Sure, The Ravens Screwed Up. But It’s Time To Stop The Witch Hunt.

Sports and Bets — September 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm by

I’m sick of this story, but it’s everywhere ,and it’s all encompassing, and it won’t go away, so here we go again.  I’ve already written about this now  infamous elevator incident and its aftermath twice.  The first time was when the, “outside the elevator” video was released.  The second time was after the Ravens cut Rice. This third one will be my last.

Since Rice’s release, ESPN and other media outlets have been on a witch hunt, writing damning articles and looking for someone for the public to hang.  Roger Goodell has been in the hot seat, and over this past weekend, after the ESPN article came out accusing the Ravens of trying to cover the incident up, a loud and growing media contingent began clamoring for the head of Steve Bisciotti or some other Ravens’ employee.

Please, just stop.

The Ravens may have screwed up by not initially suspending Rice for a lengthy period of time, and they may have been insensitive and moronic in the aftermath of this incident, but they are not bad folks with bad intentions.  And after hearing Steve Bisciotti talk, I believe one thing to be true: The Ravens thought that what they were doing all along was in the best interest of their organization and in the best interest of the Rice family.

I think Steve Bisciotti gave us a glimpse of this thought process in his 47 minute press conference.  (He handled himself well and his refute of ESPN’s claims are believable.   I like Steve Bisciotti from a distance, just like most Baltimore fans do.)

bis in

Reading between all the lines from every source, it seems obvious to me that the Ravens wanted this incident gone from the get.  They wanted this thing to disappear quickly.  This should not surprise anyone, that’s public relations 101.  But they wanted to also help Rice and his family.  Sure, they screwed everything up from the beginning and they really looked bad and foolish and insensitive to domestic violence along the way, but they wanted this thing gone and they wanted the Rice’s (who got married) to be able to move on with their lives in peace.

The Ravens were misguided by a big business way of thinking and by their own stupidity and naivety about what had happened in that elevator.  Whether they saw Ray hit Janay or not, he should have been gone for at least eight games.  I still don’t understand how the second video changed anything.  Whether he punched her or slapped her, the result was the same.  Ms. Palmer had been knocked out.

They didn’t discipline Rice enough initially and now that he’s gone, they haven’t offered enough public support for Janay Rice in her darkest hour since the incident itself.  They have screwed up on many fronts.

But that doesn’t mean that the Ravens brass and ownership should all go down in flames for something that Ray Rice did.  The Ravens wanted to protect their brand while trying to help one of their players.  I think the Ravens viewed Rice as a good person who did a very bad thing.  They wanted to help his family while they simultaneously protected their name and their brand.  They wanted their cake and they wanted to eat it too.  But that mindset and their lack of due diligence (the lack of demanding the tape immendiately) blew up in their face.  Big time.

But now is not the time for more blood. (Even though the media is demanding it.)  Now is the time to fix all of this and get it right.  The NFL has historically brushed player off the field incidents under their big rug and moved on, but now a video has changed all of that.  Every NFL team has had a player commit some crime that has been forgotten about or P.R.’ed away.  But that won’t happen anymore.  The league will have to discipline its players heavily and often for arrests and misbehavior.  The spotlight on these players has become a microscope.  The league will have to admit that it has a problem with its players and violent crimes and they will have to take action.  There will have to be consequences and there will have to be league wide policies created to enforce these consequences.

And there will have to be help for these players and their most importantly, their victims.  Ray Rice did an awful and hideous thing.  But Ray Rice also needs help.

bis ray

Steelers cornerback, William Gay said it best:

“My mom passed away from domestic violence,” Gay said Monday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That was wrong of (Rice) but at the end of the day, we don’t need to run away from Ray Rice. He needs help. So we have to do everything we can do to help him. That just lets you know domestic violence is real. It’s real in the NFL … and we’re not immune to it. …

“(The video) was very disturbing. It’s painful to watch it. To see a woman get hit like that is just painful. You can’t watch it too many times. I just watched it once and couldn’t look at it anymore. …

Gay added: “Someone could have died, that’s all. That’s how I feel about the situation, so we need to do everything we can to help Ray Rice. Because we don’t need to run away from him and say he’s evil. It’s an issue, we need to deal with it and we need to help Ray Rice and his [wife] to be better from it.”

 

I think and believe that this is what the Ravens initially wanted for Rice to0- Help.  It’s a shame, to me, that they ultimately bowed to public pressure and let him and his family go.  It was their final miscue in this train wreck of events.

But now everyone has said their piece and it’s time to move on.

I hope the Ravens have learned from the this.  I hope it will make them an even better organization within our community.

I hope Ray Rice keeps learning from this.  I hope he never touches his wife, or any other woman, in anger again.

And most of all, I hope Janay Rice is safe and I hope she never has to feel what she has felt again.  I hope she can heal as best as one can heal from something like this.

It’s time for healing and positive change.  Not more media blood.

 

cover pic: cliprender.com

 

 

 

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