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Baltimore Ravens Meet Streisand Effect After Trying To Play 'Hide The Tweet'

from the blaming-the-victim dept

If you’re not a sports fan, you probably have no idea who the hell Ray Rice is. If you are a sports fan, you may know that he was recently banned from playing in the NFL. The background on this is quick. Months ago, TMZ released a video from an Atlantic City casino showing Rice dragging his then-fiance out of an elevator. It was clear she was out cold. It was also acknowledged by Rice that they had had an altercation, though specifics weren’t discussed. All the public knew was what they saw in the video and that Rice had agreed to enter into a treatment program to avoid prosecution, since his then-fiance refused to press charges, and indeed married Rice weeks later.

Once the public got wind of all this, Rice and his wife held a press conference. The Baltimore Ravens, the NFL team for whom Rice plays football, for reasons unfathomable to this writer, decided to live-tweet the press conference, including retweeting statements by Rice’s wife that made many people sick to their stomach.

It’s important to understand the context in which the Ravens were putting these tweets out. In the wake of the video of Rice dragging his fiance out of an elevator, and in conjunction with live-tweeting this press conference, the team, its executives, and its head coach were all rushing to the defense of Ray Rice. Even after the NFL suspended Rice a laughably lenient two games out of the season for the incident, the Ravens’ website was full of glowing reports about their running back, their head coach was talking about how Rice is a “heck of a guy” and the lenient suspension was a good lesson for children, and NFL broadcast partners were asking Rice what his wife’s words of encouragement were for him in a pre-season game. It’s in that context that the tweet above was put out, appearing to confirm that the woman who was knocked out cold had it coming to her. Then this video was released earlier this week.

That’s Ray Rice one-shot knocking his then-fiance out from inside the elevator. And just like that, the Baltimore Ravens decided it was time to delete many of their tweets supporting Rice, including the one above that referenced Janay Rice doing what way too many women do in domestic violence incidents: blame themselves. For some reason, whoever is running social media and/or PR for the Ravens apparently doesn’t understand the Streisand Effect, because deleting those tweets now has those same tweets back in the news today, now that the NFL has upped Rice’s suspension to indefinite. Instead of admitting any mistakes, or acknowledging any regrets, the team attempted to erase their misdeeds from the internet.

Sorry, guys, the internet doesn’t work like that. Enjoy all that terrible publicity you generated for yourselves! Next time maybe just don’t be so quick to try to blame the victim of a violent crime.

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Comments on “Baltimore Ravens Meet Streisand Effect After Trying To Play 'Hide The Tweet'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I have a really disheartening number of people on my FB feed that are supporting the Ravens in this, acting like the NFL and the Ravens didn’t have enough justification before this latest video to truly shitcan Rice.

I don’t have the heart to argue with them, but are they freaking kidding me? People are supposed to learn object permanence as toddlers. Ray Rice didn’t just magically appear in front of the elevator with his unconscious fiance, he knocked her out in there. He admitted doing it!

The NFL is a joke. Roger Goodell should be run out of town.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t even care about the NFL and have already seen at least one article pointing out someone is lying about if and when the NFL saw the newly released video. From news reports back in May you see reports that the NFL reviewed all video available, including everything the police had, stuff not released to the public. Yet now they’re saying they didn’t see this one. Hmmm…

On the plus side, Goodell has said they screwed this one up initially and it gave them the chance for a redo with appropriate penalties. So maybe it works out overall.

Manabi (profile) says:

Got to love those overlays linking to other videos

I love how the overlays begging you to click on them for other videos cover up the entire damn video. And you can’t close the top one in the embed, since the top dropdown covers the X you need to click every time you move your mouse over the video.

Worked okay on YouTube, but what’s the point of the huge overlays lasting the entire video? Why post it at all if you’re just going to cover it up with crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

The NFL and the Ravens both claim, astonishingly, that they did not see the video from inside the elevator and that their decisions after the fact were made based on the video outside the elevator and statements made after the fact.

That is patently absurd on so many levels.

When faced with this type of assault, the NFL, the team, the authorities, everyone involved not named Ray Rice should have all been asking to see the video from the inside of that elevator. Then and only then should decisions have been made about what to do about Ray Rice.

I believe they did see the video and, when his fiance decided not to press charges and knowing the other video was not made public, they decided to sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible in order to minimize the financial damage to the NFL and the team.

If TMZ was able to get the video, how can the NFL, the team and the authorities claim with a straight face that none of them saw it months ago? It strains credulity.

