The Single Best And Most Honest Thing Anyone From The NFL Has Said About The Ray Rice Scandal So Far
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti held a press conference today to address the Ray Rice scandal, and more specifically a report from ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that alleges, among many things, that the Ravens knew what was on the "elevator tape" and pressured an unusually passive NFL league office into taking it easy on Rice.
Understandably, the Ravens refute much of OTL's report, both in that presser and in a 15-point "Message To Fans" on their website. If you're interested in a back-and-forth between the Ravens and OTL, it makes for fun reading. (By the way, OTL has already responded to the Ravens' response.)
But at one point, rather than either his team's collective ass or deliver empty platitudes about how "things will change," Bisciotti finally said something brutally honest and appropriate. It came when he was asked one of long-outstanding questions about this whole debacle: Why did it take the release of the second tape, which showed the brutal knockout, for Rice to be disciplined appropriately?
Here's a rough transcript:
Why did it take basically the whole nation looking at this video tape and saying this was wrong for you guys to finally decide "We should cut him"?
Equal missteps, promises for probation. I think this is a society thing, so as much as I would like to tell you that I should have stood up and said "The hell with the way the world views this, we're going to take a stand above better and bigger than anybody else," um, I, I, I, I'm not that, I'm not that good, all right. I'm not that, I'm not that, uh, uh, uh, honorable, I guess, that, that I was not prepared to take the, the, the worst case punishment against somebody that I have incredibly, um, loving feelings for.
There's a reason that was so, shall we say, arduous to articulate. That wasn't the same thing as an apology: It was an admission. It was the sound of a man coming to a stark realization about himself. It was Bisciotti acknowledging the fact that he let himself be fooled into thinking he was doing the right thing, when in fact he was helping to cover up a crime -- whether he's willing to admit he did it knowingly or not. It was something Roger Goodell could have and should have said at least once over the last few weeks.
It's also an indictment of society as a whole. Many of us weren't nearly as upset about the Rice incident as we should have been -- not until the second video dropped, anyway. The world didn't view this seriously enough, and the Ravens followed suit. Whether they did it to a criminal or otherwise immoral degree is still in question.
So much of the fallout from this scandal has involved passing the buck -- and much of Biscotti's presser involved doing just that. But for a moment, the curtain fell away and we saw a man admit that he wasn't good enough in a moment that required goodness. It was refreshing.
Photo via Getty
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