Tag Archive | "Ray Rice"

HOLIDAY VIP DEAL: Buy “Purple Reign 2″ for Ravens readers here

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HOLIDAY VIP DEAL: Buy “Purple Reign 2″ for Ravens readers here

Posted on 05 December 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Thanks for checking our section of purple cyberspace and for having interest in purchasing Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story via WNST.net. It’s been a labor of love for me — researching, writing and presenting the building of a NFL championship.

In 2001, I wrote Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac and I’ve had many inquiries regarding reprinting it and packaging it with the new book on the 2012 Ravens. So, below are the options to purchase both books as well as a 6-CD collection of our best WNST radio interviews with the many stars and interesting people from Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XLVII. It will have original audio from 1990′s with Ray Lewis, Brian Billick, Jon Ogden as well as a two-hour life retrospective when I sat down with Arthur B. Modell in 2004. We’ll also include highlights from the past two years with Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, John Harbaugh and others. It will be nearly seven hours of conversation with Baltimore Ravens who have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

The book is 480 pages, chock full of stories, background, behind-the-scenes information told in 22 chapters from the firing of Brian Billick to the hiring of John Harbaugh to the drafting of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to the 2012 season and the Super Bowl XLVII win and parade down Pratt Street and celebration inside the stadium back in February.

And the best part of the book or books? They both have happy endings. If you love the Baltimore Ravens, you’ll love the book(s).

It’s the best work of my career and I know once you read it you’ll agree. Virtually every review has been a 5-star compliment since the book was released in June 2013.

Here are two links to excerpts from Purple Reign 2:

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

And here’s another from Chapter 10 involving Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti’s cash showdown in August 2012.

 

BUY PURPLE REIGN HERE:

Here’s our shopping cart for all things Purple Reign, new and old:

Purple Reign V.I.P. Box Set (HOLIDAY DISCOUNT)

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001) hardback 2nd edition

WNST Purple Reign Radio Memories (6 CD’s)

RAY 2:52/BELIEVE IN JOE New Orleans poster

Full color 12X18 poster of Purple Reign 2 cover (featuring fabulous artwork of local sports cartoonist Mike Ricigliano) that is suitable for autographs/framing or your mancave wall

And if you buy this deluxe package, make sure you let me know how to personalize the new book for you below:

$59.95 plus S&H

$49.95 WITH FREE SHIPPING!!!!!

How do we sign Purple Reign 2?

 

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Purple Reign Both Books Hardbound

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001)

$49.99 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story BOOK ONLY (hardback)

$26.95 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac BOOK ONLY (hardback)

$24.95 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign Radio Memories — a 6 CD set of WNST purple interviews with stars & heroes of Super Bowl XXXV & Super Bowl XLVII

Nearly seven (7) hours of classic audio conversations including the life story of Arthur B. Modell in his words

$19.95 plus S&H

 

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FOR E-BOOKS AND E-READERS

Both Purple Reign: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story & Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac are NOW AVAILABLE:

Click here to purchase via Smashwords for most e-formats

Click here to purchase via Amazon for Kindle

 

 

 

 REVIEWS FOR PURPLE REIGN 2:

By JL
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
If you want to read game reviews about the 2012 Ravens, just looks online. If you want to read the story of the 2012 Ravens, if you want to relive the journey of the 2012 Ravens then read Purple Reign 2. This book cover so much history about the Ravens and is told through the eyes of Baltimore’s own award winning Journalist, Nestor Aparicio.The history of the Ravens is recapped from a fans perspective with inside information. Aparicio makes you feel as if you are in the Ravens Locker Room, draft war room and the sidelines. Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Art Model, Steve Biscotti, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh all provide Aparicio with amazing insight and recap events of the 2012 journey in a way never imagined. A must read for all football fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have if you’re a ravens fan. August 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The interviews make it all worth it. He goes into detail how some of the players were chosen in the draft. Honestly I couldn’t put the book down. You get to have a better insight and understand the different players in the team. If you’re a ravens fan, this is one book you definitely should have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ravens History August 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Nestor gives you behind-the-curtains access of the Ravens run to the Super Bowl!!! Amazing insight to the players, coaches and owners. A must have for every Ravens fan!!!
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Format:Kindle Edition
Nestor Aparicio is a true fan of the Ravens and his passion is what makes this book so great.. All of the “behind the scenes” moments that he describes in detail, show all of the hard work that went into this book.. A Ravens fan can open this book at any point and be captivated.. The 2012 season was a great ride and this book puts all of the pieces together.. From process of the hiring of Coach John Harbaugh to the magical win of Super Bowl XLVII, a true page turner.

