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Sportress of Blogitude

Ray Rice issues statement, thanks city of Baltimore, Ravens organization

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It’s an ugly event in his life that Ray Rice would rather soon forget, but Sunday, Feb. 15 will mark the one-year anniversary of the incident that not only derailed the former Baltimore Ravens’ pro football career but later culminated in a public relations disaster that served as an utter embarrassment to the NFL due to its egregious mishandling of the case, casting a dark cloud over the entire 2014 season.

Perhaps in an attempt to get out ahead of the possibility of media outlets acknowledging how it has been one year since the incident occurred, Rice issued a statement on Friday to The Baltimore Sun, in which he both apologizes for his conduct and thanks the city of Baltimore and the Ravens organization.

Sources indicate that Rice intends to leave Maryland and move to his home state of New York. His statement reads as follows:

Dear Baltimore,

This is not a farewell or goodbye. 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. 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. Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I. I’m very grateful to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and everyone at 1 Winning Drive. I love you all very much, and I’ll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens.

Thank you.

— Ray Rice

On Feb. 15, 2014, Rice was involved in an altercation in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino with then-fiancée, Janay, who is now his wife. Footage released shortly after the incident occurred showed Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. Both parties were charged with simple assault with Rice later being indicted on a more severe charge, felony aggravated assault, on March 27. Prosecutors agreed to accept Rice into a pretrial diversion program and the criminal case was resolved without him serving any jail time.

Rice originally was given a two-game suspension by the NFL but was later suspended indefinitely by the league after additional damning footage emerged in early September showing the running back violently striking his then-fiancée in the elevator. The Ravens also terminated Rice’s contract following the dissemination of the disturbing video.

Amid the backdrop of damning details and allegations emerging seemingly on a weekly basis as the NFL came under fire over how it handled the case, Rice appealed the indefinite suspension and in November, a neutral arbitrator reinstated Rice, making him eligible to return to the field.

Rice is currently a free agent and as he attempts to rehabilitate his image, retains the hope that an NFL team will give him another opportunity in the league.

(photo credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)