The second installment of Hamptons resident Matt Lauer‘s interview with former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Rice aired on NBC’s Today show on Tuesday morning. The Rices became one of the most coveted interviews in sports after the football star was caught on tape battering his wife into unconsciousness in an Atlantic City hotel elevator this February.
On Monday, Today aired Lauer’s interview with Janay Rice and her mother Candy Palmer. In it, Rice addressed her becoming the symbol for domestic violence issues in America, but she also defended her husband, noting that the assault was an isolated incident for which her husband is incredibly sorry.
In his portion of the interview, Ray Rice—who stood with his wife, her mother and father, Joe Palmer—appeared contrite and continued with the message that the attack was a solitary event, and he has not laid a hand on his wife before or since that night. “That was very uncharacteristic of myself,” Rice said, adding, “I take full responsibility.”
In response to Lauer’s assertion that people say his wife is in denial and has been diminished by the public, or that she only stays with him because he’s a football player with a big paycheck, Rice said, “I knew my wife before I had anything…She’s very independent, my wife would survive in this world without me.” Rice noted that he would never play football again if it made a better future for his wife.
The Rices also discussed the infamous press conference in the aftermath of his arrest, and Janay Rice’s apology and Ray Rice’s future prospects in professional football.
“Lauer asked, “What do you think it would take for another owner and another group of fans to put the images of that video behind and say, ‘We’ll take a chance on Ray Rice?'”
“They would have to be willing to, you know, look deeper into who I am and realize that me and my wife had one bad night, and I took full responsibility for it,” Rice responded, maintaining a theme that permeated the entire interview. “And one thing about my punishment and everything going along with anything that happened is that I’ve accepted it. I went fully forward with it. I never complained, or I never did anything like that. I took full responsibility for everything that I did, and the only thing I can hope for and wish for is a second chance.”
In comments after the interview, Lauer said it remains to be seen whether Rice will get another shot in the pros, be it this year or next.
Watch part two of Lauer’s compelling interview in its entirety below. CLICK HERE to watch part one.