Ravens PR chief, owner rise to the defense of Ray Rice

After leading the league in offseason arrests, enduring the backlash that stemmed from a punishment which practically no one agrees is fair (and then signing a three-time violator of the league’s drug and PED policies), the Ravens have taken the obvious next step in a fabulous week for their image.

They’ve had their senior vice president of public relations write 1,200 words about what a great guy Ray Rice is.

No, really.

To his credit, longtime PR man Kevin Byrne understands that he’s not going to change many minds, but apparently felt compelled to share some personal reflections about all the good things Ray Rice has done.

Then again, he also oversees the messaging for a team that thought it would be a good idea to live-tweet Janay Rice’s apologizing for getting knocked out, bringing victim-blaming rushing into the 21st century with a deft social media flourish.

He also used his position to get a nice EXCLUSIVE with his boss, Ravens owner Steve Biscioitti, after asking if he thought this was a good idea.

“That’s your call,” Bisciotti said. “I don’t think Ray needs it, and I don’t think you’ll change the minds of those who don’t want to have anything to do with Ray. . . . How sad we all are that he tarnished his image. No one outside, I’ve learned, can understand how we look at these guys as our sons and close friends as opposed to just employees.

“I saw that clearly when we lost the AFC championship at New England [at the end of the 2011 season],” the owner continued. “I had friends tell me, ‘You must hate Lee Evans or Billy Cundiff. They cost you a trip to the Super Bowl.’ It was the opposite – we felt for Lee and Billy. I wished that they’d get another chance. I felt the need to protect them like I would one of my sons. It’s not like that in my other businesses.

“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.”

This is followed by the kind of things you’d expect someone who likes Ray Rice to tell you, about his remorse and civic concern, and another affirmation from Bisciotti that taking care of their own was a good idea.

But it’s probably not, if only for the fact it underscores how tone-deaf the Ravens have been throughout this entire incident.

Having a press-conference with no questions allowed was a sham, a clumsy effort to divert attention on a Friday afternoon. Live-tweeting Rice’s wife trying to jump on a grenade for her husband that day was tasteless at best. John Harbaugh’s tone of mild annoyance in discussing Rice’s two-game absence was cringe-worthy.

And frankly, trying to explain away the negative reaction to domestic violence is beneath them.

Unless, of course, it isn’t.

118 responses to “Ravens PR chief, owner rise to the defense of Ray Rice

  1. Their most famous/popular player is either a murderer or an accomplice to murder. Beating a woman unconscious is just part of who the Ravens are.

  2. I’m sorry – did Biscotti just compare a player having a bad game to a man beating a woman? Is that what I just read?


  3. Thank heavens he didn’t kill her: the league might have REALLY gotten tough and suspended him for four games. /sarcasm

  4. This Organization is getting what it deserves after leaving Cleveland in the dust…..same with Indy, talk about ‘leaving in the dead of night’; I’ll never forget the pictures in the B’more Sun of the moving vans leaving.

  5. He only showed remorse because he got caught and doesn’t want to lose his job!!

    What if that was his daughter? Geez… What don’t these guys understand about this?

  6. Nothing is beneath the Ravens at this point. The entire organization needs to shut up. Adding insult to outrage really won’t help this pathetic team their fans and owner. A family of what …skunks?

  7. Yes. I’ve had moments or periods of my life that I regret. None of them have to do with beating the crap out of my wife.

  8. John Harbaugh has been one of my five favorite coaches in recent years. … But I’m getting concerned that we’re now starting to see who he really is behind the nice guy image. … I seriously thought he might be in the same classy category as a Joe Gibbs or a Dick Vermeil. … Could you in your wild dreams imagine one of them conducting himself the way Harbaugh is with this Ray Rice situation?

  9. So, after reading his comments, I can only assume, that if I found Biscioitti’s daughter, it would be fine with him if a beat her senseless……as long as I have a few people who are willing to say it is “out of character” for me

  10. Really, he felt bad for Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff and wanted them to get another chance?

    That AFC championship game was last time either of them played for the Ravens.

