Speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest for an alleged assault on his then-fiancee, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice apologized profusely to "everyone affected" by the incident.
With his now-wife, Janay, their two-year-old daughter and his mother all present, Rice addressed the media for seven minutes at the Ravens' team complex. He choked up on several occasions while delivering a heartfelt and unrehearsed speech in which he regretted the actions that led to his arrest at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. on Feb. 15.
"I know many of my supporters, sponsors, don't want to be in partnership with me. That's my fault," Rice said. "I take full responsibility for that. One thing I do know is that I'm working every day to be a better father, a better husband and just a better role model."
Rice was booked on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault following an apparent argument with Janay Palmer at the Revel. A surveillance video later released by TMZ.com showed the 27-year-old lifting a motionless Palmer out of an elevator and onto the floor, though there was no footage of any physical altercation between the two.
The Atlantic County (N.J.) prosecutor's office agreed to dismiss the case earlier this week, provided Rice completes a pretrial intervention program.
Rice and Palmer, who were married on March 28, began undergoing counseling immediately following the incident, which both acknowledged has helped their relationship.
"Everybody knows no relationship is perfect," Rice said. "But me and Janay, together, what counseling has done for us, we want the world to see that it definitely did help us out."
Janay Rice also admitted wrongdoing in what took place, which initially levied her a charge of simple assault that has since been dropped.
"I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night," she said. "But I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together and we are continuing to strengthen our relationship and our marriage, and do what we have to do for not only ourselves collectively, but us individually and working to be better parents for [their daughter] Rayven, and continue to be good role models for the community like we were doing before this."
Rice also turned to his wife at one point during the conference to thank her for supporting him during the difficult time.
"I just want to thank her for loving me when I was weak and building up where I was strong throughout this whole situation," he stated.
Rice still faces a possible suspension by the NFL if found to have violated the league's personal conduct policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to make a decision on the case.
The six-year pro had no previous off-field issues during his time with the Ravens prior to his arrest, and vowed to earn back the trust of those he felt he let down.
"One thing that I can say is that sometimes in life you will fail," he said. "Me and Janay wish we could take back 30 seconds of our life. I really treat my job as a very special job, and I failed miserably. But I wouldn't call myself a failure because I'm working my way back up.
"Hopefully I'll one day gain back everyone's trust to let you know we're still the same people and I'm still the same person."