Ray Rice took questions on Thursday from the media for the first time since a video showed him dragging his unconscious then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, out of an Atlantic City hotel elevator in February.
Rice finally gave the public apology people have wanted out of him for months.
"That's not me," Rice said. "My actions that night were totally inexcusable. I have to live with that the rest of my life."
The Baltimore Ravens running back previously had clumsily read a statement in May following the incident and later was given a two-game suspension by commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the incident.
The suspension was roundly criticized as being too light, but Rice said missing two games, as well as feeling the public scorn for his role in the incident, has taken a toll on him.
"I'm being punished on a day-to-day basis," Rice said.
Other than Rice making himself look like a victim in that case, he handled himself well by admitting his mistakes, both during and after the incident.
"Last time I did not publicly apologize to my wife. ... Her pain is my pain," he said. "One thing I wanted to do today was apologize to my wife."
Rice spoke emotionally and — unlike last time — from the heart when the subject of his 2-year-old daughter came up. He said he knows that one day she's going to hear and read about the troubles with Rice and Palmer.
"One day she's going to know the power of Google," Rice said. "And we're going to have to explain that to her, explain what happened that day."
Rice summed up how "30 seconds of [his] life" has affected his life and what he's now left to deal with.
"I let my wife down, I let my daughter down, I let my wife's family down ... I let so many people down," he said.
Asked if it was the first time he ever hit a women, Rice said that the incident with his now-wife was the first time he ever committed an act of domestic violence.
"It was a one-time incident," he said.
Despite that, Rice also indicated that he knew he needed counseling.
"I am a man to say that I needed help," Rice said. "I am not afraid to ask for help."
Rice said he and Palmer plan to do what they can to one day help other victims of domestic violence.
"When the time is right ... me and my wife, we want to go out there and help people — anybody, violence of any kind," he said. "... We will go out there and help as many people as we can and speak out against domestic violence."
Rice deflected some of the tougher questions, namely what specifically happened in the elevator with he and his wife, saying multiple times he was "trying to move forward" from the incident. But he made sure one more time to take the blame.
"I am here to say that I made the biggest mistake of my life," Rice said. "She can do no wrong; she's an angel."
Ravens fans appear to be on Rice's side firmly, as he was cheered at the team's practice session the other night at M&T Stadium as well as in practices after that. But the general public's response has been far different.
"I know a lot of people lost respect," he said. "That's my fault."
Head coach John Harbaugh was not asked about Rice in his news conference Thursday, but on Wednesday he said Rice has handled things well after the ugly incident.
“You'll see his heart, just like you saw it last time,” Harbaugh said, per the Baltimore Sun. “He’s not going to give you some polished press conference. That’s not Ray. Ray’s going to speak from the heart.”
It appeared Rice did. Just several months later than most people hoped or expected.
- - - - - - -
- Crime & Justice
- Ray Rice