The wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice says team officials “suggested” that she apologize for any role she played in her own beating.
Janay Rice told NBC’s “Today” show — in a taped interview which aired Monday — that she didn’t mean to let her then-boyfriend and current husband off the hook for a vicious knockout, captured on surveillance video at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Feb. 15.
She appeared next to Rice during a press conference on May 23, and appeared to take blame.
“Today” host Matt Lauer asked: “Did anyone at the Ravens say, “Janay, it would be really good if you issue some kind of apology’?”
Janay responded: “They suggested it, yes.”
Janay Rice said the Ravens didn’t put any exact words in her mouth but did giver her “a general script” of what to say. That press conference sparked a mountain of backlash against Rice and his wife.
“And that was frustrating for me, because obviously people took it as, you know, I’m taking light off of what Ray did,” said Janay Rice, who was originally charged with simple assault before that was dropped.
“In no way, I was basically, not doing what I was told. But at the same time, I didn’t think it was completely wrong for me to apologize, because at the end of the day, I got arrested too. So I did something wrong too.”
Janay maintains that if the Ravens hadn’t urged her to apologize by her husband’s side, she would have never made a statement because of the comments she has received in the wake of the incident. When Lauer recalled some people’s comments—”She’s a typical abused woman,” “She’s a woman in denial”—Janay’s mother, Candy Palmer, was quick to defend her daughter, saying that the elevator incident has made them more aware “about the people that are actually living this every day.”
The mother-daughter duo said that they have taken away “so many messages” from what happened with Ray, but Janay asserted that she and her now-husband are meant to be together.
“I feel like God chose Ray and me for a reason,” a teary-eyed Janay told Lauer. “It was definitely bringing awareness to what more people are going through every day. Even though it’s not what I’m going through every day, it’s definitely brought this topic to the forefront.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and the Ravens dropped him from the team. But an arbitrator ruled last week that Rice was unfairly punished twice by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Rice was originally slapped on the wrist with a two-game ban until that second, much more jarring video emerged, prompting Goodell to come down with an indefinite suspension.
Goodell said that Ray was “ambiguous” during his disciplinary hearing about what happened in the elevator and that was why his original ban was brief.
“I can’t say he’s telling the truth,” Janay Rice said of Goodell, according to Pro Football Talk. “I know for a fact that he told — that Ray told the honest truth that he’s been telling from February.”
Janay Rice also told “Today” that she hasn’t watched that second video.
“No, I refuse,” she said. “I’m not going to let the public bring me back there.”
Rice’s wife says he never hit her before or after that night at the Revel.
“No,” there has never been another assault, she said. “He [Rice] knows what he’d have to deal with.”
The running back’s wife repeated her defense of Rice, blaming the public and media coverage for all their problems.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” Janay Rice said. “After this whole situation, you would think we lived in a country full of people who never made a mistake, who have never sinned ever in their life.”
Both Janay and her mother assert that Ray wouldn’t hurt his wife anymore, with Palmer forcefully saying, “There is no next time, and we’ve already made that clear.”
Watch the entire interview below:
Lauer’s interview with Janay and Ray will air Tuesday.