They are either dishonest for claiming they didn’t see when they actually did. Or, they are incompetent in not seeing it, when, given an average person on the street in the same situation, it would have been seen and made public and would have been used against the culprit.

The NFL, the team and the authorities are complicit in this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Even if they DIDN’T see the video (which I agree is an absurd claim to make) the first video alone still should have been enough to toss out Rice. I mean, we know he was dragging his unconscious fiance out of the elevator, and he ADMITTED hitting her! Did they REALLY need to see the actual video of him hitting her to think “gosh, maybe – just maybe – the guy who has admitted to knocking this woman unconscious actually knocked the woman unconscious!”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


The public was incredulous after seeing the first video. How does the NFL and the Ravens follow it up? A paltry 2 game suspension by the NFL, a contrived apology by Janay (seriously?! what on earth for?!), and flowery words of support for Rice from the Ravens. At that point, the public is now incensed that Rice got, what can’t even be accurately described as a slap on the wrist.

If he hits her now and gets away with it, he’ll hit her again in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If he hits her now and gets away with it, he’ll hit her again in the future.

Ah, but you see: now she’s his WIFE! That makes all the difference.

Yeah; it’s more like if they get drunk and fight now, they’ll do it in the future, and this will once again be the result. That’s why the major role of police officers these days is responding to “domestic disturbances”.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Rice had agreed to enter into a treatment program to avoid prosecution, since his then-fiance refused to press charges, and indeed married Rice weeks later.

And what do you want to bet that the team and/or the league was directly involved in her making that “decision” and getting him off the hook? This may seem like a shocking development, but in fact it’s all too common in the NFL. Over 30% of NFL players have been charged with a serious, violent crime, and the vast majority of the time, the league’s lawyers cover it up. Afterall, we can’t have the people we hire to make us millions upon millions of dollars by committing acts of violence in a controlled setting getting in trouble for committing acts of violence (and losing their ability to make us money!)

It’s really disgusting, when you get a glimpse inside the industry of football, to see how much more closely the NFL resembles an organized crime family than a legitimate sports league! The problem of covering up serious violent crimes is systemic, all the way from high school football on up, and unfortunately there’s too much money and too much culture involved for anyone to really do anything meaningful about starting to fix it.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Refused to press charges”? WTF?

This is exactly why prosecutorial decisions should not be (and usually aren’t, in most places) at the discretion of the victims. Bastard should be facing time.

It’s not about what Janay wants (or was pressured/threatened into claiming she wants). It’s about protecting his _next_ victim.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s not about what Janay wants (or was pressured/threatened into claiming she wants). It’s about protecting his next victim.

Absent any real consequences for his actions this time, his next victim is likely Janay herself, or should they have children together, one of them.

If he’s willing and able to hit her once, he’ll do it again.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The DA can still prosecute, even if there is no ‘victim’ that will press charges. For example, if someone is murdered, the victim can’t press charges, yet people are still charged with and convicted of murder.

However, to secure a conviction, you must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And if the victim (of a non-death related crime obviously!) refuses to press charges, i.e. refuses to provide a statement and testify in court to the effect that the perpetrator is the one who ‘did it’, then that’s a huge hole blown in the prosecutor’s case. In these situations, unless there is a lot of evidence to counter-weigh the fact that the victim hasn’t provided a statement of appeared as a witness, then there is no point in pursuing what will be a losing hand.

However, after the release of this video, assuming the police/DA had seen it previously, I would think there is enough evidence to outweigh the victim not testifying.

Of course, that assumes the victim refuses to testify at all. If, however, the victim was prepared to appear for the defence and spin (if not outright lie) the video (e.g. we were play fighting, and he accidentally hit me too hard) then even the video might not be enough for conviction.

That’s my take on the situation at least.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It is amazing the efforts they will put into protecting the brand at the expense of anything.
They give harsh punishments if you smoke pot, but next to nothing if you beat someone.
Oh wait we can fix that if you make us.

They can avoid seeing a video, and put on a fun circus showing support because he is getting the help he needs (while we downplay what he did)… oh shit you mean people saw what he actually did!?

Her coached response fits with the narrative and call me an asshole now but I wonder if she is going to stay with him as his career is pretty much over.

Anonymous Coward says:

Delayed reaction

In wondering about the difference in response from the first video to this one (i.e., “what the heck did people THINK happened in the elevator? Why the surprise now?”), I have a theory.

