It's been over a year since NFL player Ray Rice was captured on video brutally beating his then-fiancée Janay Rice, and now the pro athlete is speaking out about his horrific actions.
During an interview with Outside the Lines on Tuesday, the former Baltimore Ravens running back, whose charges were dismissed in May, said (via ESPN), "I can understand some people probably never will forgive my actions. But I think that every step that I took going forward right now—over time, I want to be able to rewrite the script, to tell my daughter that daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward.
"To the survivors of domestic violence, I understand how real it is, and I don't want to ever take that for granted because this is a real issue in our society. My video put the light out there—if you have never seen what domestic violence looks like and you look at my video, I could understand why some people would never forgive me."
Rice, who calls himself a "rehabilitated man," continued to state, "We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that. Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak...I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video—that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I've ever made in my life."
At the time of the incident, Rice was admitted to the 12-month program for first-time offenders. This required him to stay out of legal trouble and attend counseling, and upon completion of the program, the charges stemming form his Feb. 15, 2014 arrest were dropped from his record.
Rice initially received only a 2-game suspension from the NFL, but after elevator footage of his assault was released to the public in September 2014, he was dropped by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL. In November 2014, however, Rice won his appeal and became eligible to play again. At this time, a team has yet to sign Rice and he remains a free agent.
"I understand why maybe a few teams or teams shy away from me," Rice said during the interview. "I understand that because it's a privilege. It truly is a privilege to play in the NFL. It's a privilege to play professional sports.
"I always preach one or two bad decisions, and your dream could become a nightmare. Well, I had to eat my own words. I truly lived a nightmare. There is no set in stone whether you're going to get a second chance or not. I have to set my hope and faith and everything else that I'm doing in my life, I'm just really hopeful for a second chance."
Janay, who married the athlete six weeks after the violent incident occurred, has been vocally supportive of Rice. She told Today's Matt Lauer that she was "furious" with Rice over the attack when it occurred, but that they had moved past the incident together. Her family is confident Rice will not hurt his wife again, with Janay's mother telling Today, "There is no next time, and we've already made that clear."
For more information on domestic abuse or to get help for yourself or someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233.