Ray Rice in 'Good Spirits' and 'Staying Strong for My Wife'

Ray Rice's wife defends "the man I love."

ByABC News
September 9, 2014, 1:51 PM

— -- Disgraced running back Ray Rice said today that he was in "good spirits" and trying to be "strong for my wife" despite being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League over a video showing him punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

Rice spoke with ESPN's Josina Anderson hours after his wife, Janay Rice, put out a statement on Instagram defending her husband as "the man I love."

Rice and his lawyers had made no public statements since TMZ.com posted a video Monday from inside the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City showing the couple in the elevator, a scene that ended with Janay Rice slumping to the floor after he punched her in the head.

"I have to be strong for my wife. She is so strong... We are in good spirits," Ray Rice told ESPN. "We have a lot of people praying for us and we'll continue to support each other."

"I have to be there for (Janay) and my family right now and work through this," he said.

Rice handed the phone to his wife who added, "I love my husband. I support him. I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter."

Ray Rice Apologizes Again, Says 'Wife Can Do No Wrong'

The NFL's Domestic Violence Problem

Fans Trade Ray Rice Jerseys for Pizza, Bar Tabs

Earlier today, Janay Rice forcefully defended her husband.

"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend," she wrote.

She called the attention to their Feb. 15 fight in the Revel Casino Hotel "unwanted."

"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 a.. off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE!" she wrote.

The new video surfaced as the NFL defended itself today against allegations that it did not try to obtain the video of the punch from the Revel Casino Hotel.

Janay Rice, 26, said the stories about their fight and the ban on Rice, 27, playing NFL football left them hurt, embarrassed, alone and took "all happiness away."

"Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!" she wrote.

PHOTO: A statement posted to Janay Rice's Instagram account on Sept. 9, 2014 says, "To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing."
A statement posted to Janay Rice's Instagram account on Sept. 9, 2014 says, "To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing."

Rice's wife came to his defense as reports emerged of a longer and more detailed video of the elevator scene.

The longer video – reportedly shown to the Associated Press by a law enforcement official – reportedly shows Rice and Janay Palmer shouting obscenities at each other before the confrontation became violent. (Palmer later married Rice and changed her name to Janay Rice.)

At one point it appeared that Janay Rice spit in the face of the three-time Pro Bowl running back before he throws the punch that left the woman sprawled unconscious on the elevator floor. That video includes audio and shows a clearer picture than the grainy TMZ Sports video that was released Monday, according to the AP.

TMZ reported today that the NFL did not ask the hotel for the video. The Revel declined to comment on whether the league had asked for the video, but said it had given it to the police, prosecutors and Rice's attorney.

The NFL responded today saying, "Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police. ny videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us."

Rice and Palmer married following the incident.

Rice entered a pre-trial intervention program after being charged with aggravated assault and he publicly apologized for striking Palmer.

Revel Hotel Casino, where the incident occurred, closed Sept. 2.