NEW YORK (AP) — Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice says he’s not speaking out against domestic violence as a way to rejoin the NFL.
Appearing Tuesday in a “CBS This Morning” interview with his wife, Janay, Rice said he sees similarities with himself after a video showed Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman at a hotel last month. Hunt was released by the Chiefs.
“Well, obviously, you know, you look back and you see the similarities,” Rice said. “Early on you could feel like ‘Why they keep bringing my name up?’ You can make excuses or you can actually do the hard work.”
The 31-year-old was dropped from the Ravens after he was captured on videos punching, kicking and dragging his then-fiancee from an elevator in 2014. The punch knocked her unconscious.
“I hate that person. I hate him. Somewhere down the line everybody who’s saying, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other — I actually got my second chance,” Rice said, when the couple married weeks later.
Janay Rice said she had no idea she was in an abusive relationship until she was forced to think about it. She said she has never seen the video in which Rice punched her. She said it was the first and only time he physically abused her.
“I was there. I lived it. I don’t really need to relive it over and over again just to appease the world,” she said.
She added: “I knew that we had work to do, and I was willing to move forward and put in the work.”
The couple has sought counseling, and Rice says it gave him time to reflect.
“One of the underlying issues for me was — I never wanted to ask for help. Football, for me, was my counseling. It was my therapy. It was my psychologist. It was everything,” he said.
Rice says he realized his mother had gone through a bad relationship and he was “normalizing abnormal things.”
“We didn’t have a physical abuse problem. But I can say there were different forms of abuse that took place. Was it emotional? Financial? You get to the physical, and that’s obviously, like, if it’s one time, it’s still one time too many,” he said.
Rice denies he’s looking to get back on the field.
“Well, see that for me, is something that I understand why it was being said early on about, you know, is this a ploy to get back into football. And I’ll be the first one to say it, I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football. The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most,” he said.
Rice said he “didn’t deserve another chance” to play football. He’s shared his story as part of the NFL’s domestic violence education program.
“I know they are working with groups to try to get more of an understanding. And they’re doing the work,” he said.