Janay Rice, who was knocked unconscious by her then-fiance Ray Rice in February, appeared on the Today show to issue a public statement that Rice, now her husband, had never abused her before the February incident and has not abused her since.
She told interviewer Matt Lauer, “There’s no way. He knows what he would have to deal with. I’m not going to sit there in silence and let something happen to me and, God forbid, in front of my child.”
She stated that although she has never seen the video of Rice knocking her unconscious, “He was in such shock that this had just happened that he didn’t know how to function at this point,” adding it was a “mistake.” She concluded, “People forget we’re human. Everybody makes mistakes. After this whole situation, you would think we lived in a country full of people who never made a mistake.”
Janay Rice asserted that her apology for her part in the incident, which she gave at a news conference with her husband in May, was derived from what the Baltimore Ravens wanted her to say. She had said, “I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night.” She defended her apology to Lauer, saying, “I don’t think I was completely wrong to apologize. At the end of the day, I was arrested, too.”
But Mrs. Rice defiantly asserted that the NFL lied when they said Ray Rice had not accurately described the incident when he was confronted with the information. When Lauer asked, “And you think the league and the commissioner covered their butts?” she responded. “I think they did what they had to do for themselves.” She said her husband’s testimony has been “consistent with everything that he’s been saying since February.”
Janay Rice’s defense of her husband followed Rice’s reinstatement to the N.F.L. by Barbara S. Jones, a former federal judge acting as an arbitrator. Jones threw out Commissioner Roger Goodell’s indefinite suspension of the running back, which was prompted by the release of the video. After the incident was first revealed, Goodell had initially ordered a two-game suspension.
When Lauer confronted her with her own post on her Instagram account just after the video went public, in which she said the way the public reacted was “a horrible nightmare,” Rice admitted, “I was so angry and hurt.” Yet Rice assumes fans will forgive and forget what her husband did; she told Lauer: “We know it’s going to take some work. So I think once he shows them who he is and they reach out to people here, and they find out the things that he’s done, then I think it’s definitely good…. At the end of the day, he’s a football player and that’s what they should be really be focused on, because he’s proven himself as a football player for seven years. There’s never been a question on what he can do on the field.”