Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

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Ravens announce plans for Ray Rice jersey exchange

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens will offer an exchange for Ray Rice jerseys on Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20 at M&T Bank Stadium. The exchange is to provide an opportunity for fans – particularly families, women and children – to exchange a Rice jersey for an available jersey of another Ravens player.

It is important to note that there will be no jersey exchanges at this Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans should not bring items for exchange to the game.

Here are the details of the jersey exchange:

· Jerseys eligible for exchange must:

- Be officially licensed by the NFL

- Be manufactured by Nike or Reebok

- Have been purchased or been available for purchase at the Ravens Team Store at M&T Bank Stadium or the Ravens Official Team Store online (baltimoreravensshop.com or shop.baltimoreravens.com)

· Exchanges must be made in person to verify that products are licensed. (A licensing expert representing the NFL will be on hand to verify that jerseys qualify for exchange.)

· Recipients will receive Nike replica jerseys based on availability at the time of exchange.

· Exchange is limited to one jersey per person.

What:

Ravens Ray Rice Jersey Exchange

When:

Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20

Time:

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where:

M&T Bank Stadium – Inside the northwest concourse and Team Store at Section 140.

Fans should enter the stadium at Gate A.

Parking:

Available in Lot B on the north side of M&T Bank Stadium

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Bisciotti letter to Ravens fans: “I am sorry we let you down”

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Bisciotti letter to Ravens fans: “I am sorry we let you down”

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

Ravens owners Steve Bisciotti broke his silence regarding the decision to release running back Ray Rice in a letter to personal seat license holders, sponsors, and suite owners on Tuesday. The full text 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.

Sincerely,

Stephen J. Bisciotti
Owner

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Janay Rice breaks silence in response to “horrible nightmare”

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Janay Rice breaks silence in response to “horrible nightmare”

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Luke Jones

The morning after the Ravens terminated the contract of Ray Rice and the NFL suspended the running back indefinitely, his wife broke her silence in response to the TMZ release of the video depicting what occurred in the Atlantic City casino elevator and reaction from media and the public to the incident.

Janay Rice’s statement is presented without editing:

I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!

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Full transcript of John Harbaugh’s Monday press conference

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

TEAM RELEASE

Opening statement: “I want to thank everybody for being here, and we appreciate you being here. We had a good practice coming off the tough game yesterday, and we’re going to work on our next game. Obviously, you’re here for more than just that. We had a chance – after seeing something this morning – after seeing the video this morning, we had a chance to get together with Steve [Bisciotti], Dick [Cass], Ozzie [Newsome] and myself, and we had a meeting. It was not a long meeting, and we came to the decision that we came to, to release Ray [Rice]. And that’s what we did. So, you know that. I had a chance to talk to Ray along with Ozzie this afternoon after we did it. [We have] nothing but hope and goodwill for Ray and Janay, and we’ll do whatever we can going forward to help them as they go forward and try to make the best of it.”

John, what was it like to see that video? “It’s something we saw for the first time today – all of us – and it changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”

John, did Ray Rice mislead you? Were you mislead in anyway, because you stood up here and defended the guy, and now you see the video and make this decision? “I don’t want to get into all that. I don’t think of it that way. Everything I said, in terms of what I believe, I stand behind. I believe that still, and I’ll always believe those things. And we’ll always stand and support them as a couple, and that’s not going to change.”

Coach, how come the team wasn’t able to see the video until today? “I have no answer for that.”

John, as a football team, how do you feel as far as what you’ll have in the backfield? “Well, we will have exactly what we’ve had so far. We have the guys that we have, and I’m excited about our offense. I’m excited about some of the things we did yesterday in terms of yards and points and our opportunities to score points. We need to score more points and first downs and things like that. I know we can play a lot better than we did, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do.”

John, you said it changed for you. How did it change after seeing the video? “I don’t know if I want to get into all the details about it. I think it’s pretty obvious and pretty apparent. Everybody [has] seen the video, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Coach, do you believe the NFL has seen the video before today? “I don’t have any understanding or knowledge of any of that. I don’t know.”

Was there discussion between the Ravens and NFL today before you both came to the conclusion? “Not that I’m involved with. I’m involved right now with the football team and getting ready for Pittsburgh.”