It’s the Jay-Z video. It’s a recent celebrity elevator video, with a woman attacking Jay-Z, in his case responding with proper control. Combined with her statement about her involvement, people pictured something very different than what was released today.

Between the lack of provocation (not that it should matter, but it changes perceptions), and his lack of reaction to her health, it really is much worse than anyone imagined.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Dog Fighting

There was that quarterback, who’s name I have intentionally forgotten, who was convicted of breeding dogs for fighting. Got fired from Atlanta, but after serving his time, was re-instated by the NFL and hired by Philadelphia. I stopped watching any game that included Philadelphia, because of him.

Along with the head injury/concussion cover-up, the NFL is proving to be a really really skanky organization that deserves absolutely nothing.

BTW, I have not cared who wins or loses ANY football game, college or pro, for a long long time. I like to watch a good game, and tend to root (passively) for whomever is considered the underdog.

cc young (profile) says:

Re: drawing the line (in case you're not trolling)

you don’t hit women. period. if you can’t control yourself in the situation, then you walk away. period.

yes, some women will take advantage of this and will bait you. but the rule still stands: don’t hit women or children.

if the ship is sinking, you offer women and children your life-vest. you offer your seat to an old person on the bus.

that’s just what you do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: drawing the line (in case you're not trolling)

Your lifeboat example isn’t quite right.

It’s a fairly recent development to save women and children first.

If you are out at sea and no other help is about to arrive some time in the near future, you were effectively damning the lifeboat full of women and children to die at sea, with no able seaman to navigate the seas or to operate the oars.

Remember the safety instructions on board a plane, put on your oxygen supply first and then help your children.
You are no help in emergency situations if you put yourself out of the game and put others thereby into a more dangerous one.

And your “no hitting women, ever!” is morally right, but what equality?
If you are attacked by a person and can’t leave, do you lie down and take it, if it is a woman?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: drawing the line (in case you're not trolling)

Not quite.

If, in the same hypothetical situation, it was a man and you’d consider it justified to hit them(self-defense or to protect someone else really being the only thing that comes to mind as an acceptable justification for hitting someone, and even then only when all less extreme options have failed), then replacing the man with a woman does not magically negate the justification.

Now, if you want to change that statement a bit to ‘you don’t hit anyone, period, unless there are extreme circumstances(again, like self-defense/protection)’, then I’d totally agree, but a flat ‘you don’t hit woman’, no. If it would be justified to hit a man, then it’s justified to hit a woman in the same situation.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: drawing the line (in case you're not trolling)

thank you for a little common sense…

IF we are ‘equal’, then it should be no difference between whether a man hits a woman, a woman hits a man, a man hits a man, or a woman hits a woman… in other words, NO ONE SHOULD HIT ANYONE EVER, regardless of genders…
BUT, that isn’t how the world really sees things, and really works, is it ? ? ?

as jon stewart said last night: WTF did you THINK happened when he knocked her out and dragged her out of the elevator ? ? ? IF it was egregious enough to kick him out of the league AFTER you saw the video, it was egregious enough to kick him out BEFORE you saw the video…

further, if THE VICTIM does not want to press charges, etc (FOR WHATEVER REASONS SHE MAY HAVE), then i’m not sure The State is obliged to act otherwise, IN THIS CASE…

i am nearly 100% certain the NFL/owners/goodell don’t give a shit about ANYTHING but making money: they don’t care if the players are murderers, rapists, nazis, etc; they don’t care about violence against woman, drug usage, etc, EXCEPT IF it becomes a stink in the media, THEN they ‘care’…

when it slides under the radar, they ignore it; if it becomes public and a big deal, THEN they do the least they can get away with…

as an aside, the posters who mention other players who were arrested/jailed for various crimes and should be banned from humanity, are simply compounding the problem: IF you don’t believe in redemption/rehabilitation, then YOU are showing inhumanity EQUAL to the ones you excoriate…

lastly, i’ll say that the legions of (mostly) men who go off on rice and talk big about he should be beaten or castrated or whatever, are exhibiting THE EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR, and are as big of hypocrites and morons as he is…

judge not lest ye be judged, oh perfect nekkid apes…

nasch (profile) says:


The thing is, once the tweets were out (which they never should have been in the first place), the Ravens had two choices: leave them up or take them down. As far as I’m aware Twitter doesn’t have any way to flag a tweet as something the author no longer supports but is leaving up for historical purposes. Taking them down makes it look like they’re trying to cover it up, but leaving them up makes it look like they still stand by the messages. In fact, if they were still up, wouldn’t this story be about how amazingly the Ravens are still standing by Rice because they haven’t deleted their supporting tweets?