  11. This was ray’s character -that was him. This maybe the first time he did it on camera, but I saw no remorse dragging his wife to be out of the elevator. DARN CAMERA. REALLY

  12. Correct, no defending what he did. I don’t think they are defending what he actually did, but rather saying it was an out of character moment rather than SOP for Ray Rice. If you’ve ever done something really bad, and really out of character, (or known someone) and come out on the other side, you understand. What is he to do, curl up in the corner, retire, kill himself? The most he can do is acknowledge his mistake, take responsibility, and do everything he can to make himself better and prevent this from ever happening.

  13. If Ray Rice averages 2 yards a carry this season, I wonder how much longer he is gonna take care of his “son”?

    Ravens FO sure give their fans plenty to be proud of since they won the SB.. They are starting to get the image of the city, like they say in their interviews.

  14. Most of the comments on this site lead me to believe that the movie Idiocracy is just a decade or less from becoming reality.

  15. …well, at least he didn’t proclaim that all Rice did was make a “mistake”

  16. The Ravens are acting like Ray Rice just stumbled out of a bar and was arrested for public drunkenness. This whole incident has been cringe worthy from the video to the press conference (where Mrs. Rice apologizes for her role in the incident) to the Atlantic City Courts letting Rice just walk to finally Harbaugh’s press conference. A mistake is not paying your credit card bill on time, this incident is a felony that absolutely no one with any power or leverage in Rice’s life seems to want to take seriously. It leaves me to wonder what might have happen if someone had stopped Aaron Hernandez before he started hanging around gangs or OJ Simpson when he first hit his wife or Ray Lewis before he went with his boys to the club.

  17. No one should defend Ray Rice under any circumstance. Ever. The whole Ravens organization is proving to be pure garbage.

  18. Tennesseeoilers, look at his brother throwing tantrums on the sidelines.. it all begins to make sense.

  19. Here’s the question that needs to be answered.

    Why did a professional athlete, who bench presses in excess of 300 lbs, drag a 130 lb woman out of an elevator?

    I would have thought that a person of such high moral character as Ray Rice would have had his fiancé in his arms carrying her. Instead she is dragged out of the elevator like a bag of laundry.

  20. Ray Rice has done a lot of good things over his career. My understanding is that he does a ton of volunteer work and has always been considered a really good guy. That’s great. I can even forgive him for the horrible act that he engaged in on that one night, especially if he really takes affirmative steps to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. Nonetheless, none of that changes the fact that he deserved a much stiffer penalty for knocking his fiance out cold with a closed fist to the face.

  21. Full disclosure- I am a Raven’s fan.
    I also believe the incident warranted a minimum of a 4 game suspension, and am very surprised by Goodell’s decision.
    As far as the reaction and hatred towards Ray Rice from the media and many anonymous posters through social media, it makes me wonder how many others would handle a similar situation.
    How would you like to have the worst 15 minutes of your life captured on video and posted online for all the world to see and to judge you by? Would it be an accurate portrayal of you, and would you be okay with being judged the rest of your life based on a single video from your early 20’s?
    It was undoubtedly a despicable act. He will pay an enormous financial penalty and his public image will most likely never recover. His fiancee could have left if she wanted.
    My point is this, condemn the act because it is unacceptable. Don’t condemn the man for life based on a single despicable act.
    The Raven’s are no different than any other team. They would like nothing more than to field 52 superstars with squeaky clean images but talent comes first, and sometimes that talent comes at a price.

  22. Dude knocked out a lady. duna duna
    Dude knocked out a lady duna duna

    A little play with Aerosmith and BAM! 1,200 words are reduced to the truth of Ray Rice’s character.

    Come on! Sing along!

    Dude knocked out a lady. duna duna
    Dude knocked out a lady. duna duna

  23. I would rather they cut Rice, but his actions have nothing to do with the fans. It is possible to still be a Ravens fan and not inherently condone domestic violence.

  24. I don’t recall the Steelers doing anything like this when Big Ben was suspended.

  25. Goodell went easy on Rice so that when he goes easy on Irsay the NFLPA won’t cry unfair.

  26. Kevin Byrne is a great man who’s worked in the NFL for over 30 years. Most of his articles speak from an insider’s view of what goes on inside the Ravens.

