NFL's Rice publicly apologizes for hitting wife

Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl running-back Ray Rice has said sorry to his wife, for hitting her.

Suspended by the National Football League without pay for the first two games of the 2014 season for the attack, he apologized to her on Thursday and vowed to speak out against domestic violence.

The NFL ordered the suspension last week,saying Rice had violated the league's conduct policy when he was arrested in February following a fight with his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.

He called her angel

"I am going to... be ambassador against domestic violence to make sure that someone doesn't have to go through... what me and my wife went through," Rice said in his first public remarks since the suspension.

He failed to apologize to his wife during his last emotional public appearance, which he called awkward.

"She's a great mother and a great wife," Rice said. "She can do no wrong. She's an angel."

Rice was also fined US$58,000 (S$72,422). Combined with the suspension, Rice's loss will total US$470,000 (S$586,866).

Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. Photo: AFP

"It hurts that I can't go out and play football," he said. "But it hurts more that I'm going to have to explain this to my daughter some day."

Police arrested Rice and Palmer on February 15 at Atlantic City's Revel Casino and Hotel. Surveillance recordings showed them hitting each other in the casino elevator and Rice knocking Palmer unconscious, police said.

The couple was married the day after a New Jersey grand jury indicted Rice in March. An assault charge against his wife was dropped.

Rice was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program in May, thus avoiding jail time.

Rice's case was at the center of a recent controversy after ESPN commentator Stephen Smith suggested that women who provoke men are to blame for domestic violence. Smith was suspended by the network for a week.

- Reuters