You came into the league when Ray Rice came into the NFL as a head coach. You had a strong relationship with him. This has to be personally kind of devastating to you. “It’s always … When someone that you care about does wrong and is faced with the consequences of doing wrong – and rightfully so – it is tough, it is hurtful. My pain is for both of them as a couple and going forward. My hope is that they can make it work. From everything that I understand in talking to Ray up until his suspension – talking to him a lot – it seemed like they really were working hard and really doing well in that direction. I hope they can weather this part of it, too. And I’ll be praying for that. If I can help in any way, [if] my wife and I can help in any way, we will. That’s where it’s at.”

Can you share any of RB Ray Rice’s reaction to the news today? “I really would rather not. That’s more personal.”

Coach, are you satisfied with the level of diligence that the organization took to see what occurred on that video? “Absolutely. Sure. I’m not following where you’re going with that.”

I’m just curious why the team wasn’t able to see the video. “I don’t know why that would be a hard thing to understand. It wasn’t made available. It wasn’t there for us.”

From a legal standpoint? “As far as I know, yes. It wasn’t something we already saw [or] ever had access to.”

Did you discuss it with the team as a whole today? “We did. The team responds the way everybody responds to these things. And again, you’re talking about somebody you know. It’s a little more challenging when you’re talking about someone that’s part of your family, so to speak. So our guys, they felt it. All the same emotions that everybody out there would feel, we all felt.”

Why did the video change the team’s reaction so drastically? What did you think happened in that elevator before you saw the video? “I don’t want to get into all of that. Talking about feelings and all that stuff … It’s pretty easy for everybody to understand. Anybody that has a heart would understand how that goes.”

How did Ray Rice relay the events of the evening to you guys? “I’m not going to get into all of that. Those are personal conversations, and that’s really where that belongs. I want to respect that.”

What do you think about the timing of this whole video and how that impacts the team in the midst of a short week with a game coming up? “The timing is the timing that it is. We have a football game to play Thursday night. We have no control over that. I don’t have any feelings about that at all. It will not impact us in any way, football-wise. You can’t allow that. This is professional football, and we’ll be ready to play Thursday night.”

This affects the organization on so many different levels, John. Which is the most difficult? “I wish I had an answer for that. That’s a pretty deep question. I haven’t given it that much thought to think of it in that many levels right now.”

What would be one, if you can think of one? “I don’t have those options in front of me. I don’t have that list right now.”

Do you expect Ray Rice to play in the NFL again? “I don’t have any expectation for anything right now. My expectation right now really is to move with our team going forward and [being] the best football team we can be.”

Were the financial implications, cap-wise … Was that discussed today? “Certainly. Everything is discussed. Like I said, it was not a long meeting, though.”

Why wasn’t it that long? “Anyone else?”

Is there any reason why G Marshal Yanda wasn’t practicing today? “We held Marshal back. He’s healthy. No injury there, but we just sat Marshal out today.”

Who’s your starting running back Thursday? “Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett – they’ll both play a lot. Lorenzo Taliaferro will be a big part of it, too. Good question. Thanks.”

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Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

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Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Luke Jones

There was no other choice for the Ravens but to sever ties with running back Ray Rice on Monday afternoon.

The release of the second elevator video by TMZ depicted the worst-case scenario of what Rice had done to then-fiancée Janay Palmer and removed any lingering benefit of the doubt one could reasonably have in defending or understanding the 27-year-old’s actions on that February night in an Atlantic City casino. And it brought the Ravens’ embarrassing missteps to the forefront as the organization was forced to terminate the contract of the man they’d spent the better part of seven months defending and building up amidst intense criticism from the rest of the world.

Whether they were simply misled by Rice, the New Jersey legal system, and the NFL or callously turned a blind eye to what really happened is open for debate as this saga isn’t over — even if the three-time Pro Bowl running back’s career in Baltimore is. The truth is the Ravens will now face the challenge of rebuilding their own image and trust with the general public as their reputation for being one of the finest organizations in the NFL took a massive blow in their handling of the Rice incident.

From the emphatic insistence that his job status was not in jeopardy and strong praise for Rice’s character to the embarrassing initial press conference and the examples of profound support published on the team’s official website, owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh must all take responsibility for what was an error in judgment and a lack of sensitivity to what was a startling case of domestic violence. It was unfair for the organization to leave Harbaugh alone to field questions Monday evening as the masses — including Ravens fans and the local community — deserved to hear from the team owner and high-ranking officials following the decision to terminate the employment of one of the Ravens’ biggest stars since 2008.

Harbaugh told the media that Monday was the first time anyone in the organization had viewed the second video published for the world to see that morning. When pressed if he felt misled by his former running back and asked what about the video had changed the team’s reaction so drastically, Harbaugh didn’t “want to get into all that,” which isn’t a good enough answer from an organization that was labeled tone-deaf by many for their unwavering support of Rice throughout the entire ordeal.

