**STEVE BISCIOTTI PRESS CONFERENCE
Steve, obviously this is a pretty aggressive approach. Why did you guys choose in this manner to respond to this story? (Jeff Zrebiec)"You think our response was aggressive?"
No, but why did you choose this manner to do this? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I'm not following you."
Why did you feel this step was necessary? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Because our integrity has been brought into question. Seems to me last week I was here, and our competence was being brought into question. From that article, it was obvious that now our integrity and our character were. So, we answered the questions based on the facts that we had."
Steve, what was your initial reaction when you saw [the ESPN article]. Appalled, insulted? How did you react, and is it still in your gut your distaste for what you read? (Dave Ginsburg)"What was my feeling when I read it? [My feeling] was a couple things: I think it says it took them 11 days to write it, but they gave us two hours to respond. They called Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations] and asked him to answer some questions, and from what I understand, [writer Kevin] Van Valkenburg had already tweeted out that there was a 'bombshell' coming. So, needless to say, he wasn't that interested in our answers if he had already written the thing and he was giving us an hour to respond to it. I thought that was a little unfair."
Steve, now that you've gone through this entire storyline process, as you've seen the media coverage, [and] as you've seen the ESPN.com article, from your side of the story, what is the part that you most feel is not getting out? (Gerry Sandusky)"I think it's getting out. What's obvious is that 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; and it's Ray's friends. They are building a case for reinstatement, and the best way to build a case for reinstatement is to make everybody else look like they're lying. Their accusations didn't jive with what we knew as fact."
In the short term with the statement we've just been issued, you tried to address specific points that you feel are inaccurate. In the long term, how long do you feel it's going to take to win back the trust of the fans and restore their trust to where it was before all this happened? (Joe Platania)"I don't know. I really don't. People are going to decide for themselves. Like I said, we admitted to a lot of things last week. And I had an interview with Jayne [Miller of WBAL], and I had an interview with Jeff [Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun], and I had an interview with James Brown [of CBS]. I answered 34 questions with James Brown. And then I found out this morning that there were only five of them on the news. I had thought that we had gotten our side of the story out, but as it turned out, very few of the 60 answers that I gave to those three sources were actually ever put out or published, or something like that. I realized then that I'd be getting a lot of the same questions because you all hadn't seen them."
Steve, how come you think the league, in this case, gave [Ray] Rice such leniency when the commissioner has been known to hand out harsher penalties? (Brett Hollander) "That's a good question, but history has shown that two games is the largest suspension for domestic violence in the league. There might be one game in some instances, but two was the max. I was expecting a minimum of two and I was expecting a maximum of four to six at the time, because that was being relayed to me [as] the typical suspension."
Steve, some of the strongest reaction to the entire case had included people who have called for the commissioner's job or for you to suspend or fire someone within your organization. What is your response to anyone who might have that opinion about what should be done at this point? (Mark Viviano) "I have a lot of respect for Roger [Goodell] and what he does, and that's par for the course for something like this. When [Robert] Mueller is done his investigation, they are going to see things that they can do better. We figured out pretty much the few things that we could have gotten done. I mentioned last week a couple times that through the course of this, when they dropped Janay's [Rice] charge and raised Ray's to a felony in the third degree, that's when we backed off and basically got in line between the prosecutor and the NFL. I said last week, [and] I'll say it again: I'm sorry that we didn't push harder to get that tape. 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. I am thoroughly aware of what the league expects the team to do in instances like this. And the people in my organization did their jobs – their jobs as they are defined and as they are expected to be met by the league. So, nobody is losing a job here. I'm very confident of that."
Steve, in this message you have, "Here are the texts not as told by someone, and then misquoted in the article, but by verbatim," and we have the texts here. What was your reaction when you saw the texts and the reaction that Ray [Rice] had in that article to the texts? And actually seeing the texts here, what's your response to these text messages? (Reporter)"I have no reaction to them. My reaction was my communication with Ray. I have no reaction to my own text. The reaction that I had to one of his friends saying that he couldn't believe his eyes … I think that the facts speak for themselves, that that story was manufactured to try and tie my promise to take care of him down the road as 'hush' money. Let me say, if I cut a guy making $6 million a year … If I'm promising him to be by his side and hire him for $100,000 a year five years from now so that he can help Harry Swayne in our player development department … If that is considered worthy of him going along, I find that rather absurd, because it would take him 250 years to make back the $25 million that I took away from him by cutting him."
