NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ray Rice says he’s sorry “for the horrible mistake” that led to his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice apologized to his fans and thanked his former team in a statement published Friday by the Baltimore Sun. He was arrested on Feb. 15, 2014 for a domestic violence incident at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino involving his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and suspended two games by the NFL after elevator footage showed the running back dragging her, unconscious, out of an elevator.
In September, damning footage from inside the elevator was released: Rice delivered a knockout punch. He was cut by the team and suspended indefinitely by the league — a punishment that was later overturned — in the ensuing uproar.
“Dear Baltimore, This is not a farewell or goodbye,” Rice said in the statement. “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,” he added. “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.”
The New Rochelle native is planning to move his family back to New York, the Sun reported. The 28-year-old free agent, who married Palmer one month after the incident, has made several public mea culpas in recent months. He has yet to land with another NFL team.
“Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I,” Rice wrote to the Sun. “I love you all very much, and I’ll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens. Thank you.”
Rice avoided jail time by entering into a pretrial intervention program in New Jersey. A probe into the NFL’s handling of the case said nobody at the league saw or had possession of the second elevator tape, though it acknowledged the league could have done more in its original investigation.