Ravens running back Ray Rice met with the media for the first time since the NFL suspended him two games for a physical altercation he had with his now-wife, Janay Palmer, earlier this year. The punishment has been widely criticized as too lenient, although the league deemed the suspension "appropriate."
"We've taken the necessary steps to move forward," Rice said, adding that he's now in counseling.
"My job is to lead my family, my wife, lead in whatever I do. ... If you go biblically, a husband is the head of the household ... if I'm not being an example my family crumbles."
Rice called the altercation with his wife "my lowest low—I made a huge mistake."
"I want to own (what I did)," he said. "These two games are going to hurt because when I didn't have nothing growing up, all I had was football. ... I appreciate (my teammates') support, and the fans of Baltimore who gave me that ovation. ...
"I want to (tell kids) please don't make the mistake I did. ... I was truly living a nightmare. ... I just want to apologize once again to anybody who has been involved in any type of violence."
Rice said that he plans to again be active in the community "when the time is right."
"I will go out there and help as many people as I can—myself and my wife."
Not surprisingly, Rice's first question from the media was about the details of what happened in that hotel elevator between Rice and Palmer.
"I owned my actions but I don't want to keep relieving the incident," Rice responded. "I just want to move forward and when I relive it it doesn't bring any good to me. ... I don't condone any of my behavior ... what happened that night is something that should've never happened."
Rice said that he has "a lot of things to work on" and that "the last thing I want my daughter to do is regret me."
"I live with the pain of me and my wife having to explain (what happened) to my daughter. ... i know that a lot of people out there have lost respect—maybe not like me anymore—but you know what, that's my fault. I have to own that. The one thing I know about respect is that you have to earn it. ... Everybody knows that if you take a deep thought into this that this is not the guy I'm capable of being.
"The one thing I know I can control is being a better father," he continued, "a better husband, a better role model, a better person each day."
Rice was asked if the NFL's two-game suspension was a fair punishment.
"I don't have any control over what the punishment was," he said. "I'm being punished on a day-to-day basis. No football games or money was going to determine what I have to live with the rest of my life. ... I never planned on appealing the punishment ... all I do know is that we went through the whole legal process, the commissioner process and whatever was decided was out of my control."
There was a report over the weekend that Palmer made a case to Goodell to lessen Rice's punishment. The running back was asked about that too.
"You have to wait for the legal system do its thing ... then it was time to meet with Roger Goodell," Rice said. "I think he has everything the court system has. (Palmer) went with me to support me. She didn't go to ask for any favors (from the commissioner). I don't think there was anything special said."
Rice was asked if he's prepared for the criticism he'll face from opposing fans once the season begins.
"I'm prepared for the worst but that's something I've brought upon myself," he said. "I have my teammates, my wife, my family, people close to me who will help me through this. ... I know that I love kids, that I love helping people, and that I will be an ambassador against domestic violence. ...
"That's who I'm doing to be as a person, that's who I'm going to be as a man. ... Domestic violence has no place in this world—especially man on woman—and I have to live with (that) the rest of my life."