Fans of the Baltimore Ravens, which earlier this month cut star running back Ray Rice over a domestic violence scandal, are lining up today to exchange jerseys featuring the player’s name. It reportedly took more than an hour to get through the line around the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium.
This is the second day of the trade-in, just one of the recent developments in a scandal that started taking shape back in February, when Rice hit his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at a casino resort in Atlantic City.
From Baltimore, Christopher Connelly from member station WYPR reports:
“Lelloni Cheeks says she’d been a fan of the Ravens running back from the early days of his career.
” ‘You know, he was that little boy that lived next door,” she says, “and he made a very good name for himself.’
“But after seeing video of Rice knocking out his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino, Cheeks came to trade in her jersey.
” ‘He should have been the man here and backed away,’ she said. ‘That did not happen, and I’m sad for that.’
“The event has served as an opportunity to talk to her 15-year-old daughter about domestic violence. The two traded in their Ray Rice gear for vouchers to buy different jerseys: After long lines yesterday, the team’s most popular jerseys were sold out.”
The lingering fallout of a situation that was only made worse by the NFL’s admittedly lenient initial punishment of a two-game suspension for Rice – and then became a national discussion after video of the elevator altercation became public -– led league commissioner Roger Goodell to defend both the NFL and his own handling of the case again Friday, in a news conference in which he promised, “The same mistakes will never be repeated.”
Goodell also said he had not considered resigning from his position.
On Friday, Goodell was challenged by a reporter from TMZ, the site that first published the Rice video, who said the footage’s existence had been confirmed with only one phone call.
“You guys have a whole legal department,” TMZ’s Adam Glyn said, according to Mediaite. “Can you explain that? We found out by just one phone call.”
“I can’t explain how you got the information, only you can do that,” Goodell answered.
Today, ESPN is reporting on what it calls “a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night,” saying that the Baltimore team learned details of the incident in Atlantic City within hours of it happening.
ESPN says top Ravens officials were in frequent contact with Rice’s defense attorney, and that they urged Goodell to punish Rice with “no more than a two-game suspension.”