Ravens dispute the key allegations in the ESPN report
Friday’s report from ESPN says many things about the manner in which the Ravens handled the Ray Rice investigation. The Ravens have now responded to it, with a detailed, written statement addressing numerous contentions contained in the story.
The most important allegations related to Ravens director of security Darren Sanders and Ravens president Dick Cass. The statement contains responses from both men.
As to Sanders, he reportedly had the contents of the elevator video described by an Atlantic City police officer within the hours after the incident occurred.
“I did not receive an account of what happened in the elevator ‘within hours’ of the incident,” Sanders said. “Within a couple of days, I asked the casino and the Atlantic City Police Department for a copy of any videotape of the incident. They said they could not release a copy of the videotape to me. Some days later -- I believe it was on February 25 -- I spoke to an Atlantic City police official again, asking again whether I could get a copy of the tape or, if not, whether I could come to his New Jersey office and view it. He said I could not, but he did offer to view the tape and describe what he saw. (As I understand it, he was describing a raw video, not the ‘cleaned up,’ ‘smoothed . . . out’ version that appeared on TMZ.) He said that Ray and Janay both appeared to be intoxicated, and that they were involved in a heated argument that began outside the elevator and continued inside. As he described it, Janay appeared to initiate the altercation, but they both spit at and struck each other, resulting in Janay falling and hitting her head against the wall railing. The officer could not tell from the video whether Ray slapped or punched her, but Ray told me very clearly that he did not punch her. It was not clear from the officer’s account whether it was being intoxicated, being hit, or hitting her head against the railing that caused Janay’s apparent unconsciousness.”
Cass reportedly was told by Rice’s criminal defense lawyer that the elevator video is “f--king horrible” and that he “knocker her the f--k out.” Cass also reportedly lobbied for the placement of Rice in a pretrial intervention program, partially in order to keep the video from public view.
“I believe Ray’s criminal defense attorney mentioned the video to me in late May around the time that the court granted Ray’s application for pretrial intervention,” Cass said. “I don’t recall his precise words, but he did say the video looked terrible. I did not ask Ray’s attorney for a copy of the video. I assumed the video would be terrible, because it would show a man striking a woman. But I also thought the video would show a physical altercation where Ray was defending himself with an open hand. My view about the video was also influenced by the fact that the prosecutor and the judge agreed to the ultimate dismissal of all charges against Ray after seeing the video. We had decided several months before to leave fact finding to the court system and the League. As we have said, that was a mistake, and I regret it.
“I did not urge Ray’s defense attorney to follow any particular course of action. I told his attorney that he should do what he felt was in the best interest of his client. I had never even heard of ‘pretrial intervention’ until Ray’s attorney explained it to me. So yes, I agreed with him that pretrial intervention was in Ray’s best interest. Who wouldn’t? It meant the ultimate dismissal of all criminal claims without a trial and the risk of a guilty verdict. Of course, I did not want a criminal trial because of all the adverse publicity associated with a celebrity trial. But I did not think that pretrial intervention would prevent the video from becoming public. I assumed that would eventually occur in any event.”
So while it took three days for the Ravens to respond, Sanders and Cass have provided a potent and pointed response to the ESPN report.