Ray and Janay Rice have said plenty this week about the February 15 incident in a casino elevator and its aftermath. Among other things, Janay said that she was following a suggested script from the Ravens at the couple’s May 23 press conference.
The Ravens have issued a statement denying that accusation.
“There has been some discussion in the media about the Ravens providing a ‘script’ or ‘suggested script’ to Janay and Ray Rice prior to a May 23 press session,” Ravens senior V.P. of public and community relations Kevin Byrne said in the release. “After conversations with Ray about what he wanted to say, we did provide talking points to Ray for this event. (Those talking points are attached. Preparing talking points and briefings for meetings with reporters is common in our business.) After Ray informed the Ravens that Janay wanted also to speak at the event, I asked Ray on two different days if Ray wanted me to speak with Janay in advance of the press session. Both times, Ray declined and said: ‘She’s good. She knows what she wants to say.’ At no time prior to the May 23 session did we provide talking points, a script or suggested script to Janay or speak with her about the press event. We did not recommend or suggest to Ray or Janay that she apologize in any way.”
Here’s what Janay told ESPN.com last week regarding the May 23 press conference: “When it was my turn to speak, I said I regretted my role in the incident. I know some people disagreed with me publicly apologizing. I’m not saying that what Ray did wasn’t wrong. He and I both know it was wrong. It’s been made clear to him that it was wrong. But at the same time, who am I to put my hands on somebody? I had already apologized to Ray, and I felt that I should take responsibility for what I did. Even though this followed the Ravens’ suggested script, I owned my words.”
And so a bizarre situation becomes a bit more bizarre, with the Ravens directly disputing Janay Rice on the question of whether the team gave her a “suggested script” and whether the team suggested that she apologize for her role in the altercation that result in Ray knocking her out.
Curiously, the Ravens haven’t issued a statement this week addressing the 17-page ruling from former U.S. Judge Barbara S. Jones regarding the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Rice. Judge Jones found that the NFL — and necessarily the Ravens — knew what had happened in the elevator before the video was released on September 8. Which makes the team’s decision to cut Rice as questionable as the NFL’s decision to suspend him a second time.