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Ravens issue statement in response to recent Rice interviews

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Ravens issue statement in response to recent Rice interviews

Posted on 03 December 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT FROM THE BALTIMORE RAVENS

KEVIN BYRNE – Senior Vice President of Public and Community Relations

“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. After conversations with Ray about what he wanted to say, we did provide talking points to Ray for this event. (Those talking points are [below]. 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.

“We understand that the NFLPA also provided Ray talking points and that he repeatedly looked at these on his phone during the May 23 press event.”

Talking points provided by the organization:

• I Take Full Responsibility For What Happened That Night. I Apologize…(list all you want to address)

• We Will Not Let This One Night Define Who We Are

• I Was Wrong. I Made a Mistake.

• I Regret My Behavior. I’m Embarrassed.

• I Hold Myself to a Higher Standard and I Failed.

• We Can Do Something Going Forward By Admitting Our Mistakes and Making Sure We Serve as an Example of Doing the Right Things

• I Have Been Busted Up Over My Behavior. I’ve Been in Anguish. That Is Not the Way I Was Raised. I Am So Sorry Mom…And Janay’s Family

• I Pride Myself On Being a Good Example and Role Model to Younger People. I Failed Miserably

• Janay and I Are in Counseling, and We Will Continue This. We are Determined to, as Coach Harbaugh Says, Make This Right…COUNSELING HAS BEEN GREAT FOR ME AND US. I’VE TAKEN STEPS TO BE A BETTER HUSBAND, FATHER AND ROLE MODEL.

• I Completely Understand Any Person, Group or Company That Wants to Distance Themselves From Me. That’s My Fault. I Am Working to Re-Build That Trust, Especially With Young People Who Look Up to Me

• I Am Working To Be the Best Person I Can Be. We Are Working Together.

• We Are Building to Be the Best Partners We Can Be to Each Other and the Best Parents We Can Be to Rayven

• Thank you

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Rice wins appeal of indefinite suspension, cleared for NFL return

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Rice wins appeal of indefinite suspension, cleared for NFL return

Posted on 28 November 2014 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice has been cleared to return to the NFL.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled in favor of the 27-year-old’s appeal of an indefinite suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Sept. 8, the same day TMZ released a video of Rice striking then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the face in at Atlantic City casino elevator. Jones decided the NFL had unfairly punished Rice twice for the same act despite Goodell’s claim that the running back’s account of what had happened was ambiguous when they met in June.

“In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time,” Jones wrote in her decision. “Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated.”

Rice had initially been suspended two games — a punishment received with much public contempt — and was set to return to the Ravens in Week 3 before the second video was released the morning after the season-opening loss to Cincinnati. Baltimore terminated Rice’s contract moments before the NFL announced his indefinite suspension.

The NFL and the Ravens have maintained they never saw the video evidence of what happened inside the elevator of the Revel Casino, but Jones ruled that Rice’s story of what had happened was accurate and the video brought no new evidence that warranted a second suspension. General manager Ozzie Newsome stated publicly that Rice never lied to him about what happened with Palmer, but team officials admitted seeing the graphic video changed their perception of the incident after standing by him for nearly seven months.

Jones ruled that any shock or outcry over the release of the inside-the-elevator video should not have influenced what was already a standing punishment.

“I do not doubt that viewing the video in September evoked horror in Commissioner Goodell as it did with the public,” Jones wrote. “But this does not change the fact that Rice did not lie or mislead the NFL at the June 16 meeting.”

