Weeks after rumors began swirling that Today co-host Matt Lauer had landed the first interview with former Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, NBC has confirmed that Today will air its interview with the couple next week.
The interview will air in two parts on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 1 and 2, NBC announced on Friday, the same day that it was announced that Rice won his appeal, immediately vacating his suspension from the NFL.
The interview comes more than two months after a video emerged of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. Although Janay told her side of the story to ESPN’s Jemele Hill, with the sports network’s website posting her account of what happened that night online on Friday, the Today sit-down marks the NFL player’s first interview about the incident and the couple’s first account, together, of their story. ESPN also wasn’t allowed to use any audio of its interview, Hill explained, giving Today another exclusive in that sense.
Rice was cut from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL after TMZ posted the shocking video on Sept. 8. The incident has since led to questions about how much NFL and Ravens officials knew about what was shown on the video and when they knew this. As other teams have taken action against players charged with domestic violence, the NFL is currently working on revising its personal conduct policy.
Today also released a video clip from its interview, in which Janay tells Lauer that after Rice punched her, “I was furious … I just knew he hit me, and I was completely over it. I was done … I just didn’t even want to entertain it — any explanation. Of course, in the back of my mind and in my heart, I knew that our relationship wouldn’t be over because I know that this isn’t us, and it’s not him.”
Additional excerpts are set to be released on Sunday.
Joe and Candy Palmer, Janay’s parents, also join the couple for parts of the interview.
Watch a portion of the interview in the video below.