September 15, 2013. Browns. Ravens. They were enjoying a beautiful afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium when a crucial penalty was called on Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
On the game’s first possession, Taylor tackled Ravens running back Ray Rice. A second later, Taylor says, “something happened” that changed us in a deep and profound way from that day forward.
Taylor didn’t scream, “I’m hit!” But he did hint after the game that he slapped Rice only after Rice spat on him.
Unfortunately, John Harbaugh has viewed the Zapruder-like film of the incident, and he says the film contradicts the whole premise of Taylor’s account.
“I watched it,” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t see that on the tape at all.”
It’s unclear whether Taylor said something to provoke Rice, like, “Nice game, pretty boy,” but whatever happened caused Taylor’s head to turn back and to the left. Maybe there was a second spitter behind the bushes over by that gravely road.
The sad thing is we may never know the real truth.