Janay Rice claims it was not her idea to apologize after being the victim in a domestic violence incident involving her husband. The wife of free agent NFL running back Ray Rice told Matt Lauer of "Today" that the Baltimore Ravens "suggested" that she apologize during a press conference in May.
Janay Rice revealed that she would not have apologized -- or even participated in the press conference -- had the Ravens not proposed the idea. The first segment of the interview aired Monday, just days after Ray Rice's indefinite suspension from the NFL was overturned by an arbitrator. Candy Palmer, Janay Rice's mother, joined her daughter for this portion of the interview:
Matt Lauer: And did anyone at the Ravens say, "Janay, it would be really good if you issue some kind of an apology?"
Janay Rice: They suggested it, yes.
Lauer: Did they come up with the wording?
Rice: No, not specifically. They basically gave us a general script.
Lauer: That really started it.
Rice: And that was frustrating for me because, obviously, people took it as I'm taking light off of what Ray did. In no way.
Candy Palmer: Or you're giving him an excuse.
Rice: Yeah. No, not at all. 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. I did something wrong too. Not taking any light off what Ray did because I agree with everybody else, it was wrong.
Lauer: The Ravens tweeted out that portion of that statement, your apology, and then they quickly took it down, because I think they understood very fast the reaction to that apology. Do you think the reaction was warranted from people around the country.
Rice: I completely understood it. Which was frustrating because the whole thing was just awkward, to be honest.
Lauer: But had it not been for the Ravens, urging you or suggesting you apologize, you would have never been at that press conference and you would have never apologized.
Rice: No. No.
In an interview with ESPN's Jemele Hill, Janay Rice also indicated that the Ravens had provided a "suggested script" for the press conference. In an as-told-to piece, published on Nov. 28, she reflected on the press conference:
Looking out over the media, I became angry, seeing all the people who had been covering this and adding to the story. I wanted to tell everyone what was really on my mind. When it was my turn to speak, I said I regretted my role in the incident. I know some people disagreed with me publicly apologizing. I'm not saying that what Ray did wasn't wrong. He and I both know it was wrong. It's been made clear to him that it was wrong. But at the same time, who am I to put my hands on somebody? I had already apologized to Ray, and I felt that I should take responsibility for what I did. Even though this followed the Ravens' suggested script, I owned my words.
While live-tweeting the May press conference, the official Ravens Twitter account highlighted the apology from Janay Rice. The tweet appeared to be deleted by the Ravens after Ray Rice was released by the team in September. The team released Ray Rice just hours after the graphic video of him striking Janay was made public. The incident occurred in February at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The NFL had levied a two-game suspension in July, before upgrading Rice's punishment to an indefinite ban, after TMZ released the video from inside the elevator.