Steve Bisciotti on Ray Rice: We have a tendency to hear what we want to hear

Steve Bisciotti

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, while guilty of hypocrisy and carelessness like everyone else who is directly tied to the Ray Rice situation, has done a better job of handling his side of the public relations nightmare than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. On Wednesday, Bisciotti basically admitted that he had blinders on when he first learned about the domestic assault incident.

“We have a tendency to hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see and so the misdemeanor, the explanation that he hit her with an open hand, the facts that she was aggressive — I was picturing her wailing on him and him smacking her, and maybe her head was this far from the wall, and with her inebriation, dropped,” Bisciotti told WBAL-TV’s Jayne Miller. “So why did I conclude all of that? Because I wanted to, because I loved him, because he had a stellar record and the cops had already seen video. So I assumed it wasn’t a forceful blow that moved her head 3 feet into that wall. That’s what I regret.”

As we said before, Bisciotti didn’t see the video because he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to believe it, which is true for almost everyone who mishandled this case but most of them won’t admit it. Goodell has been asked several times how he believes Palmer came to be unconscious with Rice dragging her out of the elevator and has avoided the question. At least Bisciotti addressed that.

“The way it was described to us was that he had hit her with an open hand and that she had hit her head,” the Ravens owner added. “We already knew that she had told the police that they had consumed an enormous amount of alcohol, like two bottles of hard liquor between four of them.”

Bisciotti also sent a letter to Ravens season ticket holders earlier this week outlining specific steps of actions the team took or should have taken. He included several dates and details.

“The decision to let Ray Rice go was unanimous,” the letter said. “Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.”

Again, Bisciotti is as much to blame as anyone else who failed to uncover what actually happened and stopped investigating. But at least there is some level of accountability in the things he has said and written. From a PR standpoint, his approach was much better than Goodell’s.

Paul George defends Ray Rice, says Janay Palmer hit him first

Ray Rice RavensEveryone is entitled to their own opinion, but professional athletes should have enough common sense to know that if they have an opinion supporting Ray Rice it needs to be kept quiet. Indiana Pacers star Paul George didn’t seem too worried about that when he reminded his Twitter followers on Thursday that Janay Palmer hit Rice first.

While George made sure to specify that he doesn’t condone hitting a woman, he made it clear that he believes Rice should not be suspended indefinitely because, in George’s opinion, the former Baltimore Ravens running back was provoked.

Naturally, George has already deleted the tweets and issued an apology.

First of all, we have no idea what happened leading up to the elevator incident. You can’t conclude that Palmer attacked Rice from the footage that has been shown, because we don’t know when the confrontation started. We do know that Rice spat on his now-wife twice before he punched her and rendered her unconscious.

But let’s say Palmer did attack Rice. Does what he did constitute defending yourself? Of course not. He’s an NFL player. He could have easily restrained Palmer without clubbing her in the head. George certainly isn’t the only person who feels Rice was provoked, but he should have kept his opinion to himself.

NFL’s ‘independent’ Ray Rice investigation being overseen by two NFL owners

Roger Goodell

The NFL announced on Wednesday night that they will have an independent investigation into the way the league handled the Ray Rice situation.

Despite championing the investigation as an “independent” pursuit, two NFL owners will oversee it: John Mara and Art Rooney.

Keep in mind that earlier on Wednesday, Mara, owner of the New York Giants, said the “notion that the Commissioner‘s job is now in jeopardy” is “misguided.”

Great. Sounds like he’s not at all biased here.

Now that we have that cleared up, here’s the NFL’s statement.

“Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct an independent investigation into the NFL’s pursuit and handling of evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tonight. Director Mueller’s investigation will be overseen by NFL owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the final report will be made public. Mara and Rooney are both attorneys. Commissioner Goodell pledged that Director Mueller will have the full cooperation of NFL personnel and access to all NFL records. Mueller served as director of the FBI for 12 years (2001-2013) under two presidents. He is currently a partner in the law firm of WilmerHale and is based in Washington, DC.”

Ray Rice spit on Janay Palmer twice, told security she was drunk

Ray Rice fiancee elevatorRay Rice spit on wife Janay Palmer twice before knocking her out inside the elevator, and then he told security she was passed out from being drunk, according to a report.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines spoke with multiple employees who worked as security at the Revel hotel in Atlantic City the night Rice and Palmer were arrested for their fight.

