Ravens PSL holder to Bisciotti: Apology accepted [Letter]

September 12, 2014

I appreciate Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti's thorough and sincere explanation on behalf the Ravens with respect the treatment of Ray Rice ("Steve Bisciotti writes that Ravens should have done more to investigate Ray Rice video," Sept. 10). The role of the league in both the investigation leading to the suspension ruling in July as well the reaction after the interior elevator video was released would typically fall outside an individual owner's explicit purview and as such the understated references with regard the NFL will have to speak for themselves. As a fan, I am held to no such obligation and would suggest that the NFL claims of ignorance with respect the likely contents of the interior elevator footage ring hollow. There is every appearance that a significant wave of negative public outcry following the July suspension announcement brought the NFL league office to hastily propose a policy on domestic violence and to readily seize the opportunity presented by the release of the video earlier this week to revise its determination in the Rice case.

To the Ravens I pose this question. When viewing the external elevator footage early this year, we see a man dragging an obviously unconscious woman from an elevator. Taken in conjunction with Mr. Rice acknowledging, "I hit my wife", what did you think happened?

The team's apology resonates as sincere, yet with the benefit of hindsight appears to partially miss the mark. The moment to act on an initiative to bring awareness to intimate partner violence was in March, not as part of the NFL's back pedaling campaign in late August. The Ravens did not necessarily fail in "fact-finding," there was always a strong likelihood that Mr. Rice had quite literally knocked his wife unconscious. Despicable. Nothing has changed in September outside the release of an Internet video. What we presumed in April with no objection from Mr. or Mrs. Rice has been further demonstrated.

For most football fans the NFL as an organization appears to represent little more than the collective self interest of a commercial gang. Alternatively, the individual teams are something much more, the face of the game and the character of a city. While the fate of Mr. Rice may have been a "fait accompli" the morning of September 8th, the announcement via tweet of the Ravens determination was necessarily short and decidedly chilling. To be clear, Mr. Rice's vicissitudes are not my concern, rather the Ravens' reversal through enticement, a thousand hours of consideration dispelled by a visceral reaction. This is family, yet dare I say, a dishonorable act.

The Ravens grievously erred in their treatment of Mr. Rice in March; a professional football player knocking out his partner should be treated as far more serious than drinking in night clubs or taking Adderall.

Apology accepted.

Bob Herr

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