Full text of Bisciotti letter to Ravens PSL holders

[Editor’s note: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has issued a letter to the team’s PSL holders regarding the Ray Rice situation. The full text of it appears below.]

Dear Ravens Stakeholder:

You deserve an explanation.

What happened with the Ray Rice incident? How could it come to this? Why didn’t we act earlier?

As a PSL holder, suite owner, sponsor and supporter, you have a stake in us. You have invested in us — emotionally as well as financially, trusted us, and believed in us. We value that trust and owe you full disclosure.

First, let us say that we did not do all we should have done and no amount of explanation can remedy that. What we can do now is share with you everything that occurred and vow to learn from all that has happened.

Here is how the situation unfolded, and here are our thoughts behind the decisions we made.

On the morning of Feb. 15, we learned that Ray and his then fiancé, Janay, had been arrested at an Atlantic City casino, and both had been charged with “simple assault” resulting from an altercation with each other. After the couple was taken to police headquarters, and after a report was written, they were allowed to leave together.

A number of Ravens’ representatives talked with Ray during the course of that day. His explanation was that after he and Janay had consumed a great deal of alcohol, they had had an argument and that they struck each other.

We at the Ravens organization issued a statement to the media that we were aware of the incident, that we had talked with Ray, and that he deserved the due process of law.

We then began our own process to discover as much as we could about what happened. We talked with representatives of the casino, the police who arrested the couple, the prosecutor and a lawyer who represented both Ray and Janay in the case. Soon after, the video of Janay and Ray coming out of the elevator became public.

We contacted the casino management and asked if there was video of the incident from inside the elevator that we could see. The casino would not share such video. We asked the local New Jersey police and the police refused as well. We asked the prosecutor’s office and that office refused. It was our understanding at that time that Ray’s attorney had not yet seen the video. NFL officials had been informed, and we know they were also trying to retrieve and/or see the video.

Assessing the situation at of the end of February, this is what we knew: A player who had been a model citizen in the community and terrific teammate for six seasons had been charged with simple assault against his fiancé. At that time, his fiancé Janay had been similarly charged.

Ray and Janay both told us nothing like this had happened before. He was showing great remorse; they were meeting regularly with our team chaplain and were diligently attending couples counseling.

In March, the prosecutor dropped the case against Janay, but elevated the charge against Ray from simple assault to aggravated assault. At this point, we decided to defer action until completion of the court proceedings. We stopped seeking to view or obtain a copy of the video. We halted our fact-finding. That was a mistake on our part.

In May, the prosecutor recommended, and the judge agreed, that Ray should be accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that will eventually have the assault charge dismissed from his record, pending a year of good behavior.

The police had seen video from inside the elevator. The prosecutor and the judge, who had also seen such video, allowed Ray into the program that would eventually clear him of the assault charge.

On June 16, Ray and Janay met with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who then announced on July 27 that Ray Rice would be suspended for the first two games of the season. Ray subsequently met with the media and answered questions.

Yesterday morning Sept 8, all of us saw the video from inside the elevator. It is violent and horrifying. I immediately came to the office and called a meeting with Dick Cass, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and Kevin Byrne. The meeting was relatively short. The decision to let Ray Rice go was unanimous. Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.

We are moving forward and believe we can help put more of a spotlight on intimate partner violence, while increasing education and awareness to this issue to all in our organization. Our recently announced partnership with the House of Ruth is a start.

We view ourselves as a family. Like families, we have used tough love in the past (fines, benching and releases) with repeat offenders. Because of his positive contributions on and off the field over the last six years, Ray had earned every benefit of the doubt from our organization. We took everything we knew and decided to support Ray Rice until we could not.

We hope that Ray will continue to work to be the best husband, father and person he can be, and he will turn this awful situation into something positive. We also have learned a great deal and will continue to strive to be an organization and team you and Baltimore will be proud of. I am sorry we let you down.


Stephen J. Bisciotti

45 responses to “Full text of Bisciotti letter to Ravens PSL holders

  1. As a PSL owner, this letter was addressed to us seat holders. Please remove as this is personal correspondence. Show is over folks, move along.

  2. Here come the holier than thou comments and inbred Steelers fans to try and throw stones when they live in glass houses. Of course they are section 8 welfare houses. Anyone heard of a dead horse.

  3. blah blah blah…..

    You didn’t want to see the video….Ray Rice lied and you WANTED to believe it so you did…..c’mon man

    The worst offender in this is the NJ DA department for allowing Rice into a diversionary program…..what a joke.

  4. Very well written. I believe every word, and taking accountability was important. This would be a lot harder to watch as a Ravens fan if Rice was coming off some awesome year.

