BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a week after his arrest for an alleged physical altercation with his fiancee, Ray Rice has yet to address the allegations. But now, one of the Ravens’ star players is coming to his defense.
Monique Griego has more from Torrey Smith.
Smith and his wife are very close with Rice and his fiancee. Tuesday, the wide receiver expressed support for both of them.
“It’s definitely a situation not to be proud of, for us or for him. He knows that,” Smith said. “But Janay and Ray are great friends of ours.”
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith is talking about the arrest of fellow player and good friend Ray Rice. It’s been more than a week since police arrested Rice and his fiancee Janay Palmer for simple domestic assault following an alleged physical altercation.
Tuesday at an event for his foundation, Smith pledged support for both.
“We’re going to support them like we have in the past. Who are we to judge them? We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what they’re building on,” he said.
Shortly after the incident, TMZ Sports released footage of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an Atlantic City casino elevator.
A court summons obtained by WJZ said Palmer went unconscious after Rice hit her.
According to Smith, the couple is trying to work through what happened.
“I’ve talked to him. They’re in a great space and trying to continue to grow from it. The fact that they’re moving on, trying to grow from it…we’re going to support them more than ever because a lot of people are going to turn their backs on them,” Smith said.
Rice and Palmer have yet to appear in court.
The NFL is currently investigating the incident under its code of conduct policy.
Meanwhile, Smith’s foundation focuses a lot on literacy. Smith says it takes more than athletic skills to become successful.
“Education is everything and I couldn’t be here if I was never a solid student in high school and even further into college,” he said.
To spread that message, the wide receiver transformed a simple room into a “reading oasis” at Dickey Hill Elementary. It’s all part of his foundation’s mission to enhance literacy at local schools.
“Our foundation tries to identify schools that could really use it and appreciate it,” he said.
The Ravens-themed room is stocked with books and will serve as a sort of sanctuary for students.
“I just think it will be great for us to come in here and clear our minds and be able to do something that we love to do,” said Samirah Brockington.
Smith showed a special group of honor roll students his softer side, while still driving home the message that even NFL football players have to finish school first.
“Not everyone can make it to the NFL and even now, the NFL doesn’t last very long and you have to have a backup plan,” he said.
For many of these kids, Smith’s story of success is just the inspiration they need.
“It motivates me and lets me know that you have to work hard for what you get. It tells me that he worked hard,” said student Paris Cain.
Smith also has an upcoming foundation event called the Battle of the Beltway, an all-star celebrity basketball game. Students from Dickey Hill who meet their literary goals will be given tickets.
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