OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — 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.”
His arrest for domestic violence against his then-fiancee last February is something Rice figures will haunt him long after NFL career has ended.
The 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.
“My 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.
“My 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.”
Rice was 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 provoked.
“I 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 wrong.”
Rice wore 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.