Ray Rice Apologizes To City Of Baltimore: ‘There Is No Excuse For Domestic Violence'

Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice issued an apology to the city of Baltimore on Friday in which he asked for forgiveness and said he plans to raise awareness about the nation’s domestic violence crisis in the future.

In a statement provided exclusively to The Baltimore Sun, Rice spoke specifically to “the kids who looked up to me,” saying he’s “truly sorry" for letting them down. Sources also told The Baltimore Sun that Ray Rice plans to move out of the Baltimore area and back to New York, where he grew up. Read the statement in its entirety:

Dear Baltimore,

This is not a farewell or goodbye. The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown my family and I throughout my football career. We’ll always be grateful for the love we’ve received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl. To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue. Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I. I’m very grateful to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and everyone at 1 Winning Drive. I love you all very much, and I’ll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens.

Thank you.

Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL in September after TMZ released a graphic video of the running back knocking out now-wife Janay Rice inside an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Rice eventually appealed the NFL’s suspension and was reinstated by the league in November after a judge ruled that Rice did not lie during a meeting with league commissioner Roger Goodell. He has yet to re-sign with a new team.

Rice’s domestic violence awakened the country to the national domestic violence crisis. In the U.S., three women are murdered by a current or former partner every day, and roughly 4.75 million women are physically attacked by a current or former partner every year. In the two days after TMZ released its September video of the altercation, calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline jumped 84 percent.

Since Rice attacked his now-wife, the NFL has worked hard to improve its image, instituting an automatic six-game suspension without pay for future first-time domestic violence offenses. The league also partnered with the anti-domestic violence coalition No More to craft PSAs, although the partnership has been criticized as a “cheap and perfect way out of a public relations disaster” for the NFL.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.