So I don’t think we should criticize the Ravens for deleting the tweets, but rather for making them in the first place. Deleting them was the better of two bad options.

Anon says:


She apparently started it, by slapping and spitting on him from what I’ve read. (Try spitting on a police officer and see if you get the “bigger man turns away” treatment). Both of her acts are assault.

Self-defence is allowed – technically, legally – to defend yourself, and must be a reasonable response to the level of attack. Yes, Rice went well over the line by knocking out a much smaller and weaker attacker. That in itself is enough to make him guilty too – of a more serious assault, based on the damage done.

he could argue provocation, but that’s a mitigating circumstance in a finding of guilt, not a reason for innocence. Everyone is required to control their temper.

In the law of unintended consequences, her assault yielded no charges or penalties; his costs millions of dollars. She cost him millions by her saliva contribution to his douchebaggery.

As for playing football – when you’ve paid your debt, done your sentence, served your suspension – why not? He’s effectively paying a multi-million dollar fine for common assault if he sits out a year or two. The only reason to keep him out is if he hasn’t learned his lesson, and repeats. This is not an act that affects his football playing. An accountant is not barred for life from his profession for DUI or domestic assault – but he is for an offense that calls his job integrity into question, like embezzlement. Same thing – an athlete who throws games can be banned for life, but for something not related to the game? The guy has one excellent talent and a bad temper. He’s being taught a very very expensive lesson. Once the lesson is over, he should play.

Udom (profile) says:

The victim in the assault is his wife, but the penalties imposed by his team seriously damage her financially as much as they do him. Of the coverage I’ve seen, few sources have the slightest interest in her point of view, and those that do dismiss her statements as evidence of an “abused woman”, a status which magically renders her opinion worthless. In the rush to give Rice a kicking she is getting trampled.

Jim Anderson (profile) says:

Reality is Complicated

If you have seen the video of the couple outside the elevator you would know that she had already committed criminal assault on him. She did her best to hit him as hard as she could. In the elevator he goes over to her and she spits on him. After he goes to the other side of the elevator she rushes him and he knockers her out with a single punch. Both of these people need an anger management program. The net result of all this is her husband and herself are out four million dollars. Clearly where one party usually the husband is that strong he can not hit the wife. This reality does not mean that there are not many women who are harmed by violence. It does mean that not every story is a good candidate for being a poster child for a cause. The Republicans have used the STORY for a long time this approach is very limited due to reality intruding into the narrative.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Reality is Complicated

All I know about this is what I’ve read here (I’ve never heard of any of these people before, and have extremely limited interest in the details of this case), but based on the information here…

It’s not so complicated. She is guilty of assault, he is guilty of battery. His crime is much more egregious than hers, but one can be a victim without being a saint.

John85851 (profile) says:

Compare this to Pete Rose's ban

Changing the subject a little: I saw a news story about how Pete Rose is trying to get his lifetime ban from baseball removed. In case people don’t remember, he was banned because he bet on his own team while he was a manager. And because of this, he also won’t be allowed into the baseball Hall of Fame for his excellent batting record as a player.

Anyway, why does he get a lifetime ban from the sport when football players can beat their wives or participate in dog fight rings and only get a suspension? (Okay, granted, Michael Vickes was arrested and went to jail for dog fighting, but he still came back to the NFL and is now a quarterback again.)

I’ve read that betting on a sport is somehow a “moral” offense against the game, so it carries a high punishment. But in the scheme of things, this is only money. Shouldn’t domestic *violence* result in a much stronger punishment?

Or is it like another poster said: the NFL trains these guys to be violent brutes on the field so we shouldn’t be surprised when they’re violent off the field.

Johnny Canuck says:

Woman refusing to press charges

As a Canadian, I find this issue of the wife refusing to press charges somewhat humorous/ludicrous. Because we get so much US television here, Canadians think this applies here as well as the US, but it does not. My brother, a detective on a major Western Canadian police force, loves it when he is investigating a case and someone tells him they’ll let him know if they want to press charges. His usual reply is “You watch too much television. I decide if I’m going to press charges, and I’ve made that decision.” Allowing someone to go free because a victim doesn’t want to charge them is gross stupidity.

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