    Trust me this Steve biscotti cares nothing about what internet trolls say about Ray rice or any of his players. move on from the story cause it’s over and please be sure to mention in your next articles that Ray rice is convicted of nothing, he’ll never get back his reputation despite that he admitted tarnished and until you do some real journalism and show a tape of him hitting his wife this slight is nothing but slanderous going forward!

    The good news is once the season starts all everyone is going to be able to speak about is Joe Flacco and the great Raven offense

  27. The whole organization doesn’t have a clue since they go on defending this bully and woman beater. Hope he gets his just do this coming season from someone bigger them him

  28. Talk about a team who’ve become known for their crimes and getting away with them. Lewis and Rice brothers in arms who should both be in jail

  29. Ha ha, all that effort the NFL has made to cater to woman with “Hot Pink October” continues to get destroyed with every bad decision and comment made by the NFL and the Ravens.

  30. This is an absolute joke.

    He doesn’t need to be defended – shame and embarrassment are exactly the two emotions he should be feeling right now.

  31. The classiest thing about the entire affair is when the Ravens had Rice’s fiancé apologize cause it was her fault. It was also hilarious that he married her quickly so she wouldn’t have to testify against him….

  32. Raven fans who are criticizing PFT and other news outlets for reporting this story shows me just how messed up they really are. This is the person you want for a role model? This is “one heck of a guy?” His volunteering in the community should excuse this incident? What he did wasn’t that bad?? His wife made apologies for him?

    Tone-deaf is the perfect phrase to use for this franchise. It would have gone a LONG way if they had cut him immediately. This organization is tarnished forever, and not JUST for what rice did, but for what the raven’s owner didn’t do. Additionally, raven fans, this incident isn’t going away.

  33. Milk it until the cow runs dry. They all should be happy with only a two game suspension. Should have been much more.

  34. keep beating and putting Ravens org. down all
    your doing is getting this team angry.keep it up it just makes it easier to win.Its over 2 games ,Roger has spoken…

  35. For the people asking “would you want to be judged by the worst 15 seconds of your life?”, that is an easy question. There are 10’s of thousands of people right now giving up large chunks of their life for “the worst 15 seconds” of their life. They are called convicts

    You are talking like this was video of Rice doing something stupid at some house party, or a drunken internet selfie. If “the worst 15 seconds of my life” was not only a felony, but one of the most despicable things a man can do, yes, I would expect to be judged by that.

    Also, as for something I can’t prove, I highly doubt this was “the worst 15 seconds of his life” when it happened in a public place. This type of thing always starts privately before it starts happening in public places. My guess is, this wasn’t the first time Mrs Rice has had to apologize for getting in the way of Ray’s fist

  36. You guys are pathetic. You have literally no proof that he hit her or that he’s a wife beater yet you use the terms nonetheless. Something happened and the only ppl with the details all decided it wasn’t serious enough to warrant more than a reprimand. This is the TWELFTH article about this over the last 24 hours. Wow.

  37. overratedsteelerhater says:
    Jul 25, 2014 4:36 PM

    keep beating and putting Ravens org. down all
    your doing is getting this team angry.keep it up it just makes it easier to win.Its over 2 games ,Roger has spoken…


    They are angry? Apparently, bad news for their wives

  38. Those of you saying “cut him” are foolish. How many of your teams would cut a player in this situation? None. If the video showed him striking her, fine, he’s a dirtbag and he should be suspended for a year. But that’s not what we saw and possibly not what even happened. Since when does Goodell come down on a player’s side? You ever think there could be a legitimate reason? Or were your simple minds already made up?

  39. comment was deleted by PFT for being accurate. ravens not only have now had a killer and a wife beater, but those two players got easier sentences (or no sentence) than those who smoke weed or are alleged of crimes which they did not commit (i.e. Big Ben).

    now if only there were proof that Goodell favored the Harbaughs…. oh yeah two years ago.

  40. Why pay a PR flak to defend a woman beater when Peter King is doing it for free (check out today’s column).

  41. If your “son” beats a woman, that says a lot about their father now doesn’t it.

  42. Raven fans who are criticizing PFT and other news outlets for reporting this story shows me just how messed up they really are. This is the person you want for a role model? This is “one heck of a guy?” His volunteering in the community should excuse this incident? What he did wasn’t that bad?? His wife made apologies for him?