Have you had any more text messages with him? (Reporter) "No."
Could you clarify what appears to be conflicting statements between the letter you sent out to the fan base saying you had not seen the video until it was released two weeks ago and Ozzie [Newsome] saying that Ray [Rice] told the truth? The perception is that Ozzie and you have different accounts. (Jerry Coleman)"I think it's in there, isn't it? It's in the document."
Steve, the ESPN article on Friday clearly paints a picture of an organization – your organization – that it tried to mislead, misdirect, deceive and then [hide] an allegation of domestic violence in dealing with the league to get Ray Rice a good deal. How do you respond to that picture that is presented in that article? (Jayne Miller)"It's a bad picture, and that's why we responded with the facts that we know them to be. I'm not happy with it. Like I said, [it was] better late than never when we made the decision to cut Ray, and I stand by that. Somebody else can say that it's too late now. Well, I can't respond to that. If all I can do is try and correct our wrongs and do what we think is right, that decision to cut Ray Monday was that. I can't please those people that think we didn't do enough."
*Steve, in the report they say that Darren [Sanders] learned a few hours after the incident details of the video. First, is that true? And, if it is true, did he share that information of the details of what was really on the video to anyone in the organization? *(Jamison Hensley) "I believe he did. I believe he communicated off of the description that that policeman [gave], which was off of what we now have as an incredibly shaky video. Have you seen that? OK, so that was what the policeman was describing the scene to Darren off of that original botchy tape that kept going backwards and things like that. So, [he gave] his description to Darren, Darren took notes and gave his description as he understood it to John [Harbaugh] and Ozzie [Newsome], I believe."
Dick [Cass] says here that he does regret the fact that you all decided to leave the fact-finding to the court system and the league. Can you just take us inside those conversations? Once you knew that [Ray] Rice's attorney had that video, why did you decide that you wouldn't conduct an investigation – that you would step back? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"We decided it because it had been elevated to a felony, and so it was very clear to us that they were going to get any piece of information they wanted. They have the power to get anything they want. We had already tried and were rebuffed when it came to that video, which was the only thing we had asked for and the only thing we had been turned down [on] a few times. It was a simple business decision to stand down when that was elevated to a felony."
When you say, "They have the power to get anything," by "They," do you mean the courts or the NFL? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"The prosecutor. I'm quite sure that when that prosecutor decided to drop Janay's misdemeanor and elevate Ray's to a felony, that they were going to be very aggressive in their pursuit of justice."
But were you personally curious? (Aditi Kinkhabwala)"No, I was not."
What types of conversations were you able to have with the NFL regarding the investigation, as far as who would do the investigating? Did the NFL tell you to do your own investigation? Were there conversations like that? (Reporter)"No, there weren't. They didn't tell us to do anything. Dick [Cass] had called the league attorney, maybe, a couple times. So my point was, 'Dick, keep me informed. Let me know.' If Dick heard anything, he called the league and said, 'Is there any more information?' One time I saw Roger [Goodell] at the NFL owners' meetings and I said, 'Where are we with this?' and he said, 'Nowhere until the police investigation has concluded.' That's the extent of what I did at that time. I thought that was enough. We can't lead an investigation and be stepping on the prosecutor's shoes and the NFL. We just can't do it."
Do you feel now regretful that you didn't? (Jill Sorenson) "Well, I feel regretful because in my heart of hearts, if we had gotten the tape early on in the spring, and Roger [Goodell] had seen it, then I think that it would have been a precedent-setting, multi-game, maybe eight-game suspension, or maybe indefinite. 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 onetime 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?'"
