Ray Rice, Ravens: Purposeful misdirection, new story says.

ESPN Story Alleges Ravens, NFL Are Scapegoating Ray Rice in Cover-Up

ESPN Story Alleges Ravens, NFL Are Scapegoating Ray Rice in Cover-Up

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Sept. 19 2014 8:20 PM

ESPN Story Alleges Ravens, NFL Are Scapegoating Ray Rice in Cover-Up

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Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti after the team's 2013 Super Bowl victory.

Christian Petersen/Getty

An Atlantic City police officer described the video on which Ray Rice knocks his then-fiancée Janay Rice unconscious to the Baltimore Ravens’ head of security within hours of the incident, an ESPN piece reports. The article, by reporters Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg, further alleges that Rice attorney Michael Diamondstein described the video to Ravens president Dick Cass as “fucking horrible” in April and told Cass that, in the video, “Ray knocked [Janay Rice] the fuck out.”*

ESPN’s report also reiterates an earlier claim that Ray Rice was completely truthful about what he did to Janay Rice in a meeting with Roger Goodell. Goodell said after the elevator tape became public that his understanding of what happened between Rice and his fiancée was “ambiguous,” while the Ravens say that, before the tape was released, they believed Rice “slapped” Janay Rice during an “altercation.”

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The upshot: The Ravens and the NFL have pinned their explanation for Ray Rice’s lenient initial suspension of two games on the idea that Rice misled them about what happened in the elevator. Meanwhile, sources tell ESPN that Ray Rice was always truthful to the NFL and Ravens about what he did to Janay Rice and that the Ravens, at the least, had access to accounts of the video.

It may be worth noting that the ESPN account of Ray and Janay Rice’s meeting with Roger Goodell mentions that two NFL players’ association representatives accompanied the couple to meet with Goodell, and the claim that Rice was honest with Goodell is attributed to “four sources.” The claim that Rice’s attorney described the video to Cass could, logically, have come from the attorney himself. Another source in the story who says Rice was always honest about what happened in the elevator is Kyle Jakobe, who’s identified as “one of [Rice’s] closest friends.” The idea that Ray Rice was, in fact, consistently honest and contrite with team and league officials is one that is flattering to Ray Rice and would help his case that he should eventually be allowed to play in the NFL again.

But an attorney named Andrew Alperstein who represented Rice for at least some period in February described the incident to the Baltimore Sun as a “very minor physical altercation.” And in May, Michael Diamondstein said that, “hypothetically,” the elevator video could show that “Ray wasn't the first person that hit and Ray was getting repeatedly hit.” (It doesn't.) In other words: Rice’s camp, at least, was not always forthcoming about what was on the video.

*Correction, Sept. 19, 2014: This post originally misspelled Kevin Van Valkenburg's last name.