Open letter to the Ravens
Posted August 2
Steve Bisciotti, Owner
Baltimore Ravens Football Club
Dear Mr. Bisciotti,
As a long time fan of the Baltimore Ravens I feel compelled to write to you to express my gratitude for your stewardship in leading our franchise back to the elite in the National Football League. I still remember with pride those legendary Colts teams with Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, John Mackey and Arte Donovan.
However, that was a long time ago, and the modern NFL takes a more deft leadership touch. It takes a man of vision and understanding to see through the clouds of anti-player media coverage today. To that end, you should be applauded for your support and compassion for Ray Lewis in the wake of his being initially charged in the murder of two men at a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in January of 2000. No man should be expected to turn his back on his friends, even if it means lying to police and destroying evidence. Your faith in the system and in Lewis was rewarded, when in the following season Ray helped lead our team to a championship.
A few years later your mettle was tested again. Terrell Suggs, a dynamic pass rushing star, while coming to the aid of his brother and a cousin, was charged with felony aggravated assault for hitting a man with a metal rod in a parking lot after a basketball tournament. Then there were the series of domestic abuse allegations, one where he threw a soap dispenser at his girlfriend and threatened to pour bleach over her and their 1-year old son. In another, he was accused of punching and dragging his girlfriend beside their car, with his two children inside, leading to a temporary protective order to be issued by the city. Yet, rather than cave to the politically correct set, you maintained your support for Suggs, without whom we would never have won another Super Bowl.
In 2014, when news surfaced of the heartbreaking incident in that Atlantic City elevator which appeared to show star running back Ray Rice hitting his (then) fiancee, Renee Palmer, you came quickly to his defense. Your understanding of what this could potentially do to Ray, not to mention his career with the Ravens, was always at the forefront of your thoughts as you fought hard to keep the incriminating videos from coming to light. Your decision to allow Ms. Palmer to attend a press conference and own up to her share of the blame, showed a deeper understanding of such a complex issue. One, might I add, that is prevalent in our society.
When a regular "Joe" knocks his future wife unconscious in an elevator it doesn’t cost his teammates a chance at another playoff berth. Where is the fairness in that? Unfortunately for the team, the videos all came to the surface and you did the right thing and released Ray, which must have been difficult after praising his character and standing in the community for months. That Rice was no longer a good enough player to help us on the field certainly had nothing to do with your decision.
Today, your leadership is coming under fire again. Our city, our league, our nation, must be protected from those who would desecrate the flag in the name of something as silly as perceived social injustice. Colin Kaepernick didn’t just kneel during the anthem last year while playing for the 49ers, he kneeled on the backs of the men and women who gave their lives so he could enjoy the freedoms that we, as Americans, value the most. Just because he has the right to stand up, pun intended, for those in the black community who claim to suffer unjust abuse at the hands of law enforcement, doesn’t mean he should do so during the Star Spangled Banner.
Why can’t he protest behind closed doors, so those of us who disagree with him don’t have to see it?
Even if Joe Flacco, a Super Bowl champion, is lost to us for the season, I’d rather lose games with Ryan Mallett — or some schlub from the Arena League — than for you to sign someone like Kaepernick. It doesn’t bother me if Mallett misses a practice or two — they do the same things every day anyway, right? Ravens fans don’t need to be reminded of all of the things Kaepernick supports. We don’t need to see his social media feed chock full of charitable donations of money and clothing to worthy causes, most of which go to support people who don’t have a voice in the public arena. We don't need for him to remind us that people of color have it more difficult in society. And we certainly don’t need to be on pins and needles every Sunday, when the National Anthem plays, wondering if Kaepernick is going to stand and honor America. Sure, he said he wouldn’t kneel anymore, but how can we trust a person of such low moral fiber?
I don’t have to remind you, Mr. Bisciotti, that Baltimore’s Ft. McHenry is where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to our National Anthem, so signing a player who clearly cares more about racial injustice than helping the Ravens win football games would be even more of a slap in the face.
Thank you, again, for caring about Baltimore, the Ravens, and our passionate fans. And, as you requested, I will pray for you.