OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ray Rice’s effort at damage control Friday didn’t appear to control much of the damage.
Speaking for the first time since being arrested for knocking his
fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City casino in February, a tearful
Rice provided plenty of self-pity to go along with his apologies during a
10-minute afternoon “press conference” at the Ravens’ practice facility
Rice, a New Rochelle native who starred at Rutgers before becoming a
three-time Pro Bowl running back for Baltimore, declined to take any
questions from the overflow crowd of media and made at least one
inappropriate analogy during his prepared statement.
“Sometimes, you will fail,” Rice said as his now-wife, Janay Palmer,
sat stone-faced by his side and his mother and infant daughter watched
from the audience. “But I won’t call myself a failure. A failure is not
getting knocked down, it’s not getting up.”
But “knocked down” is exactly what Rice did to his wife Feb. 15 at
Revel Casino in an ugly incident caught on security cameras. Rice, 27,
also was taped dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator.
Rice was later charged with third-degree aggravated assault, but
prosecutors earlier this week allowed him to enter a pre-trial
intervention program reserved for first-time offenders. Rice can have
the assault charge dismissed if he completes the one-year arrangement.
Rice, though, still faces the possibility of a suspension by the
Ravens or NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league’s
Rice apologized to the team, his fans and “the kids” — conspicuously
leaving out his wife — before touting the value of the counseling he has
received since the incident.
“Though we know that no relationship is perfect, me and Janay want
the world to see what counseling has done for us,” Rice said, who added
the he and his wife have become “better parents … better lovers and also
better friends throughout the situation.”
Rice also acknowledged the toll the incident has taken on his personal marketing efforts.
“I know many of my supporters and sponsors acted as they don’t want
to be in partnership with me, and that’s my fault,” Rice said. “I take
full responsibility for that. One thing that I do know is that I’m
working every day to be a better father, a better husband and just a
better role model.”
Palmer, who was initially ticketed by Atlantic City police along with
Rice for simple assault-domestic violence, also spoke Friday and
apologized — apparently for provoking Rice to punch her.
“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,” Palmer said. “I love Ray, and I know he will continue to
prove himself and gain the respect he built up.”
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and GM Ozzie
Newsome didn’t attend Rice’s press conference Friday because of what the
club said were “other commitments,” but the team has offered vocal
public support for its star back since the incident.
Rice said Friday he hopes to return the favor.
“Hopefully, one day I’ll gain back everyone’s trust to let you know
we’re still the same people and I’m still the same person,” Rice said.
“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