Ray Rice Calls Elevator Incident 'One Bad Night' that 'Happened to Be on Video'

by Jackie Willis 7:58 AM PST, December 02, 2014
Photo: NBC

Ray Rice is asking for a "second chance."

After his wife's Janay Rice and her mother Candy Palmer gave a sit-down interview with Today anchor Matt Lauer on Monday, the former Baltimore Ravens player joined his family for an interview of his own with Lauer in an attempt to explain his actions and do some damage control to his reputation as he attempts to join another NFL team.

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Earlier this year, the 27-year-old running back was caught on an elevator surveillance camera in an Atlantic City casino punching Janay, his then fiancee and now wife, and then dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator.

"The reality of it and that's what I'm more worried about fixing is that I want my wife, my daughter, my family - we all just want our lives back," Rice told Lauer. "I took full responsibility for everything that I did, and the only thing I can hope for and wish for is a second chance."

The former pro athlete goes on to suggest that this incident was not a frequent occurrence between him and Janay. "You know, domestic violence is a real issue in society," he said. "We could take our one bad night, it just happened to be on video, but we are truly sorry to the people that are really going through it. You know, it's a real problem. And I know when the time is right, I know my wife wants to help, I know I want to help."

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Rice does admit that he and his wife's relationship hasn't been "perfect" -- after Lauer mentions that he asked Janay directly if an incident such as was seen in the elevator had occurred before. "No relationship is perfect," he said as his family stood by his side. "We've had arguments, but when you talk about abuse, you know, that's something that we know that we'd never cross that path. But then did we say things to each other that we want to take back at times? Yeah, we crossed that line before, but it never got to an altercation where it went that far."

He added, "That was just very uncharacteristic of myself. I take responsibility. That was very uncharacteristic."

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As for talk that Janay is only staying with him for financial reasons and/or because he's a football player, Rice reacted, "I knew my wife before I had anything. We both know where we came from. And just to be honest with you, she's very independent. My wife can survive in this world without me."

He continued, "The one thing I want people to understand is that she sacrificed her well-being for me. And now the role's a little bit reversed. I would sacrifice my well-being for her."

When asked how he'd feel if he never gets to play in the NFL again, Rice told Lauer, "If I never play football again, I'll be honest with you, I would adapt into life and I would sacrifice more so she can have a better future."

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His wife chimed in, "I know regardless he'll always support me in anything that I want to do. So God forbid he doesn't play football again, then I'll step in and, you know, maybe I'll be a provider."

Back in September when the Ray Rice controversy was all over the news, ET sat down with actress and activist Robin Givens who gave her views on the elevator surveillance footage. Upon leaving her allegedly abusive marriage with Mike Tyson in the late '80s, Givens has dedicated time to work on behalf of women, children and families facing challenges of domestic violence.

"I want to say I was shocked, but then in many respects I've sort of been there," Givens said. "I really feel a bond with not only Janay but certainly all women that are in this situation." See Givens' full interview, below.