Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay Palmer addressed the media Friday for the first time since a physical altercation in February at an Atlantic City casino. Charges against Palmer were dropped, while Rice was accepted this week into a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders that could eventually lead to him clearing his record.
Here are their comments from the news conference. They did not take questions from the media.
"First of all, I'd like to just thank you guys for taking the time out to come out and just hear me out for a little bit. I had many nights and many days and a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things. I usually prepare my speeches just coming off the top [of my head], but during the time I had, I had a chance to jot a lot of things down.
"I want to first off apologize to [owner] Steve Bisciotti, [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome and [head] coach [John] Harbaugh, and I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, to everyone who was affected by this situation that me and my wife were in.
"Throughout this time, we really had the time to reflect on each other. One thing [is] that we were blessed to work it out together. [Everybody] knows [no] relationship is perfect, but me and Janay together, what counseling has done for us – we want the world to see that it definitely did help us out. I pride myself on … My job is a very prideful job – the NFL – and I'm blessed to be playing at the highest level of sports. But the job that I did was more than scoring touchdowns. It was getting out into the community. It was helping out. So, when all of you [saw] this come upon [us], this thing [that] happened with me and my wife, everybody questioned what happened. One thing I can say is that sometimes in life, you will fail. But I won't call myself a failure. Failure is not getting knocked down; it's not getting up.
"I know many of my supporters, sponsors who have acted as so to not want to be in partnership with me – that's my fault. That's my fault. I take full responsibility for that. One thing that I do know is that I am working every day to be a better father, a better husband and just a better role model. My daughter [Rayven, 2 years old] left the [press conference] room, and the best thing I have to do is be a role model for her throughout everything. My wife is here, and I just want to thank her for loving me where I was weak and building up where I was strong throughout this whole situation.
"Lastly, I just wanted to look at you all in the room, you who have covered me for the last seven years – six going on seven years – and 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. 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.
"And as our families sit here today, we want to just thank you for encouraging us. Mom [Janet Rice], thank you. Mr. [Joe] Palmer, my father I never had, thank you for teaching me what it is to be a man. I know it wasn't easy when you saw everything that happened, but I just remember your words: "You'll get through it." Those words will always stick with me deeper than anything that I can imagine, because one thing you gave me was trust. We're working on our relationship, but one thing you [do] is trust me that I have Janay's best interests [at heart].
"I just want to thank all my supporters for the very kind times or notes or whatever you sent. I just want to thank you all for taking the time out to even reach out. I want to personally thank our counselor, Dr. Paul Ball, and I want to personally thank our team chaplain, Johnny Shelton, who is here today, for ministering us through this time and showing us a different way. Coping alone was definitely not easy, but bringing us together in times of fellowship really made things a lot better for us. Every day wasn't easy, but through all things, we were able to get through this. And there were a lot of tears shed, but me and Janay can truly say that we're in a better place. 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. I think my wife has something to say. I don't want to be the only one who [speaks]. We're in this together."
"First, I want to say thank you to all of those who have supported us throughout this situation. 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 and do what we have to do for not only ourselves collectively, but individually, and working on being better parents for Rayven and continue to be good role models for the community like we were doing before this. I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but [to] the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time. So thank you."