  5. Goodell and Biscotti pretending they don’t have Michael Clayton/Ray Donovan-style fixers on payroll specifically for reasons like this (“NFL Security”, etc.) has been truly hysterical. Hopefully they don’t get away with choosing this narrative of false incompetence over real heartlessness. Goodell saw it, Biscotti saw it, don’t be naive.

  6. Goodell didn’t see the video, Bisciotti didn’t see the video, Harbaugh didn’t see the video…..and now that they have, they all took action.

    I think justice has been served….

  7. I read this on the Onion. “Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league has adopted a new zero-tolerance policy toward all videotaped domestic abuse. “We hold our players to the highest standards both as professional athletes and as people, so any violence toward women that is recorded, authenticated, and then publicly distributed will be met with an automatic suspension and fine,” said Goodell, adding that the new, stricter guidelines reflect the league’s hard-line stance against any spousal abuse that is clearly and irrefutably captured on film.”

    The casino would need provide the Ravens with the tape but they would give it to TMZ. Right. Got it.

    And when you or Ozzie should have addressed the media you instead sent clueless Harbaugh out there. You know, the Onion nailed it. Admit it.

  8. Holy smokes Ray..you have ignighted a firestorm far more worse than even the most fervent Steelers fan could imagine. You are going down in history as the poster boy against domestic violence and Janay as extreme battered womens syndrome..Dr Phil and President Obama even weighing in. My God man, whatever you do, don’t let us wake up to another report of you even sneezing on a member of the oppisite sex.

  9. Straightforward and honest. Bisciotti admitted the facts and where he was wrong. What else can you ask for? He can’t change the past , only admit where they acted foolishly. Goodell, it’s your turn now.

  10. Why is nobody in the media, especially non-sports media, going after the DA? Rice didn’t drop the charge, Rice didn’t set the suspension and Rice didn’t hold back or release the video. The man made a mistake and has been contrite since. How stupid, ignorant and naive can everyone be to believe that this is the worst of the 15 or 16 (ish?) cases that have previously been disciplined by the league?

    If it takes a video for something to be real to you that should kinda scare you. At least a little bit.

    Should have been a year from the beginning.

    The overreaction is wrong. Flat out. This is where we are I guess…

    ( I don’t, nor do I condone, the hitting of women.)

  11. I do believe him. Fans of other teams can point and laugh but it must have hurt Steve as an owner and teammates of Ray Rice to see the video. He was a model citizen and good teammate from all accounts.

  12. As a multiple PSL owner, what do you think of Suggs and his domestic violence past? He hit his wife on two occasions. Once in the neck and dragged her in front of their kids. Another time poured bleach on her and kicked her. It’s all a bunch of crap. Don’t believe you or God – dell that you didn’t see the video. I’m sorry. It’s either that or mass neglect and I know atleast you are intelligent enough to get that video. Why wouldn’t the casino release the tapes?

  13. It’s about time we heard from the executive suite. I appreciate the honesty and that he’s taking some responsibility for not following through. Thank you, mr biscotti

  14. What’s the explanation on Ray Lewis? Jamal Lewis? Terrell Suggs? And on and on and on …

    What a pathetic franchise. Keepin’ real.

  15. @harrisonhits2 – your name couldn’t be more perfect since James Harrison himself is a domestic abuser. See 2008 when he hit his significant other and Pittsburgh and goodell did nothing

  16. “..First, let us say that we did not do all we should have done and no amount of explanation can remedy that…”

    See how he glossed over one of the more important points, then totally blew it off after that one sentence?

  17. I wonder if Ray wiahed he’d just throwed her limp body over his shoulder and told security that she was drunk while toting her out.?

  18. Remember, this is Baltimore. One of the filthiest, most degenerate crime-ridden hell holes in the United States. This kind of behavior is typical for its citizens just as it’s typical for the players on its football team. With that in mind, there’s really not much to apologize for.

  19. Video doesn’t exist of Suggs domestic incidents. Video exists of Rice. You need a smoking gun to just kick a player off of the team. If you don’t have one a guy like Suggs isn’t just walking away quietly.

  20. So, how is it that multiple reporters were told Roger had seen the tape? Were they lied to as well?

  21. This is laughable. All of this is a reaction. If that video doesn’t surface Ray Ray is playing week 3. They weren’t going to do anything to try and find any more evidence.

  22. I still have a hard time wondering what they were thinking when the original video was Ray dragging out his knocked out wife.

    I mean, simple logic says he punched her out, yet it took a video to prove it?

    Why does this smell like that whole Sandusky/Paterno/Penn St bullcrap of reporting the minimum and keeping everything else quiet?

    Remember here folks, if that video never was posted on TMZ, Rice would be playing next week and this whole thing would have been forgotten and forgiven.

  23. Sheesh, I see all this backlash and I can’t help but think, after whittling away all the fluff, he just hit someone. Even, if you are one of those, who think a woman has assault immunity all it really was a punch or two and a drag (while heinous, I’m simplifying to make a point). He is receiving a severely unjust punishment when compared to others in his position (public celebrity).

