NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A published report Friday claimed that Baltimore Ravens team executives knew about the details of the domestic violence incident Ray Rice and his now-wife Janay Rice not long after it happened.
The report released Friday evening by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” claimed that early on Feb. 15, Ravens director of security Darren Sanders talked to a security officer at the now-shuttered Revel Casino in Atlantic City, and that security officer provided a detailed description of what happened, CBS Sports explained.
The report claimed further that Sanders told team executives in Baltimore about it, but it was not clear whether Sanders talked directly with team president Dick Cass or owner Steve Bisciotti, CBS Sports explained.
But “OTL” reported further that Rice hired attorney Michael Diamondstein on Feb. 17, and Diamondstein spoke with Cass to figure out a legal strategy, CBS Sports explained. Diamondstein set up a plea deal for Rice, but TMZ released the first video showing Rice dragging his then-fiancée out of the elevator before the plea deal could be finalized, CBS Sports explained.
When the video became public, Rice was indicted on a third-degree assault charge. And in April, “OTL” claimed Diamondstein received a copy of the second video showing Rice throwing the punches and called Cass to talk about what had appeared, CBS Sports explained.
“OTL” quoted Diamondstein as saying: “F***ing horrible. Ray knocked her the f*** out.”
The report claimed Cass never asked to see the video and no one else in the NFL did either.
The reports said Cass and Diamondstein decided Rice need to avoid going to trial, and he was entered into a pretrial intervention program in May, CBS Sports explained.
The report suggests that the Ravens leadership wanted this process to take place quickly and in a manner that would allow Rice to continue to remain with the team due to his relationship with the organization, the city of Baltimore, and several of the Ravens’ business sponsors, CBS Philly explained.
Further, the report claimed that Rice met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on June 16, he was under the impression that Goodell had seen all the video. Four sources said “Rice gave Goodell a truthful account that he struck his fiancée,” CBS Sports explained.
Rice was initially suspended for two games after news of the first video hit. After defending the punishment at first, Goodell admitted more than a month later that he “didn’t get it right” and announced tougher penalties for future domestic violent incidents.
Then when the second video merged of the assault on Rice’s then-fiancee, the Ravens cut the star running back and the league banned him indefinitely.
Responding to the “OTL” report, the Ravens issued a statement saying it “contains numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings.”
The Ravens were set to hold a news conference on the report on Monday.
The “OTL” report came the same day that Goodell addressed the news media and said the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl.
Goodell was short on specifics at a news conference Friday — his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence. More defiant than contrite as he was hammered with questions, Goodell said he has not considered resigning.
“Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong,” he said in his opening statement. “That starts with me.”
Goodell said he would meet with NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith next week, and they would work with outside experts to evaluate the league’s policies.
Among the areas that will be examined is Goodell’s role in discipline. The commissioner now oversees all personal conduct cases, deciding guilt and penalties.
“Nothing is off the table,” he said.
Goodell said he believes he has the support of the NFL’s owners, his bosses.
“That has been clear to me,” he said.
Goodell reiterated Friday that he didn’t believe anybody at the NFL had seen the second video before it was published by TMZ. Prior to the “OTL” report, the Associated Press reported last week that a law enforcement official says he sent the video to a league executive five months ago.
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