The situation on the ESPN.com story on Ray Rice has been quite a situation for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are responding to the situation by having owner Steve Bisciotti hold a press conference to address the situation and he deserves to be heard out.
However, unlike TL’s “ESPN on a Ravens Witch-hunt” piece, I tend to believe the ESPN.com story more than I do not. Here’s why: check the sources. The writer of the piece, OK, co-writer of the piece is former Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Van Valkenberg. He is a guy who made a living trailing Michael Phelps around and getting scoops on the swimmer no one else could.
He also has a huge electronic Rolodex of names, numbers, sources and more sources that vary from the janitor of a building to the owner of a building and the owner of the organization of the company that leases space in the building.
The ESPN.com story was accurate it seems because of the checking of sources. If you follow what occurred, KVV and his co-writer Don Van Natta Jr, sourced 20 different people inside and outside of the Ravens organization and Ray Rice. Most did not want to go on the record, which is the normal procedure when you are protecting your sources because they are worried about losing their jobs for talking. One of the few who did — Ray Rice’s trainer in Timonium– gave what seemed to be very honest viewpoints on how Ray reacted.
The story made it clear that Ray felt very bad about what happened. While I told The Baltimore Sun this week in a piece by Jean Mirabella that the actions of Ray Rice were “horrifying” as seen in the video, that doesn’t change the fact that he felt remorse. In spite of the press conference that he held initially, in which his lawyer surely advised Rice to talk very little about the facts of the case itself as much of the case was still being worked out, everything I have seen suggests that at least Rice felt bad about what happened and wanted to admit his wrongdoing.
In fact, the OTL piece even quotes GM Ozzie Newsome as saying in published reports that Ray Rice was truthful in what he told the Ravens, or as Newsome put it he “never lied to me.”
There is no middle ground. Either the Ravens – other than Newsome – are coloring the truth of what they were told – or refused to believe the seriousness of what they were told, or they are not being truthful, or Rice lied to them.
I tend to believe they are coloring the truth. It serves their interest to do so in that they were hoping the video would never surface – as the OTL piece suggests – as to what happened inside the elevator.
The fact that — as the Ravens later admitted – owner Bisciotti sent text messages to Rice suggesting he could be a part of something down the road, is not necessarily a bribe at all. I do believe the Ravens felt Rice was a part of their family and they I am sure felt bad about the need to cut him.
However, Rice apparently took what was said as a bribe. This may be part of the “misunderstandings” the Ravens claim may have occurred in the Outside The Lines piece. But the majority of it does not seem like a misunderstanding.
I think it happened just as they say: Roger Goodell heard out Bisciotti and agreed to consider leniency as a favor. He met with Rice and Palmer who — like many women who are victims of domestic violence – and asked for leniency.
In criminal court, where in another life I am a defense attorney in Maryland, you only get to use what is called the “spousal privilege” one time, and that is usually used for these types of domestic violence cases. The wife refuses to testify against the husband.
Though Rice and Palmer were not married at the time, the plea for leniency is akin to what many victims seek – for their husband not to go to jail for what happened. (And yes there are instances of female on male domestic violence but the occurrences are far fewer in scope).
As to Harbaugh wanting to cut Rice, he never denied those feelings. If you read into his comments, he said that when the team makes decisions they do it together. So he could have wanted to cut Rice, then ultimately been persuaded to try a different approach. So I believe OTL here. I think Harbaugh did want to cut Rice.
The story that was written was sourced and most importantly it made sense. I understand TL wanting to give the Ravens a chance to be heard.
But I think OTL got more of the story right than wrong.