The hearing took place in New York in early November with Rice, Goodell, Newsome, and others testifying.

Rice issued the following statement through the NFL Players Association after the decision was announced:

“I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisors, family, friends and fans — but most importantly, my wife Janay. I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions. I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes.”

In a statement, the NFL acknowledged it would not challenge Jones’ ruling.

“We respect Judge Jones’s decision to reinstate Ray Rice from his indefinite suspension for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy in an incident of domestic violence,” the league stated. “Ray Rice is a free agent and has been eligible to be signed by an NFL team since he was released by the Ravens. Based on Judge Jones’ decision, he will be eligible to play upon signing a new contract.”

Rice had technically been free to sign with another team, but the lifting of his suspension now makes him eligible to play after he was banned for the first 12 weeks of the season. It remains to be seen if a team would be interested in the public relations distraction of immediately signing a player so closely linked with domestic violence, which remains a hot-button topic around the league.

The potential public backlash would be obvious, but Rice is also coming off the worst season of his career in which he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and gained only 660 rushing yards. Rice dropped weight this past offseason and appeared in good shape during training camp and the preseason, but it’s uncertain if any team would risk signing him to a contract at least between now and the end of the 2014 season.

“I hope he gets a second chance,” former Ravens teammate and close friend Torrey Smith said earlier this week. “We live in a country where you are supposed to truly get second chances, and our judicial system is based on that. It’s supposed to be, at least. It’s not always that way. But [I hope] he gets a chance to redeem himself and show people who he really is, because that guy on that tape made a bad decision.”

Rice also has a separate wrongful termination grievance against the Ravens. If he wins that, he could collect as much as $3.2 million in base salary originally owed this season, but that case is more complicated considering the latitude NFL teams have in releasing players.

What Friday’s decision really means for Rice in 2014 remains to be seen, but the NFLPA will view it as a significant victory challenging the autonomy of Goodell in such matters.

“This decision is a victory for a disciplinary process that is fair and transparent,” the union stated. “This union will always stand up and fight for the due process of our players. We take no pleasure in seeing a decision that confirms what we have been saying about the Commissioner’s office acting arbitrarily. The only remaining action is for NFL owners to embrace a fair process with a neutral arbitrator in all cases. The players thank Judge Barbara Jones for her time and thoroughness in this matter.”

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Rice reportedly files grievance against Ravens for wrongful termination

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Rice reportedly files grievance against Ravens for wrongful termination

Posted on 22 October 2014 by Luke Jones

In a move not terribly surprising given his current appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension handed down on Sept. 8, running back Ray Rice is now going after his former team as well.

Multiple outlets reported Tuesday night that Rice has filed a grievance against the Ravens for wrongful termination, challenging the organization’s decision to terminate his contract after the second video of the 27-year-old punching his then-fiancée was released by TMZ on the morning after the 2014 season opener. Rice was originally given a two-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and is challenging that the collective bargaining agreement only permits one punishment for an infraction.

If successful, Rice would receive the $3.529 million in base salary that was scheduled to be paid to him after he served his original suspension. His appeal against the NFL’s indefinite ban will be heard on Nov. 5 and 6, but it remains unclear when his grievance against the Ravens will be heard.

As some sports legal experts have pointed out, Rice may face long odds in winning a dispute against the Ravens because of NFL teams’ wide freedom in cutting players with the lack of guaranteed contracts. The seventh-year running back was coming off a career-worst season in which he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, but the organization’s public support throughout his ordeal leading up to the release of the second video would appear to help his case.

Rice signed a five-year, $35 million contract in the summer of 2012 and has been paid $25 million of it entering the 2014 season.

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Bisciotti draws clear line in sand responding to ESPN report

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Bisciotti draws clear line in sand responding to ESPN report

Posted on 23 September 2014 by Luke Jones

If you listened to Steve Bisciotti’s words and read the Ravens’ lengthy response to the ESPN report accusing the organization of “purposeful misdirection” in its handling of the Ray Rice investigation, you were unlikely to feel dramatically different than you had entering Monday afternoon.

