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Ray Rice's apology doesn't change anything

Ray Rice finally apologized for assaulting his wife in February, but his words do nothing to change what happened or the NFL and the Ravens' embarrassing handling of it.

Rob Carr

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice finally did what the world wanted him to do and offered a contrite, sincere apology for assaulting his wife. He did it Thursday morning at training camp, almost six moths after the fact.

This wasn't quite the public relations spectacle/debacle as Rice's last press conference, the one where his wife did the apologizing. This time he was more prepared, more consistent with the kind of statement he should have offered months ago. But like everything related to Rice dragging his unconscious then-fiancee out of an Atlantic City elevator by her hair, Thursday's press conference still had a hitch that makes Rice's words hard to swallow.

First, the stuff he should have said a long time ago, before the whole thing turned into an icky PR cover up:

"Last time, I didn't publicly apologize to my wife. I understand that hit home with a lot of people.

"Her pain is my pain ...

"I let so many people down ... I needed help. I'm not afraid to ask for help.

"I made a huge mistake and I want to own it. These two games are gonna hurt."

Ok. There are a lot of words associated with physical pain in there that might have been best avoided given the situation, but the general sentiment is there at least.

Rice added this:

This is the same Ray Rice who raised by a single mother. I'm not blasting Rice for his religious beliefs here, and this did come in the context of being a role model as well.

What is at issue is that he's holding onto this idea that a woman, a spouse, is subordinate to the husband. The problem with his statement is that it's the same line of thinking that's used by others who perpetuate domestic violence against their spouses or children.

It's just the wrong thing to say in the context of the incident itself and the long string of public relations disaster that followed, from the first bogus press conference where his wife apologized for Rice beating her up to the NFL's ham-fisted handling of it all.

None of this should excuse Rice, the Ravens or the NFL for how this whole thing has been handled. The Shield felt that a two-game suspension for Rice was punishment enough for a heinous act. Rice was supposedly contrite when he and his wife Janay went to meet with Goodell, but he's being punished for the act itself, not his promise of never doing it again. And don't forget that Rice's wife had to explain her side of the story in front of Goodell, NFL execs, the Ravens coach and GM, and her attacker.

Whether you buy Rice's late apology or not, it does nothing to wipe the stain off of the league for its poor handling of this incident. It certainly doesn't do anything to counter sexism in professional sports.