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.