Short of documented proof of the organization securing a copy of the inside-elevator tape before the morning of Sept. 8, the saga has morphed into a case of “he said, she said” among the Ravens, the NFL, and Rice’s camp with the 100-percent truth somewhere in that abyss. Deciphering semantics, truths, half-truths, and outright lies from all involved parties hasn’t been easy for anyone trying to consume the story over the last seven months.

Most are going to believe what they want to believe by now.

But Bisciotti drew a clear line in the sand against the reporting of ESPN’s Don Van Natta and Kevin Van Valkenburg, emphatically claiming the story came from Rice’s attorney, agent, and friends invested in his appeal for NFL reinstatement. It’s a bold statement that will only encourage more digging from the media outlet — not to mention others — and could prove to be a fatal strategy should more be uncovered.

Taking nothing away from the journalistic work, the piece does present — at least in part — Rice’s side of the story, even with sources the reporters say are outside his camp. And, of course, Rice’s perspective needed to be presented, just like the Ravens and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have offered their accounts.

Unlike a fumbling and robotic Goodell speaking in New York last Friday, Bisciotti spoke with conviction — whether you believe him or not — and appeared human, at times charming and forthcoming when encouraging further questioning toward the end of his 48-minute press conference but also defiant and even dismissive of questions already answered in a release handed out to media just moments before the session began. The decision to issue the written response so close to the start of the press conference reeked of attempting to throw the media off-track and wasn’t a good look from a public relations standpoint.

The truth is Monday’s open forum with Bisciotti should have taken place two weeks ago in lieu of a few interviews with individual outlets in the days following Rice’s release. A press conference with the team’s owner should have happened long before the damning allegations were presented in the ESPN report last Friday.

“I’m sorry that we didn’t push harder to get that tape,” said Bisciotti, reiterating the same position he gave two weeks ago. “It seems to me, in hindsight, that we certainly had the leverage to say to Ray and his lawyer that we can’t have him play on our team until we see that last bit of evidence. That’s what we’re dealing with now.”

Whether subscribing fully to ESPN’s report of an egregious coverup or believing the Ravens’ account that essentially highlights the difference in perception between an open hand and a punch — should that have mattered anyway? — and makes the organization look incompetent at best, my mind keeps coming back to what Bisciotti said to The Sun the week of Rice’s release:

We kind of heard what we wanted to hear and imagined what we wanted to imagine because we loved Ray.

Even if the Ravens can successfully dispute the severity of some of the accusations presented in ESPN’s report, nothing said by Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, or head coach John Harbaugh has adequately refuted a position of — at best — willful ignorance throughout the ordeal. Bisciotti’s claim that he “wasn’t concerned or interested enough” to secure the video isn’t believable unless the Ravens truly wanted to remain in the dark beyond what was already written in the police report, what was seen in the first video released by TMZ, and what the accounts provided by Rice and head of security Darren Sanders said.

It was only after the second video came to light that the organization changed its tune. But Bisciotti’s words on Monday seemed to confirm it was all about public fallout and had little to do with their own horror of what happened in the elevator being worse than they claimed to have originally thought.

“If we had gotten the tape early on in the spring, and Roger had seen it, then I think that it would have been a precedent-setting, multi-game, maybe eight-game suspension, or maybe indefinite,” Bisciotti said. “I think it would have been something significant, and then that would have been taken out of our hands as a team, and we would have waited for Ray’s reinstatement, and maybe we wouldn’t have had to make a decision right then and there to cut him if he had been suspended indefinitely.

“But I believe that he would have a better chance of being forgiven [after] eight games or a whole year after that tape came out. If that tape came out in March or April, I don’t think people would have been aghast. I think that it would have raised the ire of the people, and I think Roger would have responded accordingly. And I think it would have been a one-time shot, and I think it would have been significant, but Ray would have been in the same position of, ‘Do we try and appeal it?’”

