Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice faced the music Thursday, but he didn’t get into details about the past.
Rice made his first public comments since being suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the season after violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Rice allegedly knocked his then-fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino in February.
Rice wasn’t willing to comment on the specifics of that night, but he was very apologetic, saying the incident was “inexcusable,” and he also publicly apologized to his now-wife.
“I know that’s not who I am as a man,” Rice told reporters after practice. “That’s not who I am as a man. That’s not who my mother raised me to be. … To sit here today and replay the things my mom raised me to be, I let her down. I let my wife down. I let my daughter down.”
To avoid a felony assault charge, Rice was ordered to undergo counseling, and he says he’s still doing that.
“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said. “Me. (My wife) can do no wrong. She’s an angel.
“We’re in counseling, we’ve taken the necessary steps to move forward. It’s allowed me to interact with my inner-self to let me know where I was weak in my life.”
In a show of apparent solidarity, Rice’s Ravens teammates attended the news conference, which lasted about 17 minutes.
“I let so many people down because of 30 seconds of my life I know I can’t take back,” Rice said. “What I’ve done going forward, I’m a man to say I needed help. I’m not afraid to ask for help.”
Rice hopes he can somehow repair a reputation that has been badly damaged — at least outside of Baltimore. Before the incident, many viewed Rice as a good person who did a lot of work in the community.
“In 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.”
Rice also hopes this issue can be some sort of lesson for his fans, especially kids.
“I 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.”