The Ravens, undeterred by how the world reacted to them living-Tweeting the Ray Rice press conference in which his own wife apologized for being the victim for abuse, seem to be doubling down on how low they can drag their franchise’s image.
One would think that Kevin Byrne, Senior Vice President – Public & Community Relations, would have taken something away from the very words he put on his own blog on Ravens.com.
Two weeks after the casino incident, I came to our Under Armour Performance Center for a racquetball game against former Raven Bennie Thompson. It was a bleak, cloudy Saturday morning. I cut through the mostly dark weight room on my way to the court.
I heard the clang of a weight in the corner. When I looked to see who was there, it was Ray. “What are you doing here?” I asked him and joked that he could turn on the lights.
A subdued Rice said: “I’ve been trying to come in the building and work out when no one is here. I’m not sure anyone wants to see me. I’m so sorry, and I’m embarrassed. And, I don’t want to make any of the women feel uncomfortable.”
Head down. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t want to make any of the women feel uncomfortable.
Instead the headline on Ravens.com today is Ravens Fans Give Ray Rice Standing Ovation, an article filled with quotes about how fans are still gleefully wearing Rice jerseys, supporting their guy. Nothing else about camp, just that everything is A-okay at M&T Bank Stadium. Surprised they didn’t include a link on how to buy a new 2014 Ray Rice jersey at the bottom of the page.
So let us help Baltimore’s crack PR team (and jesus, how inept do you have to be when even Washington’s “Redskins Facts” campaign looks better than you do today) continue this downward spiral into the morass of tone-deaf stupidity since that seems to be the road they are intent on running down. Here are some suggestions on how you can reach the bottom even faster:
- Ravens dedicate a portion of ticket proceeds from first two games to paying Rice’s fine.
- Baltimore will be setting up collection cans at the gates so fans can contribute to The Ray Rice Lost Paycheck Fund during the first four home games of the season.
- Pummeled spouses get in free (with apology).
- Team pro shops will carry commemorative jersey “Free Ray Rice” patches.
- A special raffle will be held at the first home game where one lucky fan can win the missing evidence in the Ray Lewis nightclub case. (The interns found the craziest things in the back closest over the summer!)
- Car decals depicting Art Modell pissing on the city of Cleveland will be given to the first 20,000 fans who show up at the trial of the Browns fan accused on taking a leak on Modell’s grave.
- Know an unhappy Ravens fan who doesn’t like what the team is doing? Special t-shirts will be soon be available to the true supportive fans. Front DON’T LIKE WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE? Back: QOUTH THE RAVENS “THERE’S THE DOOR.”
- All of the above, but in head-to-toe pink.
It’s understandable why a team would want to have some positive news after a terribly embarrassing and demoralizing offseason, but making it a “push” to put Ray Rice at the forefront of your training camp? Unexplainable. You need to at least bury that positivity in the second to last paragraph describing the first day of camp.