According to the report, security members who viewed the video multiple times say Rice spat on Palmer twice — once before they entered the elevator and another time once inside the elevator. The first spit caused Palmer to turn around and slap him with her left hand. The second spit caused her to lunge at him in retaliation. That resulted in Rice knocking her out.

“The first thing he [Rice] said is, ‘She’s intoxicated. She drank too much. I’m just trying to get her to the room,'” a staff member at the Revel hotel told Outside the Lines.

They also delivered this bombshell, which makes it seem like it wasn’t that easy for Janay to go back to Ray immediately.

“When she regained consciousness she said, ‘How could you do this to me? I’m the mother of your kid,'” the same staff member told ESPN.

Outside the Lines also says that the video released by TMZ Sports was recorded on someone’s cell phone, which could explain why it’s somewhat choppy. The video security got to see was much more clear.

Ravens knew what was on Ray Rice tape, chose not to view it

Steve Bisciotti

The Baltimore Ravens’ decision to cut Ray Rice on Monday after video of the running back knocking out his wife emerged seems indisputably like a reactionary move to public outcry rather than an indication of their true feelings.

According to ABC, the Ravens knew the tape existed and what was on it almost immediately after the incident took place in February. They were even told to contact Rice’s lawyer to see it, but they chose not to.

From ABC News’ report:

But two sources briefed on the incident and behind-the-scenes discussions regarding the tape told ABC News that the Ravens knew that the tape existed and knew what was on the tape almost immediately after the incident.
The Ravens team also asked the hotel for the full video, but were told by the Revel they couldn’t give it out to anyone except someone who was a party to what’s on the tape or to law enforcement, the sources said. But Revel officials told the team that Rice’s attorney had a copy and the Ravens should ask the lawyer for the tape, the sources told ABC News.

The Ravens did not ask Rice or his lawyer for a copy of the video. Instead, the Ravens and the NFL asked law enforcement for the video which declined to give it up.

What does this sound like to you? Exactly what TMZ said — the NFL and team did not want to know what was on the tape (or have the public find out) because they wanted to bury the issue.

The Ravens have a major interest in having Rice available to play for them. He’s a good player and used to be a game-changer. A light, two-game suspension for him is in their best interest as a team. A lengthier suspension reflecting the severity of his crime would have been bad for them. It actually makes plenty of sense why they wouldn’t want to know what was on it. To now turn around and feign that they were horrified by what was on the tape is a joke and poor excuse that you should not accept.

NFL was sent Ray Rice tape in April and employee watched it

Roger Goodell

The NFL has been caught lying by a law enforcement source, and the latest development will likely be enough to cost Commissioner Roger Goodell his job.

The Associated Press confirmed that a law enforcement source sent video of Ray Rice punching his wife inside an elevator to the NFL in April. This conflicts with the league’s insistence that the video was not made available to them and that nobody in the league office had seen it.

The AP says the source sent the league the video because he wanted them to have it before deciding on Ray Rice’s punishment. The AP reports the source played them a 12-second voicemail indicating a female at the league’s office received the video and watched it.

“You’re right. It’s terrible,” the female voice says in the voicemail, according to the AP.

In an interview with CBS News, Goodell said they asked law enforcement for the video but never received it.

“We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity,” Goodell said.

Goodell also insisted that to his knowledge, nobody in the league office had seen the video. He obviously was wrong.

Here is the NFL’s response to the report.

“We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.”

We have been saying all along that the NFL was lying about whether they had seen the video. We told you there was mounting evidence pointing to an NFL cover-up. We told you Roger Goodell was lying in his interview with CBS News. We were right.

Let this be another lesson that the cover-up is always worse than the crime.

Legends Football League invites Ray Rice to ‘get his ass handed to him’

carmen-bourseauWith Ray Rice suspended indefinitely by the NFL, it’s highly unlikely we will see him suiting up for another team in the league anytime soon. The chances of Rice in the Legends Football League (formerly Lingerie Football League) is even smaller, but that didn’t stop the ladies from sending a message to the former Ravens running back.

Los Angeles Temptation running back Carmen Bourseau threw down the gauntlet and challenged Rice to play one down so he can get his ass handed to him by one of their female athletes. She then closed by calling Rice a “f***ing coward.”

From a league full of women, it’s hardly surprising to see them take such a stance on Rice’s situation, even if publicity is also a factor. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few women around the country who feel the same as Carmen and the Legends Football League.