**Steve, was there ever a consideration given to having Ray Rice on the exempt list/commissioner's permission the way they've done with Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy? *(Aaron Wilson) *"It's the first time I've ever heard about that list. From what I understand, they say they dusted it off. So, I didn't know, but no, there wasn't [consideration]. No, to us, the only conversation that we had was in that morning, was when we decided to cut Ray, the question was, 'Should we give the NFL the first chance?' And we decided, 'No.' At that point, we were not going to sit and wait for somebody else, because we were all already regretting. When I saw [the video] in the morning, that's what I thought of for two-and-a-half hours before I met with my guys here. That was the one prevailing thought, 'Why didn't we get that video, and how could the league not have seen that video? How could they not get that video?' So, that was what I was upset about, and still am."
And just to follow up on that, was there ever a consideration just to say to Michael Diamondstein [Ray Rice's attorney], "We see the tape, that you got for discovery, and until then we really don't…" (Aaron Wilson) "No, because again, if it had been brought up before we had thought about that, that would have been pretty simple. That would have been pretty simple to do after [Rice] got probation. And I think that we had the power – and I did not think of it then, none of us did, and obviously the league didn't either, because either one of us, or both of us could have said, 'We're not reinstating him, and I'm not going to keep you on my team.' So, with the threat of being cut, or the threat of being suspended, the onus would have been on them to produce that video, and we didn't. So, that's where we fail. That's the big fail. If we had gotten the video, if we had thought of that. But no, I wasn't curious to see the video after misdemeanors that night, and [Ray Rice's] lawyer saying that this is a 'misunderstanding,' and that this thing should be dropped to probation. I really lacked a whole lot of interest, zero desire to go back and see that tape, because if I had, I might have said, 'I'm not doing a thing until we see it.'"
Steve, I want to clarify something from your statement on the issue of "leniency," and whether you guys asked for any leniency. It's a fairly standard practice in professional sports [with] a disciplinary action for the team to be in contact with the commissioner's office, and mitigating information they can give. The statement in the article says that four sources say Ravens executives – including yourself, Dick Cass and Ozzie Newsome – urged [Roger] Goodell to give [Ray] Rice no more than [a] two-game suspension. Do you all unequivocally – the three of you unequivocally – deny that in here, it does say Ravens executives, in general, are you saying that no one in the organization was in contact with the commissioner about the disciplinary action, and offering any kind of mitigating circumstances? (Peter Schmuck) "No, the only mitigating circumstance is to write character references to [Roger Goodell], and we did. We were one of many that sent them in. But honestly, no, because I don't think that the league would take too kindly to us badgering them in saying, 'Come on, make …' I didn't really care if it was going to be a precedent-setting, four- or six-games [suspension]. I would have begged Ray not to appeal it. I would have said, 'It's not worth it. It's not worth looking like you're not satisfied with your punishment.' So, I expected four or six games, and I was as surprised as everybody else that it was two [games]. But again, for that article to make it sound like [Roger and I] are best buddies, because we both like to golf, and [that] so clearly I must have asked him to do me a favor in front of the whole world to see … You would think that if I could get a favor out of Roger, it certainly isn't going to be something that's publicized nationally. So, it was a standard two-game [suspension], and I was prepared for four or six games."
To follow up really quickly, was there any discussion at that time of you adding to [the suspension]? (Peter Schmuck) "No."
Steve, how have Dick [Cass] and Ozzie [Newsome] handled this situation – I know you talk to them regularly – and what plans do you have in mind, maybe if this situation happens again next year? Have you guys come up with a plan? (Mike Preston) "We have a lot of planning to do. We have a lot of planning to do. I can assure you that the flow of information between security and Dick and Ozzie and John [Harbaugh] and I will be a whole lot more detailed, documented, recorded if we need to. If a situation like this came up again, trust me, we're prepared. If it happens again in a year from now, not only will we be more prepared, but I think it's pretty clear that the league is going to be handling it a whole lot differently."
And how about Ozzie [Newsome] and Dick [Cass], how are they handling this, how are they handling this whole situation? (Mike Preston) "You know what? When your integrity is questioned, it's pretty humbling. So like I said, last week it was our competence being questioned mostly, and now it's integrity, and, 'Did we lie? Did we twist things?' So, I think [Cass and Newsome] are handling it like men. They're handling it exactly the way I would expect them to handle it. And I think that they are embarrassed about our shortcomings, but think they're angry being questioned on their character."
