Stephen Bisciotti offered the mea culpa at a news conference the
team called to address an ESPN report that alleged the Ravens had
advocated for lenient punishment for Rice and knew about the
contents of the video early on.
"There is no excuse for me to have not demanded that video except I
wasn't concerned or interested enough to demand it, never crossed my
mind," said Bisciotti, 54, after the team issued a 15-point rebuttal
to the story.
"I'm sorry for that, deeply sorry for that."
America's most popular sports league has been engulfed in a crisis
for its bungled handling of Rice's case and a spate of domestic
violence cases involving players, creating a scandal that has led
some of its biggest sponsors to criticize the NFL publicly.
At issue is how the league initially suspended Rice for two games
for punching now-wife Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City, New Jersey,
casino elevator, but reversed course when a video was later released
showing the punch that knocked out Palmer.
"If it would have crossed my mind, I would have demanded it (the
video)," Bisciotti said. "If I had demanded it, I would've gotten
it. ... I would have forwarded it to the NFL."
Rice, a star player and fan favorite, was cut by the team and
suspended indefinitely by the league after the video was released.
He is appealing the suspension.
Bisciotti said he had prepared for a four-to-six game suspension
when the NFL first suspended Rice in July.
The league's uneven response has raised questions about the
credibility and integrity of the NFL and its commissioner, Roger
Goodell, one of the most powerful figures in sports.
[to top of second column]
RAVENS QUESTION MOTIVE
The NFL and the Ravens said they never saw the video until it was
posted by celebrity website TMZ two weeks ago and that Rice had
misrepresented to them the assault on Palmer.
Bisciotti described the ESPN story as Rice "building a case for
"It's clear from the subject matter, it's Ray's attorney, it's Ray's
agent and it's Ray's friends," Bisciotti said.
The article presents the case that the Ravens knew of the content of
the video soon after the assault happened in February and did not
request a copy of it from Rice's attorney.
Bisciotti also denied the allegation in the story that he promised a
future job to Rice in exchange for Rice's silence over the handling
of his domestic violence case.
Rice's agent, Todd France, did not immediately respond to a message
A co-author of the ESPN story, Pulitzer Prize winner Don Van Natta
Jr., responded to Bisciotti on the network, saying: "I believe our
(Editing by Mary Milliken, Doina Chiacu and Peter Cooney)
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