Ray Rice's wife lambasted the public and the media Tuesday morning, a day after her husband was cut from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL following the release of a video that appears to show the former Rutgers star punch her twice in the face in an Atlantic City elevator.
In an Instagram post, Janay Rice wrote that she felt like she awoke from a "horrible nightmare" and "I'm mourning the death of my closest friend," according to the Baltimore Sun.
"No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted options from the public has caused my family," her post continued. "To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE!"
Hours after his wife made the comments on Instagram, Rice told ESPN reporter Josina Anderson the couple is "in good spirits."
"I have to be strong for my wife. She is so strong," Rice told Anderson. "We have a lot of people praying for us and we'll continue to support each other."
The comments to ESPN were Rice's first since he was released by the Ravens, and come as an extended version of the surveillance video from the Revel Casino elevator Feb. 15 obtained by the Associated Press sheds more light on the altercation that ultimately got him cut from the team.
Also Tuesday, Nike Inc. announced it cut endorsement ties with Rice. EA Sports said it would take his image out of the Madden '15 video game on its @EAMaddenNFL official Twitter account.
Meanwhile, at Rutgers University, two large banners honoring Rice, among others who made it to the pros, were taken down from outside High Point Solutions Stadium. For many there, football is a point of pride, especially now that the school is in the Big Ten. But students said taking the signs down was the right thing to do.
"He went here, he's a big star, people look up to him so if you don't do anything about that what message does that send to everybody else?" said junior Alex Devra.
The alleged assault video, shown to the AP Monday night, includes audio and is longer than the grainy TMZ Sports video released earlier that day. After the TMZ video went viral, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely. Rice was originally suspended for two games and coaches and others had praised his behavior since the arrest for striking his then-fiancee in February.
The videos show Rice and Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Each hits the other before Rice knocks Palmer off her feet and into a railing. Months ago, a TMZ video showed Rice dragging Palmer, now his wife, from the elevator at the Revel casino, which closed on Sept. 2.
The higher-quality video shown to the AP shows Rice made no attempt to cover up the incident. After Palmer collapses, he drags her out of the elevator and is met by some hotel staff. One of them can be heard saying, "She's drunk, right?" And then, "No cops." But Rice didn't respond.
Coach John Harbaugh said he met with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome after they saw the TMZ video, and they made the decision to let Rice go.
"It's something we saw for the first time today, all of us," Harbaugh said. "It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different."
The action represented a complete reversal for the team, even though an Atlantic City police summons stated that Rice caused "bodily injury to Janay Palmer, specifically by striking her with his hand, rendering her unconscious."
The Ravens had used words like "respect" and "proud" in referring to Rice following his arrest.
When the NFL announced Rice's two-game suspension for domestic violence on July 24, Newsome said: "We respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.
Asked Monday night if Rice misled him, Harbaugh said he didn't want to get into "all that."
"I don't think of it that way. Everything I said in terms of what I believe, I stand by," he said. "I believe that still, and I'll always believe those things, and (we'll) always stand in support of them as a couple, and that's not going to change."
In a letter sent to the team's stakeholders Tuesday, owner Stephen J. Bisciotti admitted it was a "mistake" on the part of the organization in March to suspend its investigation into the alleged assault until court proceedings were over.
He continued: "We hope that Ray will continue to work to be the best husband, father and person he can be, and he will turn this awful situation into something positiv. We also have learned a great deal and will continue to strive to be an organization and team you and Baltimore will be proud of. I am sorry we let you down."
Ray Rice said in a news conference this summer that his actions that night were "inexcusable." But the Ravens never took action against him until after the second video was released.
The Ravens announced Tuesday that they would allow fans to trade in their Ray Rice jerseys at the M&T Bank Stadium this weekend.
The NFL, which has been working hard to promote the game to women, also took action after the explicit video was released. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that, based on the new video evidence, Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday morning. "That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today."
A spokesman for the New Jersey State Police, which runs security on casino floors but not in elevators, said it wasn't clear if the NFL had requested the video from them. If the NFL had made the request, Capt. Stephen Jones told NBC 4 New York, "the answer would have been, 'not our case.'"
"It wasn't ours, it never was ours, we never had the video," Jones said.
It wasn't immediately clear if the NFL reached out to Atlantic City police.
Rice's lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
Rice, 27, stood to make $4 million this year.
HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS: If you or someone you know may be affected by domestic violence, you can get help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or at 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), or by visiting its website at thehotline.org.