As you’ve probably read by now, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” made a number of (unsurprising) claims last night regarding the Baltimore Ravens’ knowledge of exactly-what-happened it that Atlantic City hotel elevator between former RB Ray Rice and his fiancee-at-the-time, Janay. Between the club being told details about the incriminating video, Rice’s confession to Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bischotti’s “wait ’til all this blows over” tweet to Rice, a picture has been painted of a franchise far more concerned with self-preservation than the truth. If nothing else, the Ravens’ charmed life with Charm City’s Fourth Estate has come to a sputtering halt, with the Baltimore Sun’s Dave Zurawik declaring, “the narrative of the ESPN investigation, which says that Bisciotti, club president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome drove that cover-up, is decidedly at odds with the version of events that much of the Baltimore media has embraced once it was shaken out of it years-long ‘In Ozzie We Trust,’ Stepford-Wives-like stupor in covering the team.”
The narrative now being peddled by some in Baltimore media is that it’s all the fault of Goodell and the NFL — they are the evil parties. Of course, the Ravens wanted to help out Ray; that’s because Steve, Dick and Ozzie are good, decent and loyal guys. So, let’s focus our hate on Goodell. That way we can acknowledge that something bad happened in that elevator but not be made to feel unwelcome at the Castle.
The other revelation in the ESPN probe – and I have no way yet of knowing if it is true – is that Coach John Harbaugh wanted to get rid of Rice in February right after TMZ posted the first video. But, the report claims, Harbaugh was overruled by his bosses, the three guys allegedly driving the cover-up.
If that proves to be true, I will have a new and profound respect for Harbaugh. And I will have new contempt for Bisciotti, who sent Harbaugh out alone the night the video was posted to face the firestorm of press coverage it ignited. (Bisciotti subsequently said the day was “so emotionally tough” on him “there was no way” he could have prepared to meet the press that night.)