    Tone-deaf is the perfect phrase to use for this franchise. It would have gone a LONG way if they had cut him immediately. This organization is tarnished forever, and not JUST for what rice did, but for what the raven’s owner didn’t do. Additionally, raven fans, this incident isn’t going away.


    You and PFT are the ones who are tone def. Jesus Christ himself could issue a statement in support of Rice and you morons would spin it to make him look like he was condoning violence towards women.

    What Ray Rice did was wrong. He is in counseling for the incident, and has apologized publicly for it. He is not appealing his suspension, which – in case you idiots have forgotten – was issued by the NFL, NOT THE RAVENS.

    There are many sides to every story, and the Ravens just want you to hear ALL sides. NO ONE IS EXCUSING WHAT HAPPENED, they are just trying to show an opposing view.

    After the shameful way they have been treated by PFT, I would never speak to anyone associated with this site EVER if I were associated with the Ravens.

  43. What Ray Rice did was wrong. But acting like this is the first time we have ever heard such a thing in the NFL is irresponsible. The below players have done just as much to deserve your criticism but it seems as though everyone has forgotten. All of the hate directed toward Rice better be directed towards the same players below otherwise your comments hold no weight in objectivity:

    James Harrison – broke into the house of his girlfriend, broke her cell phone and slapped her across the face.

    Cedrick Wilson (steelers receiver) – punched his girlfriend in the face outside a bar in Pittsburgh.

    Shawne Merriman – struck, choked and beat “celebrity” Tila Tequila during an incident at his home.

    Leroy Hill (Seahawks) – pulled his girlfriend down the stairs by her pony tail.

    LaMichael James – grabbed his girlfriend by the neck and threw her to the pavement.

    Feel free to continue the comments being made but I felt it necessary to remind people of these incidents as well.

  44. Man Goodell really did this guy a disservice by going light on him, if he would’ve thrown the book at him -as he should have- this would be a non-story now.

    As for going easy on him because his wife took some of the blame all the more reason to really punish him. Whatever he loses is money out of her pocket as well and deservedly so, spouses should be held as accountable as the players when it comes to protecting the shield.

  45. I’m trying to have an open mind about this, being that I understand not being present during the incident means I don’t know the truth, and also that the video doesn’t capture the full events so who am I to draw my own conclusion?

    However, I cannot find anywhere a statement from Ray saying he did NOT assault his wife. The fact that he has yet to deny wrong doing is what leads me to believe he did raise his hand to her. If I am wrong, then I would be happy because I was a Rice fan for sure…but I haven’t found one article stating that Ray says no abuse occurred.

  46. It’s bad enough that the NFL and the Ravens lack the stones or class to do what is right but, why isn’t Ray Rice in jail? Doesn’t Baltimore or Maryland have any laws about domestic violence?

    If any of us even accidently struck another person, let alone a woman, we’d be sitting behind bars for a minimum of 6 months, upto several years. Apparently, in Maryland they don’t care about domestic violence….figures.

  47. “Is it a flaw for us that we support our players in tough times? If it is, I’m OK with that.”

    Steve Bisciotti.

    I am OK with that too.

    One thing I’m grateful for…. Baltimore has no band wagon fans.

    #BaltimoreStandUp #SuperbowlOrBurst

  48. You need to step away from the keyboard and relax. Your personal vendetta against the Ravens has gone over the top and you are literally now chasing away readers.

  49. If the Ravens really cared about their image and fans they would cut Mr. rice.

  50. “Don’t we all have days or moments or periods in our life we regret?”

    OMG this is the most ridiculous PR BS I have ever read in my life!!!

    Speeding and getting a ticket to work, that’s a regret.

    Slugging my fiance (and now wife), knocking her out, dragging her out of an elevator is a REGRET?

    So what exactly qualifies as WORSE than a regret? Murder?