*Steve, you mentioned that you were surprised that the league hadn't seen the tape. Has the past week made you question your own confidence in Roger Goodell and his leadership in the NFL? *(Rick Maese) "No, not really – not Roger. I think that what we're seeing is that the league never elevated domestic violence to the platform that it should have been on relative to some of these other offenses – bar fights and marijuana possession and things like that. So no, I haven't lost faith in Roger. This is as good a chance for this league as any. I really believe – like Roger said the other day – that sports is an avenue, sports is a vehicle for change. And I'm quite comfortable that what we're dealing with from a local level. [Roger Goodell is] dealing with [it] ten-fold on a national level. So, I'm tired of … I'm willing to apologize forever, but my point is, apologies of where I fell short or our team fell short, aren't getting us anywhere. The question is, 'What are we going to do?' What are we going to do next year as a team, and what is the league going to do the next year or the next time this happens? And I would lose faith in the league if this happened next year, and their response is unsatisfactory. So, if I'm asking people to give me another shot, then I certainly would ask you to give the league office another shot."
Steve, when you did one of the interviews a couple weeks ago – I think it was the television interview – you said that you couldn't envision Ray [Rice] playing for the team again. Why did you make that decision then, and now that they kind of leaked those text messages as a part of this article, could you ever still see the situation where he could work for the organization in that capacity as you suggested in the text messages? (Steve Davis) "Thank you, that's a great question, and yes I could. [Ray Rice] will not play for us. But what his lawyer is forcing him to do to prepare for this [appeal], I'm not holding against him. So, I'll stick with what I thought of last week before that article came out, and [Rice's] friends started making things up. I'm very comfortable that it's easy for me to forgive Ray, because he is getting advice that I don't necessarily agree with, but I'm not going to hold that against Ray."
To follow up with that, what was it about Ray [Rice] that you decided, "Well you can't play for me again, but I could employ him again?"(Steve Davis) "Because I could employ him … When you listen to Cris Carter on [ESPN], aren't you struck with how honest he is about his past failings? This is a guy that was a drug addict, that was kicked off a team, that got straight and became a Hall of Famer, and now he's up there. So, that's why Cris is asked to speak at the Rookie Symposium. That's why we asked Donte Stallworth to talk to our players when he was here on an internship, because people that redeem themselves are the best ones to lead others. So, I believe that this was Ray's one terrible moment, and so I have all the faith in the world that if he could never get hired by the NFL again, that he's going to go on to bigger and better things. And in my mind, I thought, 'Well, if he's going to spend his life advocating against domestic violence, nobody is going to pay him for that necessarily, but I could hire him to work with Harry [Swayne, the Ravens' director of player development] and help lead these people.' And Harry doesn't have personal stories of redemption that Ray would have. So, I believe in my heart that Ray would be a great addition to us when it comes to trying to steer these guys from what they're saying, young men to grown men. We're not starting with a fresh product. We're starting with 22-year-olds. They're grown men, so they're going to make mistakes. And I would hope that Ray would be a great asset to us down the road, or any other team or any other organization."
I have two questions for you: Why did you feel like you needed to see the videotape for there to be all this public furor over what happened on the videotape in order to cut [Ray Rice] from the team? (Juliet Macur) "You're going back too far. So what you're saying is should I have cut him in February after I saw the first tape? Is that your question?"
* Why did it take basically the whole nation looking at this videotape and saying, "This was wrong," for you guys to finally decided, "OK, maybe would should cut him."? *(Juliet Macur) "Equal misdemeanors. Promises for probation. I think this is a society thing, so as much as I would like to tell you that I should have stood up and said that, 'The hell with the way the world views this; we're going to take a stand above better and bigger than anybody else,' I'm not that good. Alright? I'm not that honorable, I guess, that I was not prepared to take the worst case punishment against somebody I have incredibly loving feelings for, because I cared about it."
Steve, would you describe this as the greatest crisis that you've faced in your time leading the Ravens, and how do you respond to … There was a suggestion on Forbes that you could be ultimately forced to sell the team in this situation (Childs Walker) "Clearly, it's the worst crisis. I think that you could take all the other mini crises together, and alone this would be the biggest crisis compared to everything else combined. I didn't see the Forbes Magazine article saying that I could be forced to sell. That would be interesting. That would be interesting. If they force me to sell, then I guess I'll sell."
