NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former Baltimore running back Ray Rice has broken his silence, saying he’s trying to “be strong” for his wife after the release of a shocking video resulted in his termination by the Ravens.
Rice was let go by the team on Monday after additional video emerged from a Feb. 15 domestic incident in Atlantic City, footage that showed him hitting Janay Rice with a left cross in the elevator of the closed Revel Casino. The blow appeared to knock Janay Rice out after her head hit the railing.READ MORE: Brian Laundrie's Remains Found In Florida Nature Reserve, Officials Say
“I have to be strong for my wife,” he told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “She is so strong. We are in good spirits. We have a lot of people praying for us and we’ll continue to support each other. I have to be there for (Janay) and my family right now and work through this.”
Earlier Tuesday, Janay Rice pointed her finger at the media for Ray Rice’s cut by the team and indefinite suspension from the NFL. The league, previously criticized for handing Rice a two-game suspension, put its foot down after it said it viewed the video for the first time.
New York Daily News sports columnist Gary Myers has been covering the NFL for more than 35 years and said his sources told him when Ray Rice first described what happened in that elevator to league Commissioner Roger Goodell he brushed over some details.
“It was somewhat of a watered down version of the events, and it wasn’t as graphic and it didn’t make it seem as bad as we saw in that video,” Myers told CBS 2’s Matt Kozar.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, many people on Tuesday were asking why Janay Rice was not only defending her husband, but also blaming others for the fallout.
Liz Roberts of Safe Horizon, a domestic violence agency, said Palmer’s words that almost amounted to defending Rice are tragically all too common.
“It is often the case that they blame themselves for the abuse that they feel, ‘If I had done something differently — if I had acted differently — this wouldn’t have happened to me,’” said Roberts, chief executive and programs officer for the agency. “It’s not their fault. Nobody deserves to be knocked out.”
Roberts said it would be unfair to speculate why Palmer married Rice shortly after the violent incident, or why she decided to stay.
“It may be that they truly love the person and they believe they can change. It may be that they’re afraid the violence will escalate if they separate, and in fact, that is very commonly the case,” she said.READ MORE: Alec Baldwin Fired Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer And Injured Director On "Rust" Movie Set
Palmer added: “The abuse does isolate them. It isolates them because the abuser wants it so.”
“Victims sometimes feel responsible for assault,” she told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “She has the right to stay, she has the right to say how she feels, but it’s our responsibility as a culture to make sure that other people aren’t blaming her.”
While many agreed the video is disturbing, opinions differed on how Palmer should handle the situation.
“I understand where she’s coming from,” said Michelle Okeke of Harlem. “You know, she’s just trying to move on with her life.”
“I just can’t understand it,” said Carol Feldman of Manhattan. “You know, I would never do something like that, and if she has any children she’s certainly not setting a good example for them.”
Janay Rice, known by the surname Palmer at the time of the incident, married the New Rochelle native Ray Rice in March. She spoke alongside her husband at a news conference in May.
The Baltimore Sun said it had verified the authenticity of the Instagram post, adding that Rice wanted it to go public.
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