If you haven't had enough of the Ray Rice scandal yet, ESPN offers the most thorough account to date of what happened in a new investigative piece. Interviews with more than 20 sources "found a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night," write Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg. They report that an Atlantic City police officer spoke to the team's director of security hours after Rice knocked future wife Janay unconscious and described in detail what the inside-the-elevator surveillance video showed. The team security official then relayed those details to team executives, even though they were later to claim ignorance of them.
The report doesn't drop any bombshells about whether NFL chief Roger Goodell actually saw the video before imposing a light two-game suspension—at the strong urging of his friend, Ravens' owner Steve Bisciotti, along with Janay herself. But it at least faults the league for being "uncharacteristically passive" in its investigation. Maybe the most intriguing part? After the second, damning video emerged, team execs voided Rice's contract and suggested publicly that he had lied to them. But Rice soon got two texts from Bisciotti, the first saying, "we loved you as a player" and "hopefully all these things are going to die down." The second:
- "When you're done with football, I'd like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league."
A "flabbergasted" Rice interpreted the mixed public and private messages to mean that the team wanted him to keep quiet in exchange for a job down the road. "He felt incredibly insulted," says the piece. Read it in full here