You don't think that it is likely [to sell the team]? (Childs Walker) "You know what? It's the first I've heard about it. I don't work that hard anyway. So if I sold the team, it's not like I would be losing 60 hours a week."
Steve, you've had to react here to numerous opinions about what's going on. One most recent was Ray Lewis. **I don't know if you heard what he had to say regarding "this wasn't the organization he left." Some people were put off by that. Did you hear that, and do you have a response to what Ray Lewis said on ESPN? *(Mark Viviano) *"I didn't hear him say it directly. I think somebody else said that it has been a year-and-a-half since Ray [Lewis] has been gone. If Ray could have prevented all of this from happening, then he's even more powerful than I thought he was, more influential than I thought he was. And I'm not even saying that tongue in cheek. I literally have a hard time believing that this wouldn't have happened if Ray was 32 years old and still had four years left in our organization. So, I'm glad he's that confident."
Is this going to lead to, or is there in effect now, a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence? (Bruce Cunningham) "I give you my word that some things are going to change. I give you my word. I think that's pretty safe [to say]. This is something that we're going to deal with personally with the Ravens, and I assume you're just talking about the Ravens, right?"
And the NFL, as well. (Bruce Cunningham) "Well, again, our standards – whatever the NFL's are, ours will be as much, if not more. Trust me, every draft we have players that we take off the board for these kinds of instances, because at that starting point, why would you put yourself through that? Can we avoid situations like Ray Rice's? Absolutely not. Will we handle it differently? One hundred percent I guarantee you we will. But will it be the minute it happens? Do we cut him? Because we are so close to bordering on a slippery slope the other way with this whole scarlet letter thing. There was a letter that the woman that accused [Chicago Bears wide receiver] Brandon Marshall … [She sent] a letter to the league saying, 'I was coerced to do this by family to get money from him.' You can bet there are some opportunistic people out there that are going to look at this zero tolerance place we're getting to or going to get to, and they're going to say, 'Boy, this is really, really going to be easy to threaten and get some money, because the minute I threaten him in-season, he gets cut and suspended for six games' or, like I said, as far as I'm concerned it can be a year. But when other people are then motivated to do that, then you're going to get to a point where some people are going to be very, very falsely accused. Where we end there, hopefully it's fair on both sides."
Steve, when you go back to February and everything you know about the decisions that were made along the way, it involved you, [Dick] Cass, Ozzie Newsome, coach [John] Harbaugh [and] perhaps other people in the organization that we may not know about. Were there any women involved in any of these decisions from February through till now? (Reporter) "No. We don't have a female president or G.M. or coach, so to that extent, no. If I can get Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations] out someday, maybe we'll consider replacing him with a female. (laughter) But it's not in our structure, and it's not something that you'd pull in a representative group of females that work here and say, 'Hey, we're making these big decisions,' because unfortunately we were not making any decisions. We were letting it play out. There wasn't a whole lot to gather around and talk about."
Speaking of Kevin [Byrne], he said on Saturday this has been an organization of transparency. Why did it take your hand to be forced to put out all these details? (Jon Meoli)"The what?"
Why did it take your hand to be forced by the ESPN report to put out all these details that might've explained some of the actions? (Jon Meoli) "What actions are you explaining? The things in the [document] are refuting what ESPN wrote. [Do] you think I should've come out with those things just in case somebody accuses us?"
Well, for instance, what Darren [Sanders] saw and the chain of events that he passed along – things like that. (Jon Meoli) "I'm completely lost. You're going to have to either give me a better question or a different question or rephrase it. I don't know what you mean. We responded to an article that questioned our integrity and our character on Friday. These are the answers."