In the big picture, what’s done is done and while there are more chapters to come in this story, there’s no disputing the extensive — perhaps, irreparable — damage that the Ravens have done to their own reputation. Bisciotti says no one in the organization will lose their job in the fallout, but that’s only if there is no concrete evidence that implicates him or any other members of the Ravens’ brass in an alleged coverup.

The owner’s strong stance Monday put his organization further under the microscope for scrutiny and investigation than the Ravens had already been.

Telling the truth or not is one thing, but Bisciotti and the Ravens need to be positive a smoking gun isn’t waiting to be uncovered to bring them down.

“If all I can do is try and correct our wrongs and do what we think is right, that decision to cut Ray was that,” Bisciotti said. “I can’t please those people that think we didn’t do enough.”

For the sake of the Ravens, Bisciotti better know he did the right thing on Monday and didn’t simply escalate a battle that he ultimately won’t win.

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After experiencing perhaps the most tumultuous week in franchise history, the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium trying to avoid an 0-2 start by welcoming the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers to town for a nationally-televised Thursday night game.

While the rest of the nation continues to focus on the fallout of the Ray Rice situation, the Ravens must turn their focus toward the field in trying to win their first divisional game. According to NFL Network research, no team has ever started with two divisional home losses to begin a season and gone on to make the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb will not play as he continues to knock off rust and go through practices to make sure his back is 100 percent. Webb told reporters on Tuesday that he expected to play against Pittsburgh, and he has practiced fully for the last two weeks. The sixth-year defensive back was stricken with back spasms on the second day of full-squad workouts on July 25 and missed the entire preseason, making concerns more about rust than how his back feels at this point with so little time to get in playing shape.

“I’m ready to get it going,” Webb said on Tuesday. “Who better than Pittsburgh? I’m ready. I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to get out there and get everything going and just play some football.”

His absence once again leaves the Ravens with only three true cornerbacks on the 46-man game-day roster — Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, and Asa Jackson. Safety Anthony Levine is capable of playing cornerback in the event of an injury, and rookie safety Terrence Brooks saw extensive playing time at the inside nickel spot during the preseason.

The Ravens announced prior to the game that Brown would start in Webb’s place for the second straight week.

The only other player who appeared on the Ravens’ final injury report this week was right guard Marshal Yanda (foot), who was listed as probable and was active for Thursday’s game.

Other than defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi — who replaced running back Fitz Toussaint on the 53-man roster earlier in the week — the rest of the Ravens’ inactives remain unchanged as inside linebacker Arthur Brown is once again a healthy scratch.

For Pittsburgh, running back Dri Archer (ankle/knee) and wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) were officially ruled out on Wednesday.

Baltimore is meeting Pittsburgh for the 37th time in the regular-season history of the franchise. The Steelers hold the 20-16 edge in the all-time series and are 3-0 in the postseason, but the Ravens are 9-9 against them in Baltimore. Including the postseason, 11 of the last 14 games between these AFC North rivals have been decided by four or fewer points.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Pittsburgh sports white tops and gold pants for Week 2.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Ed Hochuli.

The forecast in Baltimore called for temperatures to drop into the high 70s shortly after kickoff with no sizable chance of precipation and winds below 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Here are Thursday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
CB Lardarius Webb
WR Michael Campanaro
LB Arthur Brown
OL John Urschel
OL Jah Reid
WR Deonte Thompson
DT Christo Bilukidi

PITTSBURGH
QB Landry Jones
WR Martavis Bryant
RB Dri Archer
WR Lance Moore
C Wesley Johnson
G Chris Hubbard
NT Daniel McCullers

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Luke Jones

A national audience will be hoping the Ravens fail when they take on the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Virtually everyone outside Baltimore will be rooting against an organization viewed in a negative light for its handling of the Ray Rice saga over the last seven months before the ultimate release of the disgraced running back earlier this week. The integrity of the organization has come into question as owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged in a letter Tuesday that the Ravens needed to do more to investigate what happened between Rice and then-fiancée Janay Palmer instead of simply deferring to the New Jersey legal system.

