The Ravens have been exposed for their part in covering up the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. According to an independent investigation done by the ESPN Outside the Lines, Ray Rice has texts from Ravens owner, Steve Bisciotti, trying to bribe him with a post-NFL job.
Bisciotti and the team released a letter to Ravens season-ticket holders contending that the team had not seen the video until the morning of Sept. 8, when TMZ released it to the public, and that they found it “violent and horrifying” and had voted unanimously to release Rice. Bisciotti also stated that the team would be donating $600,000 to the House of Ruth, the Baltimore shelter for battered women. Rice and his friends read the letter with barely concealed contempt and disgust. “I think a lot of people were quick to say ‘Oh what a stand-up guy,'” Jakobe said. “I think if you look at it objectively, it’s a massive cover-up attempt.”
Minutes later, Rice’s phone buzzed. He could scarcely believe what he was looking at– back-to-back text messages from Bisciotti. Rice read them aloud so everyone in the room could hear them:
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.
Rice was flabbergasted. One minute Bisciotti and the Ravens were essentially calling him a liar, the next Bisciotti was quietly offering him a job? Rice took a screen shot of the message, but Jakobe reminded him that anyone could send the text and simply change the name in the contacts to “Steve Bisciotti” to make it appear it had come from the Ravens owner. So Rice deleted Bisciotti’s name in his contacts and took a second screen shot of his phone, leaving only the message and the cellphone number. That way there could be no denying who had sent it. “I saw the text; [friend] Courtney Greene saw the text; and Ray actually read it out loud to us,” Jakobe said. “I saw it probably more than anybody.” One of Rice’s friends provided the text’s content to “Outside the Lines,” which confirmed through two independent sources that the number listed belongs to a cellphone regularly used by Bisciotti. A few days later, after thinking about it more, Rice told friends he believed Bisciotti was suggesting that, as long as he kept quiet and stuck to the story that he had misled team officials and Goodell about what had happened in the elevator, the Ravens would take care of him down the road. He felt incredibly insulted.
It will be interesting to listen to Bisciotti and the rest of the Ravens executives try to fumble their way out of this one.