ESPN Outside The Lines just dropped a bomb on the National Football League and the Baltimore Ravens, soon after Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for his handling of the Ray Rice incident.
In a long investigative article, reporters Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg trace the events from when Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator to what happened in the months that followed, citing more than 20 sources to illustrate “a pattern of misinformation and misdirection” from the league and the Ravens organisation.
Here’s a portion:
Just hours after running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancée with a left hook at the Revel Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Baltimore Ravens’ director of security, Darren Sanders, reached an Atlantic City police officer by phone. While watching surveillance video — shot from inside the elevator where Rice’s punch knocked his fiancée unconscious — the officer, who told Sanders he just happened to be a Ravens fan, described in detail to Sanders what he was seeing.
Sanders quickly relayed the damning video’s play-by-play to team executives in Baltimore, unknowingly starting a seven-month odyssey that has mushroomed into the biggest crisis confronting a commissioner in the NFL’s 95-year history.
The Ravens organisation previously released a statement saying it had only seen a video of the couple leaving the elevator, but was unable to obtain one from inside. It claimed it first viewed the “horrifying” video on Sept. 8, like much of the public. But this new account from OTL reveals the team certainly knew what was on it.
REPORT: Rice attorney Michael J. Diamondstein, had a copy of the inside-elevator video and told Cass: “It’s f—ing horrible.”
— Brent Harris (@BrentCSN) September 19, 2014
Rice later met with Goodell to explain what happened in that elevator, but Goodell claimed he didn’t get the full story, calling his re-telling of it “ambiguous.” Again, via OTL:
Furthermore, it would seem that if Rice had given an “ambiguous” account, sources say Goodell had even more incentive to try to obtain a copy of the in-elevator video to clear up any lingering questions. But he did not do that. “For you not to have seen the video is inexcusable,” a league source told “Outside the Lines.” “Because everybody was under the impression that you had.”
Goodell suspended Rice for only two games, the report says, at the urging of multiple Ravens executives as “a favour to his good friend [Ravens owner Steve] Bisciotti.” In a press conference Friday, Goodell admitted that was a mistake.
“I got it wrong on a number of levels,” he said, “But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.”
In response to the OTL report, the Ravens released a statement claiming it was inaccurate, but offered no specifics:
“The ESPN.com ‘Outside the Lines’ article contains numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings. The Ravens will address all of these next week in Baltimore after our trip to Cleveland for Sunday’s game against the Browns.”
This post was updated with a statement from the Ravens.
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