The Baltimore Ravens have long maintained that they did not have access to the terrifying video of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee in the face while on an a casino elevator in February until it was made public in September thanks to TMZ Sports.
However, an ESPN report from Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg published on Friday makes clear the Ravens have not been truthful in that respect and attempted to cover-up Rice’s transgressions.
In fact, Natta Jr. and Van Valkenburgh write that the Ravens, its owner Steve Bisciotti and president Dick Cass were aware of the contents of the video and had access to it not long after that fateful February night.
Bisciotti and Cass contend that, after the elevator doors closed that morning, they did not have a full picture of what happened until September. “It was our understanding based on Ray’s account that in the course of a physical altercation between the two of them he slapped Janay with an open hand, and that she hit her head against the elevator rail or wall as she fell to the ground,” the Ravens said in a statement Friday afternoon. But sources both affiliated and unaffiliated with the team tell “Outside the Lines” a different story: The Ravens’ head of security, Sanders, heard a detailed description of the inside-elevator scene within hours and shared it with Ravens officials in Baltimore.
within hours of the elevator attack, an employee of the Ravens was describing the inside-elevator video to friends in graphic detail, telling confidants that Rice knocked out his then-fiancée with a punch and that the video was “really bad,” according to a source close to a Ravens official.
The Ravens knew what Rice did. Not only did they lie about their knowledge of it, but they also recommended to commissioner Roger Goodell that the NFL suspend their running back just two games for this dispute in July, according to the new report.
Natta Jr. and Van Valkenburgh give an explanation for why the Ravens would do such a thing: Rice meant a lot to the team, Bisciotti and the community.
Still, those excuses falls way short. The Ravens showed a complete lack of compassion with the victim, Rice’s then-fiancee, and a lack of understanding of the severity of domestic violence.
And going away from the obvious immortality of the Ravens’ actions, how on earth did they think they could pull off a cover-up of this magnitude?
It’s 2014, where video like that is bound to get out. This incident took place in a casino where there are cameras absolutely everywhere. For some unfathomable reason, the Ravens thought that a video of an NFL star knocking out his then-fiancee could be kept under wraps.
Now, the Ravens look absolutely terrible. People will get fired. They tried to brush off a horrible domestic violence dispute and did so in a method bound to fail.
The Ravens’ reputation took an irrevocable hit on Friday and they only have themselves to blame.