Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti apologizes; accuses ESPN of one-sided journalism

by Kent Sterling

Egomaniacal rich men might be able to control those in their inner circle, but Steve Bisciotti has outside his depth during yesterday's press conference.

Egomaniacal rich men might be able to control those in their inner circle, but Steve Bisciotti has outside his depth during yesterday’s press conference.

One thing Charles Foster Kane learned in the great film Citizen Kane was that wealth can’t change the truth.  Ironically, William Randolph Hearst, the publisher who was the inspiration for Kane, discovered the same thing when he tried to kill the film before its release.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is the latest rich guy to learn that same lesson as he tries to spin the facts to make the Ravens appear more sympathetic as the fallout from the Ray Rice debacle continues to unravel.

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Don Van Natta of ESPN reported late last week that the Raven management tried to exert undue influence in keeping Rice’s suspension to a manageable two games, and that coach John Harbaugh wanted to cut Rice but was overruled by Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Despite refusing to speak to Van Natta, Bisciotti assailed the report as one-sided, “The majority of the sources are people that work for Ray.  Almost everything in there is anonymous, but it’s clear from the subject matter that it’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agent, it’s Ray’s friends.”

Van Natta countered in a follow-up on that sources included more than 20 sources over 11 days — team officials, current and former league officials, NFL Players Association representatives and associates, advisers and friends of Rice.

Bisciotti apologized for not pursuing the video from inside the casino elevator where Rice knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious, “There’s no excuse for me to not have [requested] that video except I wasn’t concerned or interested enough to get it.  It never crossed my mind. I’m deeply sorry for that.”

That echoed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hollow apology last week.  It paints Bisciotti as either an idiot or complicit in trying to help Rice escape culpability for his odious actions.

The question that continues to ring in our minds as the comments by Bisciotti and Goodell are evaluated is why either man decided it was a good idea to stand in front of the media and its cameras to say things that only weaken their positions.

Most rich guys are terrible with the media.  They are so seldom held accountable for their comments that they believe every word that comes out of their mouths is a pearl of wisdom from on high.  A dose of humility is usually forthcoming when they haughtily explain their genius or occasionally throw themselves on a sword, as Bisciotti did for not demanding the video.

Bisciotti shared a series of texts that Van Natta quoted in the Outside the Lines piece.  There were some differences in wording, but the message was the same, “I just spent two hours talking to Ozzie. It was all about you. We love you and we will always figure out a way to keep you in our lives. When you are done with football I will hire you to help me raise Great young men. I still love you!!!”

What isn’t different is the implied intent to buy Rice’s silence.  Rich men tend to use money for the power it wields over people.  Bisciotti’s intent may have been to calm Rice’s concerns about how he might provide for his family in the future, but the result is to keep Rice financially tied to Bisciotti, and exert the control only money can wield.

The pummeling of Janay Palmer (now Rice) began a series of events that revealed a number of men as rigidly pragmatic and unfeeling.  As they have been outed through a seemingly endless series of media reports and comments of their own, we have learned a lot about rich and successful people – primarily that they are most fearful of being seen as impotent through their inability to control the thoughts and actions of others.

That is what prompted both the press conferences of Goodell and Bisciotti.  Hubris has many forms and outcomes, and Goodell and Bisciotti’s inability to compel a change in the truth should make everyone in the media feel a little better about their role in our society.

They have been revealed as nothing but money grubbing pimps who would gladly toss aside decency and honor as cavalierly as Rice treated Janay as he dragged her limp body from that casino elevator.

2 thoughts on “Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti apologizes; accuses ESPN of one-sided journalism

  1. Luke

    I can’t say this is the worst piece I’ve read on this situation, but its easily top 3 for me. This is nothing more than an angrily written article with name calling, accusations and assumptions. It’s an opinion piece so I suppose you’re entitled to write out your hatred for wealthy people and wave your finger however hard you want… but man this is poorly done in my eyes. How about reporting on the facts, instead of your assumptions you’re certain are right. The only part I agree with is that this isn’t over, and eventually one side will be proven wrong. What’s getting lost in all of these “look how great I am I’m writing about how much I hate domestic violence and how the NFL and the Ravens failed, aren’t I great?” holier than thou articles are how we (we: the NFL, Fans, public in general) can learn and improve from this. I’d love to read some articles with ideas and advice on how we do that.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I have no hatred for the wealthy. I have disdain for the self-righteous pomposity of billionaires. How do we stop domestic violence. Remove perpetrators from society. During a time when one-third of those incarcerated are guilty of non-violent (usually drug related) crimes, I would like to see prosecutors to get serious about assault against women. No diversion for these mopes. Lock them up.

      How we can improve is to stop looking at people we know who commit these crimes as heroes or great-guys-who-made-a-mistake, and start demanding they be locked up. They are criminals who prey upon those weaker than themselves.

      Is that better?


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