Needless to say, it’s been a rocky 19 months for the Ravens since winning Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013. In addition to Rice, four players on the current 53-man roster were arrested this offseason while there have been other examples of questionable choices — don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the “Sweet Pea” saga — over the last 12 months or so.

The former heart and soul of the Ravens — Ray Lewis and Ed Reed — have both questioned leadership at different times over the last calendar year. The roster turnover has been clear with only 25 members of the current 53-man roster having been with the organization for Super Bowl XLVII. Veteran leaders have departed in addition to Lewis and Reed, including Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk.

And even if too much emphasis is put on the impact of leadership and off-field issues in terms of on-field results, Baltimore has gone a mediocre 8-9 in the regular season since raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. However you want to explain it, the Ravens haven’t been particularly good since winning their second NFL championship.

Is it fair to ask if the Ravens, who long held an excellent reputation, have lost their way? There’s little disputing that the aura of the organization has taken a severe hit over how it handled the Rice situation over these last seven months.

“I don’t think of it that way,” said head coach John Harbaugh when asked if he’s concerned about the Ravens’ image taking a hit. “You do your best with the situations that are put before you and try to handle things the right way and do the right thing.”

Shifting their attention back to the field after a few difficult days, the Ravens are as close as you get to facing a “must-win” game in Week 2 as they’ve already lost to the Cincinnati Bengals and would fall to 0-2 with a defeat to the hated Steelers Thursday night. According to NFL Network research, no team has ever made the playoffs after dropping two divisional games at home to start a season.

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have dealt with difficult losses before and have consistently answered the bell in the face of adversity. But Rice’s release stems from something that goes beyond football or the business of the salary cap. It isn’t the loss of a standout player because of retirement or a season-ending injury but due to his cruel actions that the entire world saw on video Monday morning.

And players have faced more questions about Rice than ones about what it will take to slow Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers this week. The focus began to shift on Tuesday when some semblance of normalcy — in the context of preparing for a football game, of course — returned to the facility in Owings Mills, but the challenge of playing on a short week is hefty enough despite the Ravens owning the home-field advantage and seeing a familiar opponent.

“We’re going to be playing really soon, so we have to get our minds right,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “But more importantly, we have to do everything we can to physically feel good by the time that whistle blows on Thursday night, and that’s what we’re doing.”

While everyone else will be talking about the individual who is no longer with the organization on Thursday night, the Ravens must focus on getting off to a much quicker start offensively while also trying to slow a Steelers offense that produced 30 points and 490 yards against what was expected to be a good Cleveland defense last week. The general consensus among the so-called experts before the season was that Baltimore and Pittsburgh were fairly evenly matched — both finished 8-8 last year — so the the Ravens will need to hold serve on their home field and put the bad taste of last week’s loss behind them.

Over the course of his seven-year run in Baltimore, Harbaugh has typically been able to rally his team in these types of games to perform at their best and secure a much-needed win. But he hasn’t dealt with a situation quite like this before.

And there is evidence of cracks in the foundation — both on and off the field — since the Ravens reached the pinnacle of the NFL less than two years ago. We saw it late last year when the Ravens were 8-6 and needed only one win to secure their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason before losing their final two games by a combined 51 points.

A win calms nerves and puts the Ravens back at .500 as they receive the extra rest that follows a Thursday night game before preparing for a third straight division game. A defeat puts the Ravens in an early-season hole in the AFC North while the rest of the world mocks their misfortune.

The best teams come together under these circumstances, even when their organization is guilty of its own mistakes as the Ravens were with Rice. The lesser ones wilt under such adversity.

The Ravens know they already face a crucial game Thursday with the season less than a week old. They’re out to prove they haven’t lost their way on the field.

“It’s everything. You don’t want to come out of an 0-2 hole, especially giving up two at home,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Wins in the NFL are hard to come by, so that’s why you’ve got to win your home games. We unfortunately dropped one; [the Bengals] cashed in and they won one — a division game. We’ve definitely got to cover up some ground, but it all starts with this one on Thursday.”

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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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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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