In the wake of the NFL’s punishment of the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice (or lack thereof) and subsequent reaction to domestic incident involving his then-fiancee, now wife Janay, the team is attempting to gain control of the message and take a new tact on his reputation.
The team’s Senior Vice President for Public and Community Relations, Kevin Byrne, took it upon himself to write a blog post on the team’s website defending Rice and defining the incident as a bad moment that happened to a nice person.
Byrne says Rice would be one of the first on the team to volunteer to participate in community events and was sensitive to what women might think when he wanted to work out in the team’s practice facility a couple of weeks after the incident.
And in the blog post, Byrne quotes Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti as being supportive of Rice and wanting to remain loyal to him in a time of crisis:
“Don’t we all have days or moments or periods in our life we regret? Ray showed great character for the six years I’ve known him. He has shown remorse after a bad incident. It was out of character. I don’t think now is the time to abandon him. You say we are a Ravens’ family. I’ve come to believe that.”
Now, it’s nice that Bisciotti wants to stand behind Rice, but the team continues to whitewash what happened. We remember how the team handled the awkward Rice press conference when it sent out this tweet back in May:
It’s understandable that the Ravens want to defend Rice, but the handling of the incident plus this blog post make it look like the old days of the Soviet Union when the official Communist Party newspaper “Pravda” would publish only positive stories about the country and spin any negative stories that would make Western observers laugh.
The Ravens are attempting to control the message, but they cannot control the outage following the lenient suspension of the NFL nor can they control the reaction to a blog post that attempts to whitewash what happened on that fateful night in May.