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September 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Following ESPN’s report that Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti orchestrated a cover-up of Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident, Bisciotti has shot back that Rice himself, his attorney, and Rice’s friends were the cable sports network’s sources. At a news conference (video excerpts were posted by gossip site TMZ, which initially released the infamous video of Rice knocking out his then-fiancée in an elevator), Bisciotti denied the charges, insisting that Rice had fed them to ESPN as part of an effort to "build a case for reinstatement" into the NFL. Following the news conference, ESPN reporter Don Van Natta, whose report on the network’s Outside the Lines triggered Bisciotti’s response, said that he had interviewed more than 20 sources over 11 days. "Unfortunately, it’s an assumption [Bisciotti] is making. … It’s an oversimplification of the work we put into this story," Van Natta said. Bisciotti also released the text of his email to Rice sent on Sept. 9, the day after the team responded to the "second video" of the elevator incident by cutting Rice. In it Bisciotti told Rice, "We love you and we will always figure out a way to keep you in our lives. When you are done with football I will hire you to help me raise Great [sic] young men. I still love you!!! … I will help you make it a great life indeed. I give you my WORD." Asked about that pledge, Bisciotti noted that he would probably have paid Rice around $100,000 a year, which could hardly be considered "hush money" as ESPN had implied. "It would take him 150 years to make back the $25 million I took away from him by cutting him."