Earlier this week, The Inquisitr reported that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was hit with a two-game suspension after video surveillance revealed that he assaulted his then-fiancee, Janay, in an elevator at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino back in February.
This suspension has drawn much criticism, including that of ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann. During his show, Olbermann showed the video of Ray Rice dragging an unconscious Janay out of the elevator. He went on to discuss how when Tennessee Titans player Albert Haynesworth stomped on the helmetless head of a Dallas Cowboys center, the NFL suspended him for five games.
Olbermann then ranted against the league and their punishment for Ray Rice. He also commented that for its women fanbase, the NFL just “wants your money; it will do nothing else for you.”
But Ray Rice has had some people rise to his defense. They are the team’s public relations senior vice president, Kevin Byrne, and owner Steve Bisciotti.
On his blog, The Byrne Identity, Byrne said that if he was asked about Ray Rice prior to the incident, he would say the same thing he is saying about him today.
“I would have said: ‘Ray’s a good guy. He’s smart. He might be the most popular person in our building,” he wrote.
Byrne added that Rice would go out of his way for community events, and he’s also a player someone could use “to lift a person in need, especially a child.”
“Ray is one of the guys who says, ‘Yes, I’ll help,'” he wrote.
Byrne continued by stating that just like everyone else, Rice “had a moment in his life he wishes he could take back.”
“But, he can’t. He got himself into that situation, and he’s paying for it,” he added. “And, he deserves this public and private flogging and the punishments that have come with it. Ray knows that better than anyone.”
Byrne also got a few comments from Bisciotti, who didn’t think Rice would need a blog to show the respect he gets from people. Bisciotti also doesn’t think it’ll “change the minds of those who don’t have anything to do with Ray.”
Bisciotti added that he and the rest of the team are “sad” that Ray Rice “tarnished his image.” However, those not affiliated with the team can’t understand how close everyone is to each other.
“No one outside, I’ve learned, can understand how we look at these guys as our sons and close friends as opposed to just employees,” Bisciotti added.
The owner continued by recalling the 2012 AFC championship game against the New England Patriots in which the Ravens lost. Bisciotti explained that he had some friends who told him how he “must hate Lee Evans or Billy Cundiff” for costing them a trip to the Super Bowl.
“It was the opposite — we felt for Lee and Billy,” he said. “I wished that they’d get another chance. I felt the need to protect them like I would one of my sons. It’s not like that in my other businesses.”
Bisciotti expressed the same feelings Byrne did about how everyone, including Ray Rice, has moments they regret.
“Ray showed great character for the six years I’ve known him,” the owner added. “He has shown remorse after a bad incident. It was out of character.”
Bisciotti added that now is not the time to “abandon” Ray Rice.
“You say we are a Ravens’ family,” he told Byrne. “I’ve come to believe that.”
[Featured image credit: Joe Montana’s Right Arm]
[Inline image credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images via ABC News]