Janay Rice, the wife of running back Ray Rice, said the Baltimore Ravens suggested that she apologize for her role in the incident in the wake of the arrest of her husband for an incident of domestic violence.
The Ravens denied that Wednesday, saying they never provided Janay Rice with a script -- as she said in a recent interview -- or advised her what to say when she sat beside her husband at an awkward news conference in May. The Ravens triggered a national outcry when they tweeted that Janay “deeply regrets the role she played” in the incident. She was knocked unconscious by her husband-to-be in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.
Kevin Byrne, Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations, issued the following statement Wednesday:
“There has been some discussion in the media about the Ravens providing a ‘script’ or ‘suggested script’ to Janay and Ray Rice prior to a May 23 press session. After conversations with Ray about what he wanted to say, we did provide talking points to Ray for this event. (Those talking points are attached. Preparing talking points and briefings for meetings with reporters is common in our business.) After Ray informed the Ravens that Janay wanted also to speak at the event, I asked Ray on two different days if Ray wanted me to speak with Janay in advance of the press session. Both times, Ray declined and said: ‘She’s good. She knows what she wants to say.’ At no time prior to the May 23 session did we provide talking points, a script or suggested script to Janay or speak with her about the press event. We did not recommend or suggest to Ray or Janay that she apologize in any way.
“We understand that the NFLPA also provided Ray talking points and that he repeatedly looked at these on his phone during the May 23 press event.”
That was in response to an interview with "The Today Show’s" Matt Lauer, in which Janay explained how the news conference unfolded:
Lauer: “And did anyone at the Ravens say, ‘Janay, it would be really good if you issue some kind of an apology?”
Janay Rice: “They suggested it, yes.”
Lauer: “Did they come up with the wording?”
Janay Rice: “No, not specifically. They basically gave us a general script.”
Lauer: “That really started it.”
Janay Rice: “And that was frustrating for me because obviously people took it as I’m taking light off of what Ray did. In no way. Not at all. I was basically, not doing what I was told, but at the same time I didn’t think it was completely wrong for me to apologize, because at the end of the day, I got arrested too. I did something wrong too. Not taking any light off what Ray did because I agree with everybody else, it was wrong.”
Lauer: “The Ravens tweeted out that portion of that statement, your apology, and then they quickly took it down, because I think they understood very fast the reaction to that apology. Do you think the reaction was warranted from people around the country.”
Janay Rice: “I completely understood it. Which was frustrating because the whole thing was just awkward, to be honest.”
Lauer: “But had it not been for the Ravens, urging you or suggesting you apologize, you would have never been at that press conference and you would have never apologized.”