  51. Wow! Lots of hate for Ravens & Ray Rice! People just hate the Ravens! This hate has nothing to do with Rice! I guarantee you, it all stemming for the defeat the Ravens handed the Broncos & Patriots two years ago, a lot of people lost $$$ on those games, so they are still bitter! Any article about Ravens…good or bad gets negative responses!! Man I wish the Ravens have a good season & win the SB! That will create more hate!

  52. The Ravens need to believe they have let a big tarnish mark on the Raven emblem by not stepping up and doing their own punishment. I bet neither they nor God-el thought that the free publicity would flowing on all channels today and none of it was good. The creditability of Ravens high up and Gödel took a step backwards today.

  53. Tone deaf?

    Meanwhile YOU’RE the one mixing words. janay rice NEVER “apologized for getting knocked out.”

    That is you making things up. She apologies for playing a role in “the incident.”

    The incident being getting insanely drunk in public to the point neither of them could walk straight.

    And if there was a physical altercation(still no proof)… Then she most likely had her own hand in attacking Rice.

    Now we can either play the “she’s a woman” card, or we can’t. But once you play it… You can no longer cry about everyone being equal. You’ve lost the right to do that.

    And at the end of the day, SHE chose to marry him after this whole ordeal. Nobody forced her to. That was her choice.

    Neither Rice it his wife has ever said a punch was thrown.

    And those are the FACTS.

    And if you all were REALLY against this and it REALLY disgusted you… You would NOT watch the NFL. but you’re all talk. Just like the NBA and people who cried about Sterling. Sure… It’s fun to have something to argue about but nobody actually sat out games when Sterling was under fire. Nobody stopped going to games. All talk, no action.

    But keep arguing. Whatever keeps your mind and attention off what the government is doing!

  54. You forgot about Suggs slapping around his wife or girlfriend and threatening to pour bleach on her too.

  55. Ray Rice is a hero and did nothing wrong. If he did something wrong, he would have gotten a trial. Ray Rice is a victim of the media and man amongst men! Go Ravens!

  56. So because everyone wants to bash the ravens lets put the facts out there according to the San Diego Union-Tribune database, 21 of 32 teams last year had a player on their roster who had a domestic or sexual violence charge on their record.

  57. I am sure we are all stunned that Ravens management is defending yet another one of their players who is a complete dirt-bag because we have never seen that in the last 15 years

  58. Ever since Roger Goodell became Commissioner NFL HAS A LOT OF CRIME WITH PLAYERS, HE A JOKE

  59. Sniff….he should have been banned for a year and fined 30mil…..sniff…..

    All of the complaints remind me of all the hypocites going to church every sunday morning acting like giving 10% (gross not net) forgives all the BS they did in the last week.


    They could have gave him a year, or even kicked him out of the league and all you B’s would still be complaining.

  60. Iam a Ravens hater but for different reasons,but mark my words this team is going to take this us against the world attitude to a super bowl..stop w riting about this 500 team pft

  61. no class in any part of this story, including the ‘punishment’. Still not too late for the Ravens ownership to take the high road.

  62. I think every fan of every team by now knows that pft is interested in getting page views, not nuanced and calm discussion of their team. It’s like watching the mob scene in Frankenstein.

    Although I have to agree that the Ravens sense of PR is starting to rival that of the Washington team.

  63. I wonder when PFT is going to cover Greg Hardy’s case with the same vigor they’re going after Ray Rice..

  64. I just don’t get what people see in the video. Even knowing that he hit her, all he’s doing is getting her out of the elevator.

  65. Here’s the issue Gant: what the hell do you EXPECT them to do?! Call Rice a disgrace and say he’s shamed the organization, the league and the city? Say he’s only on the team because he’s good? Say he has no intention of keeping him beyond his contract? And he hopes he fails miserably?

    Let me clue you in: no owner would do that. And let that sink in to you posters too. Your favorite team? They’d do the same with their stars. Right Brandon Marshall? Big Ben? Dez Bryant? Must be fun throwing stones in that glass house of yours. I gotta try it next time one of your fan favorite players inevitably screw up (Right Pouncey bros?).

  66. This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with that joke of a punishment. 2-game suspension is so laughable, it’s not worth discussion.

    This is about the raven’s front office keeping this slug on the roster.

