Ray Rice seeks 2nd chance in NFL; admits mistake for not apologizing to Janay
(Today Show) NEW YORK – On Monday, we heard from Janay Rice, about that February night in an Atlantic City elevator, when her then-fiancé Ray Rice knocked her unconscious in an assault that was caught on camera. In an interview that aired on TODAY Tuesday, Ray Rice spoke to Matt Lauer about the elevator incident, his future career and more, alongside Janay and her parents, Candy and Joe Palmer.
Matt Lauer: What do you think it would take for another owner and another group of fans to put the images of that video behind and say, ‘We’ll take a chance on Ray Rice?’
Ray Rice: 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. 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.
Rice on the press conference in the aftermath of the incident
Lauer: We didn’t see a ton of anger on Janay’s face. We also heard her apologize and at that press conference we didn’t hear you apologize to her. And that upset a lot of people. Do you understand that?
Rice: Yes, I definitely understand that. The reason why that press conference was the way it was, was because we were still under legal situations. 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.
We were given what to speak about. It wasn’t truly coming from us, if you can understand, but I made that clear in my last time I was able to speak that my wife is an angel. She can do no wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions.
Rice on his wife apologizing at the press conference
Lauer: In hindsight did it bother you to hear her apologize?
Rice: In hindsight I think she was doing it because she knows what I do for a living. She understood my job and my profession. And I think it was her doing that, trying to take light off the situation, to…
Lauer: Protect you.
Rice: Yeah. And I appreciated it, but that’s not what the big deal is. The big deal is for me to always protect her, and that’s why I said I take full responsibility. She can do no wrong. 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. 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.
The reality of it and that’s what I’m more worried about fixing is that I want my wife, my daughter, my family – we all just want our lives back. I realize football was one thing, but now I realize that the amount of people we’ve affected, the amount of families we’ve affected, that, you know, domestic violence is a real issue in society. We could take our one bad night, it just happened to be on video, but we are truly sorry to the people that are really going through it. You know, it’s a real problem. And I know when the time is right, I know my wife wants to help, I know I want to help.
Rice on any prior violence in the relationship
Lauer: Ray, I had to ask her directly. I said, ‘Janay, other than that incident we saw on that video tape was there ever a moment in this marriage or this relationship before or after that where you were the victim of abuse?’
Rice: I truly understand that, and one thing you learn is that, you know, we weren’t in a perfect relationship. No relationship is perfect. We’ve had arguments, but when you talk about abuse, you know, that’s something that we know that we’d never cross that path. But then did we say things to each other that we want to take back at times? Yeah, we crossed that line before, but it never got to an altercation where it went that far. That was just very uncharacteristic of myself. I take responsibility. That was very uncharacteristic.
Rice on Janay’s strength as a person
Lauer: You know what people have said about your wife after all this. They said, “She’s a woman in denial,” right. Or, ‘She’s just hanging onto Ray Rice because he’s a football player and he’s got a big paycheck and he’s got fame.’ And in many ways they’ve been diminishing Janay. How do you feel about that?
Rice: I knew my wife before I had anything. We both know where we came from. And just to be honest with you, she’s very independent. My wife can survive in this world without me. She could survive in this world in society without me. She could’ve done it on her own. The one thing I want people to understand is that she sacrificed her well-being for me. And now the role’s a little bit reversed. I would sacrifice my well-being for her because…
Lauer: So if you never play football again?
Rice: If I never play football again, I’ll be honest with you, I would adapt into life and I would sacrifice more so she can have a better future.
Lauer: Does that surprise you?
Janay Rice: No, not at all. Not at all. I know he wants to play football, but I know regardless he’ll always support me in anything that I want to do. So God forbid he doesn’t play football again, then I’ll step in and, you know, maybe I’ll be a provider.