I guess I'm asking … There are specific details in here, such as Darren's contact with the police. (Jon Meoli) "I didn't wait. That was what James Brown interviewed me about, and that's what Jayne [Miller] interviewed me about, and that's what Jeff [Zrebiec] interviewed me about. I answered 60 questions last week, and I didn't think I'd be up here again until [I read] that article that ESPN put out. (Speaking to Kevin Byrne) *Maybe you can get them copies of it. Again, I just found out a few hours ago that my James Brown [interview] was reduced to five questions, and when I read the transcript there were 34 questions. *(Speaking to Kevin Byrne) I don't know – can they get that, the whole 34? Because I don't think CBS is just going to give it to them, right?" (Kevin Byrne: "I don't know if they'll have the video on their site. Sometimes that happens.") "OK. I'd just rather … If you read the 60 questions that I answered, then you would realize that all I'm doing today is responding to that article, and that I think you'd find it a fairly complete interview on those issues."
Steve, there was a question about believing Ray [Rice] when he eventually told you the story … (Jerry Coleman) "He didn't tell me the story."
OK, when you had heard the story that he had told … (Jerry Coleman)"Correct."
He was apparently under the influence that night of alcohol, so how believable was he after getting his account knowing that he was under the influence? Shouldn't that be a consideration maybe in taking his account? (Jerry Coleman) "It was the only account we had. I mean, it was the only account we had, so we took it. Take into account, meaning what?"
Well what Ray [Rice] told you was what he believed occurred that night as he was under the influence of alcohol … (Jerry Coleman) "Right, and then a few days later Darren [Sanders] had it described to him from a policeman watching that fuzzy, bouncing tape. Ray's description of it was somewhat accurate with that, within what was described to Darren."
I'm trying to clarify whether or not you felt like you were misled because of that. (Jerry Coleman) "Because he was under the influence, it's very possible that Ray's explanation was not accurate because he was drunk, or because he was embarrassed, or because he was humiliated. There's a lot of motivation to maybe not be as graphic as what we saw in that tape two weeks ago, and alcohol would've been one of them."
Steve, I'm wondering if the organization gets what some people are upset about. I read your letter to the stakeholders because I am one of them, and I read 2,200 comments afterwards. Most of them seemed to be upset that you released Ray [Rice] that quickly after seeing the video. Are you worried that you can't win on one side, and yet you can't win on the other? (Stan Charles) "And we knew that, yes. I have heard opinions that are not just one or the other. It's like a wheel – there are 20 different positions that people are taking. It's crazy, and every time I read one, I'm like, 'Well that wouldn't have, that would've …' Then they would've been happier by not releasing him, or getting the league to suspend him but then not cut him. There are a couple different iterations that you can go through and say that … A lot of people have their own opinions about how this all should've went down, but we just had to do what we thought was – that we all agreed was – the right thing to do that Monday morning."
And my only follow-up to that is: Are you confident you're responding to the right side of the argument now? (Stan Charles) "Yes. It was the lesser of two evils. There was no doubt in my mind that I knew we'd be criticized regardless, but criticized for not cutting him, to me, was something that the five men in that room couldn't live with. This we could, and we could rise up and we could then at least be on the side of the victim, and it's not just Janay [Rice]. The victim is we're not going to put up with this. We're going to elevate this way past any other problem in the NFL. Any of these other things that possibly get people suspended, this is going to be the scarlet letter one – this is going to be the one, and you're going to see that. Those are the positive changes that are going to help our league and our team earn back some respect and be leaders in that fight, and hopefully, it'll free up some police and some prosecutors to say, 'The public is demanding that we treat this differently. The public is demanding more.'"
You've repeatedly talked about how much you love Ray Rice. Is this a personal struggle to reconcile that video with the Ray Rice you love, and now, do you look at all of your players differently? Will you look at all of your players differently now? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "No, I won't. No, because I can't. I'm 54 years old. No, I just can't change on a dime and say, 'Now I'm going to look at you all …' I told them all before they left in July after the minicamp … I spoke to the team and I said, 'It is healthy to be paranoid. Every minute you're out – when you're getting showered, when you're getting dressed – be paranoid. Say to yourself [that] tonight's the night somebody is going to put me in a bad situation, or I'm going to [find] myself in [a bad situation]. When you walk into a bar or a restaurant or a night club, I want you to look around – pick out a stranger and go, "That's the guy that's going to pick a fight with me tonight." It's not him, but if you're thinking that, you're going to be a lot closer to the man that you want to be by the time you walk out of there.' So, it's really healthy to be paranoid when you're out and about. I want them to be paranoid, but I'm not going to be paranoid of them. I'm not going to look at my guys and go, 'I wonder which one is the next one that's going to disappoint us.' I might as well get out of the business if I'm going to look at them all as future trouble."