It’s human nature to want to think the best of someone you admire no matter what the circumstance, and the Ravens certainly cared — and still care — about Rice as a person. But the organization allowed the goodwill Rice had built over his first six years in Baltimore to cloud its preparedness for — and sensitivity to — the worst-case scenario that proved to be the truth with the released video of Rice viciously striking his future wife and knocking her unconscious in that casino elevator.

Throughout the process, the Ravens gravitated toward what they wanted to believe — and perhaps how Rice and the New Jersey legal system had portrayed the incident — with little regard for the possibility that this incident of domestic violence was as bad as some had reported and many had feared. Yes, the Ravens knew Rice had done wrong, but their actions and words over the last seven months didn’t demonstrate an appropriate grasp of just how violently he had potentially acted.

The Ravens showed more than enough support for Rice by simply not cutting him from the start and instead allowed the legal process to play out, even if many believed they shouldn’t have even wasted that much time. However, the organization went out of its way to continuously remind everyone about how great of a guy Rice was, which — unintentionally or not — portrayed him as more of a victim than a perpetrator and showed a lack of sensitivity and compassion toward victims of domestic violence.

The recent partnership formed with the House of Ruth to help combat domestic violence was a good start, but much more will need to be done to put the memory of the last seven months behind them.

As an emotional Chris Canty stated, Monday was a sad day for the Baltimore Ravens as they severed ties with one of their biggest stars. Make no mistake, it was a sickening act committed by Rice alone that led to his deserved termination, but the Ravens only hurt themselves in the way they handled the matter along the way.

And it will take much longer to fix that tarnished reputation than it did to clean out Rice’s locker on Monday.

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Ravens claim defensive tackle Christo Bulukidi off waivers

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day the Ravens terminated the contract of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, they continued to adjust their roster by claiming defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi off waivers and cutting rookie running back Fitz Toussaint on Monday.

Bilukidi was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday and will add depth to the defensive line as the Ravens were carrying only five players in that positional group. A sixth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2012, the Georgia State product has appeared in 20 career games split between Oakland and Cincinnati and has collected 13 tackles and one sack.

Toussaint was promoted from the practice squad after the Ravens cut veteran cornerback Derek Cox on Saturday, but the rookie free agent was inactive for Sunday’s season-opening loss against the Bengals. Baltimore will likely hope that Toussaint clears waivers, so he can be re-signed to the practice squad.

The Ravens currently have three tailbacks on their 53-man roster with Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.

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Hardy to undergo MRI in Baltimore on Tuesday

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Hardy to undergo MRI in Baltimore on Tuesday

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

Dealing with a lingering back issue for over a week, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy will fly back to Baltimore to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Tuesday morning.

The 32-year-old was not in Monday’s lineup for the opener of a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox and hasn’t played since Friday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hardy originally left last Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins due to a lower back spasm and has played in only one game since then.

Hardy told reporters in Boston that he is still dealing with soreness despite not experiencing further spasms. He added that he would likely try to play under different circumstances, alluding to the Orioles enjoying a 9 1/2 game lead in the American League East entering Monday.

The veteran took part in some baseball activities earlier in the day in Boston before discussing the idea of undergoing an MRI with manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles remain hopeful that he’ll return to the lineup for Friday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.

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Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

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Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

After months of standing by the troubled Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens made a loud statement by terminating the running back’s contract on Monday afternoon.

In a simple statement released to media shortly before 2:30 p.m., the organization announced it was severing ties with the 27-year-old following TMZ’s Monday morning release of a second video clearly showing Rice punching his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious in a Revel Casino elevator in Atlantic City in mid-February. Rice was in the midst of serving a two-game suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that had garnered harsh criticism for its perceived leniency.

Shortly after the Ravens revealed they were terminating Rice’s contract, the NFL announced they were suspending Rice indefinitely based on the new video evidence obtained Monday. The league said in a statement earlier in the day that they had not been privy to the second video obtained by TMZ when deciding on Rice’s initial punishment.

Responding to backlash from his original decision on Rice, Goodell acknowledged that he “didn’t get it right” while announcing a harsher penalty for domestic violence last month that included six games for a first offense and a potential lifetime ban for a second offense.

The Ravens had consistently stood by Rice since the incident had taken place, drawing plenty of negative reaction from those accusing the organization of taking a soft stance on domestic violence. However, the disturbing violence clearly depicted in the second video made it impossible for the organization not to act, even if that action came far too late in the eyes of many.