    The same people who clamored for a greater punishment because beating a woman received a lesser penalty than weed smoking should be just as loud now. Because now we have people getting indefinitely suspended for what is probably one of the lowest crimes on the NFL (pro sports for that matter) totem pole. I don’t need to list anything that is “worse” than assault you probably have plenty of things on the tip of your tongue.

    PS: The Onion is satire and shouldn’t be quoted for anything beyond a laugh. Though the “videotaped” violence bit is kinda funny. TMZ does not have to go through the channels that the NFL/Ravens/others have to go through to obtain media (in this case evidence). I’m not saying Ravens or NFL officials didn’t get the tape, just saying TMZ has waaay more leeway with how they operate. The tape is not evidence to them and they are not using it as such. So they can simply pay an “unknown source” off and release it, because their only purpose is to sensationalize gossip. This is something that TMZ does constantly. Proven daily on FOX sometime before I get off of work.

  24. How about everyone on here acting a judge and jury document your mistakes for the world to see and take to your employer. Any volunteers?

    Ravens and NFL were wrong, made a bad decision by a player more magnified by making an egregious error themselves.

    I enjoy the banter with opposing fans but to associate a players decision with a fan base is moronic and shows little thought or intelligence.

    Lets put this to rest and get back to football!

  25. TMZ is an outlet for women gossiping.

    They posted this video which is the truth of what was very well covered up several months ago by the NFL and Ravens.

    Because women got angry the NFL had to react. This story is like 6 months old, but only now takes light after it’s exposed on a website dedicated mainly to women gossip.

    All I have to really ask is, who really showed this to Goodell. Was it his wife? His secretary? His friends wife?

    Think about it, if the Ravens and the NFL were no longer persuing this case how do you think they found out it was being shown on TMZ in the first place. S O M E W O M A N

    This story was already known and documented. What changed everything was the amount of women who now knew about it and had seen preciesly what happened.

  26. This is truly a legal matter. When the justice system doesn’t do the job they are suppose to viral video will cure all. Shame we didn’t see ray lewis commit murder.

  27. Okay, some honesty for a change. But only some. Here are a few open questions:

    1) why did you allow your PR hack to write a blog post extolling Ray’s virtues?

    2) what, in any part of your “investigation”, led you to believe it was acceptable during this altercation Janay that was unconscious and being pulled from the elevator.

    3) why did you let your coach and other team reps continue to pimp up Ray’s community service and what a great guy he was – in essence casting doubt on Janay.

    4) did you ever seek out assistance and counsel from experts in domestic abuse?

    I believe your version of the events and I get why you did what you did. But there are still a few unanswered questions. You may not have consciously made bad decisions but you too easily accepted Ray’s version of the truth when you owed your team and it’s fans more.

    And as a Steelers fan, I will tell you that Big Ben’s presence on the team and in the league still sits uneasy with me. I’m not happy about it and I sure as heck won’t be cheering if they ever erect a statue in his honour. If Steelers fans take glee in your angst, maybe you might want to look inward and figure out who you’ve been cheering on all these years and why you’ve looked past their indiscretions.

  28. The only thing wrong with that letter is the fact that the video, or more accurately: public outcry and social media/regular media frenzy, changed their opinion. They knew it was domestic violence and that she was rendered unconscious, didn’t they? What part of the video did not fall into the original story we all knew? Did anyone believe he tapped her on the shoulder and she fainted?

    This is dumb. Stop feeding the animals at the zoo. Technology is great but the conscience and carefulness that should go along with it is missing. Reporters are more concerned with being first than they are about being right. The story is no longer the point. Now, the goal is to attempt to convince as many people as possible to feel the same way and gain recognition and money while doing it. This is no different than the mindset in Salem a few centuries ago.

    Consider this. Many are so flatly against Ray Rice because he hurt a woman, his wife. I would argue that this is true but the public outcry and knee-jerk face-saving actions are doing far more damage to Janay, and her family. But that’s ok, right? You know what’s best for her. You must because so many agree with you or “thumbs up”/”like” what you said. Please.

  29. I’m not saying I believe the Ravens or the NFL, but it should be noted that Revel casino closed it’s doors and left a lot of people unemployed just a fee weeks ago. It’s possible that a former employee took possession of the video and waited until they were no longer employed by Revel, and then sold it to TMZ.

    The Ravens may have asked for it when someone cared about their job and wouldn’t give it to them, and TMZ got it when everyone was out of a job and had nothing to lose.

  30. Do you hear that?
    Do you know what those noises are?
    Why, that’s the machinery spinning the wheels of PR which is working into overtime, the chatter of spin doctors and backpedaling by those involved in this.

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