    The team is going to be “mad” and go to the SB? Not going to happen…willing to bet that the wives of some of the players in that locker room are going to have plenty to say….as are players on other teams. Nobody likes a wife beater.

    Ravens fans need “proof” that he hit her? What do you think this is all about? But if you don’t believe anything happened, read it here, or google it…it’s headlines all over the nation.

  67. Both Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff were released before the next season. They are ‘sons’ as long as they help win games, after that they are refuse.

  68. No women should show up for the first two games this season and this boycott should include all teams nationwide to let Roger know domestic violence and abuse is not some lower tier infraction. Ray Carruth would have been OK had he just beat up on his pregnant girlfriend.

  69. Would someone give me a tag to the picture of Janay with any kind of a mark on her. Without that all this junk about him hitting her in the face is just speculation. The police that night arrested both of them. And for the idiot that tried to question the integrity of the Maryland police, the incident happen in Atlantic City between two drunks. Ray was wrong to be drunk. He was very drunk and could not seem to even be able to drag an unconscious girlfriend from the elevator. He went before a judge in New Jersey and was given the option for first time offenders. Ray personally went to talk to Goddell about what happened. All of us fans really do not know what happened in that elevator. But there are tons of other incidents with other NFL players where actual violence was known to all and they have not received half the hate you people are directing at Ray. Ray has now gone through both the legal process and the NFL process. It is now yesterdays new. Find a new dog to kick.

  70. I’m going to by a pink Ray Rice jersey before they smarten up and take it off as an option. I can hang it in my closet next to my #7, Falcons, Mexico jersey

  71. A few facts that many of you ignorant hateful trolls need to be aware of.
    1. The Ravens are generally considered one of the BEST run organizations in the NFL in League circles.
    2. Ray Lewis murdered NO ONE. In fact the two scum bags who killed the other two scum bags were acquitted on grounds of self defense.
    3. While I would agree Ray Rice should have been suspended for a much longer period he has NO track record of problems of any kind and both he and his fiance were allowed to go home together. That does not happen if there is clear evidence of an assault. Ask any police officer.
    4. If you take a look at the NFL teams with the most arrests since 2000 the Ravens are not even close to the top of the list.

  72. As long as runs for 1,200 yards and 10 TDs all will be forgotten… No matter the player or team that’s what We fans want, right?

  73. The whole point is that if you do the crime you do the time. People are mad that Ray is not doing the time. In fact he gets off with half the punishment that a guy smoking a joint would have to face. The hypocricy is obvious. Now when coach’s and P.R. guys along with the G.M defend it, don’t expect people who already have to watch the woman beater get away with felony assault, to just sit back and say nothing. Roger Goodell created a media storm by not doing his job. “The Shield” has been dented because Goodell wasn’t man enough to do his job. Ravens fans if you want to blame anyone for this not going away blame your good hearted inconsistent Commish.

  74. Not a good sign when they don’t know enough to just shut up, and not say anything.

  75. So glad all of you self righteous people have been there defending your neighbor’s wife as vigorously as you have Rice’s. This is nothing new, and I would bet you know a person in your life that you could defend. Been to a shelter to volunteer lately? Or is it just an opportunity to make a parody song and really show your concern? Hypocrites.

  76. At the front of his blog posting, Byrne said Rice deserves the public and private flogging he has received and the punishment that comes with it.

  77. Best organization in the NFL..Baltimore Ravens!
    The hate and jealousy from others shows how great the organization is perceived. The Ravens and their real fans embrace the hate and use it to make them stronger. 2014 AFC North Champions. Time for some football…. RAVENS FOOTBALL!!!!

  78. skjwood, so unless everyone stands up we should let it go? I’m not sure what you are getting at.

    Just in case you are wondering, my sister-in-law was getting hit and we had her move in with us. Even though we were poor and had no room, we found her a place. Now, can I say it?

    The punishment is too light and it is never ok to hit a woman, no matter the provocation. Victims of this crime often (way, way too often) say the exact same things his fiance/wife has said. “He hasn’t done this before” “I know he won’t do it again”. That fact that she is still with him and married him means nothing. I hope she is right, but all too often we see this response and they aren’t.

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