ESPN: Ray Rice Scandal Was A Case Of "Misdirection" And "Scant Investigation"
Like me, you're probably tired of the media's flooded coverage of the Ray Rice scandal. If you're like me (again), you keep reading in a haphazard quest for understanding. Unfortunately, that may never happen. However, it seems that when you expect the worst, you get the worst. Everyone could guess what happened in that elevator -- it's just that the leaked video finally showed its raw and gruesome form. Thus, everyone could guess that the NFL didn't handle their investigation correctly. And it seems, they'd be right.
Kevin Van Valkenburg and Don Van Natta Jr. co-wrote a piece revealing all the details that we expected to be true. The Ravens reportedly knew what had happened -- like Ray Rice said -- and brushed it under the rug. In April, Ray Rice's lawyer Michael J. Diamondstein apparently saw the video from inside elevator that TMZ eventually released to the public. He said to Ravens' president Dick Cass, "It's f---ing horrible." Diamondstein said: "Ray knocked her the f--- out." Apparently that information was parlayed to the NFL office, too.
And no one asked for the tape -- not the NFL, not the Ravens.
The interviews, viewed together, paint a picture of a league and a franchise whose actions -- and inaction -- combined to conceal -- or ignore -- the graphic violence of Rice's assault. When evidence of it surfaced anyway, the NFL and the Ravens quickly shifted gears and simultaneously attempted to pin the blame on Rice and his alleged lack of truthfulness with Goodell about what had happened inside the elevator.
The only person that seemed to have a moral compass was Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who wanted to release Ray Rice, immediately following the incident in February. Naturally, that idea was rejected by Ravens' management.
Things get worse for Goodell and the NFL:
With his wife sitting by his side in a conference room, Rice told Goodell that he hit her and knocked her out, according to four sources
League officials tried to get it from law enforcement, but Goodell said it would be "illegal" to try to obtain it from the Revel casino, which legal experts later said was not true.
It was his job to know whether it was legal or not. So, he failed to do his job.
The pile of shit just kept growing. The story points toward the idea that Goodell has been lying on most interviews following the event.
The story painted a humanizing moment for Rice, where he was working out in a gym with a bunch of high school students, began crying and said:
I made a huge mistake. I hit my wife, and I'm so sorry. But I want to tell you, please don't focus on trying to be the kind of man I was. Focus on being a better man than I was.
Right as things exploded in the league's face, they dumped all of the blame on Ray Rice. Let's be honest, he hit his wife. He deserves plenty of blame and should receive no sympathy. But he doesn't deserve blame for the NFL and the Ravens' ignorance about and ineptitude during the investigation. And this article was quick to dole out blame on the NFL and Ravens' organization.
So, after the Ravens essentially accused Ray Rice of lying to their face Ravens' owner Steve Bisciotti sent these two text messages:
Hey Ray, just want to let you know, we loved you as a player, it was great having you here. Hopefully all these things are going to die down. I wish the best for you and Janay.
When you're done with football, I'd like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league.
What? Just... what?
Some around the web were curious about the report. Pro Football Talk called into question the timing of its publication:
@KVanValkenburg . . . It's a great story, but the timing of the publication was curious. I'm not the only one who thinks that.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 20, 2014
Oddly enough, this isn't enough to unseat Goodell from his job. Goodell has 44 million reasons to fight this to the end. He'll roll over and play dumb for as long as he can. He'll be a politician for weeks and probably say things that directly conflict with ESPN's report. But at this point, the only thing that will get Goodell fired is a tape of him watching the tape.
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