we all make
realizes how many people were hurt by his actions.
not who I am as a man. That's not who my mom raised me to
be," he said. "I let her down, I let my wife
down, I let my daughter down, I let my wife's parents
down, I let the whole Baltimore community down, and I got
my teammates here to support me, I let my teammates down.
I let so many people down because of 30 seconds of my life
that I know I can't take back."