Steve, you're saying there are several inaccuracies in the ESPN article and they only gave you two hours to respond on Friday. This article made the rounds all over the weekend. ESPN is a broadcast partner; obviously Ray Lewis works for ESPN. Have you had any contact with ESPN, the network, and the people that may be in charge of that organization [to discuss] moving forward what you guys are going to do? (Peter Schrager)"No, I haven't. One of the two writers … The other one I don't know. Obviously, a lot of you guys know Kevin Van Valkenburg. I thought Kevin was one of the best writers *The [Baltimore] Sun *ever had. I gave him a compliment one time after an article that he had written, and I said, 'You're the best,' and two weeks later he … I walked him up to my office just because our conversation went that way, and he told me that he was leaving for ESPN. I'm not mad at those guys for writing the article. I'm really not. There are a whole lot of [media]. There are more of you than there are players in the NFL, and you have to produce a lot of stuff. I'm not inclined to blame them for writing this. I wish that they had at least acknowledged that during their fact-finding they were getting a majority of this story from people who are paid to work to get Ray's suspension overturned. It just would've been – just like you all write at the end [saying], 'Full disclosure: I used to work for this …' Man, it would've been nice if they said, 'Keep in mind that most of the people we've interviewed here are [Rice's] friends and his agents and his lawyers.' That would've been nice, because maybe people would've looked at it and said, 'Let's keep that in mind when we read it, too.'"
Have you ever met the trainer who is sourced throughout it? (Peter Schrager) "No."
If the Ravens organization is not guilty of a cover-up, as ESPN alleges, what, if anything, are you guilty of? (Peter Alexander) "What are we guilty of? I guess it is that one thing, that if we had pressed for the tape, we would've gotten it to the league. If I had pressed the league to get the tape, the league would've gotten it. That's what I believe."
Roger Goodell in the "Bountygate" situation said of [Saints head coach] Sean Payton, basically, that ignorance was not an excuse. Why is ignorance an excuse here? (Peter Alexander) "An excuse for what?"
An excuse for an insufficient response, as you acknowledged, after the fact. (Peter Alexander)"But [Goodell] now has all the information, and now it's not an insufficient [response]. We cut [Rice] and he's indefinitely suspended."
I'm saying because initially, though, you guys, as you can see, were … (Peter Alexander) "Listen, I'm not here to talk about Roger [Goodell]."
[On the part of the Ravens], the fact that you guys did no homework, with or without the NFL – punishment could've been stiffer. So why shouldn't you be held to the same standard, I guess, that Sean Payton or other organizations have been held to? (Peter Alexander) "That there is no excuse that I didn't get the video?"
Yes. (Peter Alexander) "OK. There is no excuse for me to have not demanded that video, except I wasn't concerned or interested enough to demand it. [It] never crossed my mind. I'm sorry for that – deeply sorry for that. If it had crossed my mind, I would've demanded it. If I demanded it, I would've gotten it. And if I had gotten it, I would've forwarded it to the NFL, and it would've turned into an unprecedented suspension for Ray. And then, if that had happened in April, and [had] that turned into an eight-game suspension, then nobody would've seen Ray in a football uniform for seven months, at the very earliest, and then I think people might've been a little more forgiving of him and a little more capable of welcoming him back."
Steve, Janay Rice was up on that stage – the stage you're on – for the first press conference for this. Has the team planned to, or is there any way, you could reach out personally to her to apologize, or to somehow explain things further to her personally? (Gary Mihoces) "[That's] probably not in my best interest right now to do that. I communicated in my interviews last week that she's still the one that's suffering the most. She's still the one that's still suffering the most, because now she has an unemployed husband, and this thing is being replayed over and over in the press. There will be a time when I can meet with Ray and a time when I can meet with Janay, and I think that they're going to be two very successful members of our community in the years to come. I really believe that."