Ray Rice texts CNN: 'I'm just holding strong for my wife and kid'
An Instagram post from Janay Rice blames media and defends "man I love"
Video emerged showing NFL star Rice punching her out and dragging her from elevator
After the video was released, he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL
Janay Rice, wife of suspended NFL player Ray Rice, slammed the media Tuesday but stood by her husband.
A day after his team fired him and the league suspended him for knocking her out during a fight, the football player’s wife called the situation a nightmare.
“To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific (sic).”
The Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice on Monday after a video surfaced showing him punching his then-fiancee and dragging her limp body out of an Atlantic City casino elevator.
He was originally suspended for two games over the February fight, a punishment that many considered too lenient.
Rice was just weeks away from returning to the gridiron when the new video surfaced, spurring swift responses from the Ravens and the NFL that sent his professional football career grinding to halt.
On Tuesday, his wife said she now feels like she’s mourning the death of her closest friend.
“No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family,” she wrote.
But she said her family will “continue to grow & show the world what real love is.”
“THIS IS OUR LIFE!” she wrote. “What don’t you all get.”
Later Tuesday, Janay Rice defended her husband to ESPN.
“I love my husband. I support him,” Janay Rice said, according to the network. “I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter.”
In response to texts sent to him on Tuesday, Ray Rice texted CNN sports journalist Rachel Nichols: “I’m just holding strong for my wife and kid that’s all I can do right now.”
Criticism over NFL’s response
The video posted by TMZ this week shows the couple inside the casino elevator. He punches her. She lunges at him. He hits her again, and she falls to the floor.
In March, a grand jury indicted Ray Rice on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault, and a simple assault charge against Janay Rice was dropped. The couple were married the next day.
Ray Rice pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault and applied to a program for first-time offenders that could clear him of charges in as little as one year.
The Ravens had stood by him throughout the fallout. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is coming under intense criticism for the way he’s handled the case.
Both the league and the team changed their tune swiftly after the video was released.
To the disbelief of many, the NFL said it hadn’t seen the surveillance footage of inside the elevator until TMZ Sports published it.
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti apologized to fans Tuesday. He said the team had tried to get surveillance video from the casino, police and prosecutors, but all three refused and the team eventually decided to wait until court proceedings ended before pursuing with its investigation.
“Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously,” he said in a letter posted on the team’s website. “We didn’t and we were wrong.”
Goodell, in his first televised comments since suspending Rice, told CBS News that he came into the office Monday and was told about the new video.
The league “assumed that there was a video” of what occurred in the elevator and the NFL asked for it, he said, but league officials were “never granted that opportunity” to see it.
A new tape?
There’s no sound in the video posted by TMZ this week.
However, The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the news organization has viewed a longer, “higher-quality” video with audio given to it by an anonymous source that shows the couple yelling obscenities at each other in the elevator.
In the video AP viewed, she spits on him, and he punches her, the story said.
“Rice made no attempt to cover up the incident,” the AP reported.
After Janay Rice collapses, Ray Rice appears to pull her out of the elevator and is met by hotel staff, according to the AP.
One of the staffers can be heard saying, “She’s drunk, right?” and then, “No cops.”
Past comments on the case
In May, the couple spoke to reporters about the case in a press conference publicized by the team.
“I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night,” Janay Rice said.
“I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time,” she said.
Ray Rice said he was sorry to the Ravens owner, general manager and head coach.
“I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, everyone who’s affected by the situation me and my wife are in,” he said.
One person he didn’t apologize to that day? His wife.
At a press conference in July, Ray Rice said his actions were “inexcusable” and that the two were in counseling.
CNN’s Justin Lear, Gary Tuchman, Mariano Castillo and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.