Rice and Janay Palmer were initially arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence in Atlantic City on Feb. 15 with the police report saying each had struck the other and Rice had rendered Palmer unconscious. The grand jury later charged Rice with third-degree aggravated assault — and dismissed the original charge against his wife — before he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May. This program allowed Rice to avoid prosecution and potential prison time.

As for the ramifications on the salary cap by cutting Rice, the Ravens will immediately save the $3.529 million he was owed in base salary for the 2014 season. However, they will now take a $9.5 million hit in dead money for the 2015 salary cap.

The three-time Pro Bowl running back rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns in his six seasons in Baltimore. He was the Ravens’ second-round pick of the 2008 draft and is second on the franchise’s all-time rushing list behind Jamal Lewis.

Head coach John Harbaugh was scheduled to meet with the media at 8 p.m. Monday night as the Ravens have already begun preparations for Thursday night’s Week 2 meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

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Orioles announce schedule for 2015 season

Posted on 08 September 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

ORIOLES ANNOUNCE 2015 SCHEDULE

Season opens April 6 at Tampa Bay, home opener slated for April 10 against Toronto

The Orioles today announced they will open the 2015 season on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays before heading to Baltimore for their home opener at Oriole Park on April 10 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Orioles will again host each American League East rival three times. The Boston Red Sox will visit Baltimore April 24-26, June 9-11, and September 14-16. The Orioles will host the New York Yankees April 13-15, June 12-14, and October 2-4. The Rays will visit Charm City May 1-3 and 29-31, and August 31-September 2. The Blue Jays will play a total of 10 games in Baltimore, April 10-12, May 11-13, and September 28-October 1.

The 2015 Interleague schedule features visits to Baltimore by the Philadelphia Phillies (June 15-16), Washington Nationals (July 10-12), Atlanta Braves (July 27-29), and New York Mets (August 18-19). The Orioles will visit the Mets (May 5-6), Miami Marlins (May 22-24), Phillies (June 17-18), and Nationals (September 21-23) as part of Interleague Play.

Baltimore will host the rest of the AL once: Chicago White Sox (April 27-29), Los Angeles Angels (May 15-17), Seattle Mariners (May 19-21), Houston Astros (May 25-27), Cleveland Indians (June 26-28), Texas Rangers (June 29-July 2), Detroit Tigers (July 30-August 2), Oakland Athletics (August 14-17), Minnesota Twins (August 20-23), and Kansas City Royals (September 11-13).

The Orioles will play 18 of 27 games in May at home, their busiest month at Oriole Park. Overall, the Birds will play 48 of the 88 games prior to the All-Star break (July 13-16) at home. The Orioles have a 10-game homestand, August 14-23 (Oakland, New York-NL, and Minnesota) and a pair of nine-game homestands; April 24-May 3 (Boston, Chicago-AL, and Tampa Bay), and May 11-21 (Toronto, Los Angeles-AL, and Seattle).

The Orioles will play 15 of 25 games in July on the road. They have a 10-game road trip, September 17-27 (at Tampa Bay, Washington, and Boston) and a pair of nine-game road trips; July 17-26 (to Detroit, New York-AL, and Tampa Bay) and August 3-13 (to Oakland, Los Angeles-AL, and Seattle).

The 2015 season will be the Orioles’ 24th at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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New video released of Ray Rice elevator incident in Atlantic City

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New video released of Ray Rice elevator incident in Atlantic City

Posted on 08 September 2014 by WNST Staff

As many Ravens fans were expecting to wake up to the aftermath of a season-opening loss to Cincinnati, Monday morning brought a more serious development as the remainder of the video showing Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an Atlantic Casino casino elevator was released.

After unveiling a video months ago showing Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer from an elevator, TMZ released video of the entire incident early Monday morning that only creates new and louder questions as well as more disgust for New Jersey law enforcement and prosecution, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the Ravens. The video also eliminates virtually any remaining benefit of the doubt that some still held for Rice in maintaining they didn’t truly know what happened inside the Revel Casino elevator.

Reaction was already harsh on social media Monday morning as we await response from the Ravens.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy released the following statement Monday morning:

“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”

This contradicts an August report from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that stated the NFL and some Ravens officials had viewed the video of what happened in the elevator between Rice and his then-fiancee.

It remained unclear as of Monday morning whether the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell, or the Ravens would attempt to revisit the two-game suspension given to Rice that received intense criticism from many for its perceived leniency long before the release of the second video.

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