But the narrative of the ESPN investigation, which says that Bisciotti, Ravens president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome drove that cover-up, is decidedly at odds with the version of events that much of the Baltimore media has embraced once it was shaken out of its years-long "In Ozzie We Trust," Stepford-Wives-like stupor in covering the team.
(Really, do a Google search of "In Ozzie We Trust," and see how deeply this silly mantra has been embraced by the local media.)
The narrative now being peddled by some in Baltimore media is that it's all the fault of Goodell and the NFL -- they are the evil parties. Of course, the Ravens wanted to help out Ray; that's because Steve, Dick and Ozzie are good, decent and loyal guys. So, let's focus our hate on Goodell. That way we can acknowledge that something bad happened in that elevator but not be made to feel unwelcome at the Castle.
The other revelation in the ESPN probe – and I have no way yet of knowing if it is true – is that Coach John Harbaugh wanted to get rid of Rice in February right after TMZ posted the first video. But, the report claims, Harbaugh was overruled by his bosses, the three guys allegedly driving the cover-up.
If that proves to be true, I will have a new and profound respect for Harbaugh. And I will have new contempt for Bisciotti, who sent Harbaugh out alone the night the video was posted to face the firestorm of press coverage it ignited. (Bisciotti subsequently said the day was "so emotionally tough" on him "there was no way" he could have prepared to meet the press that night.)
As to ESPN's mistake Friday in reporting on its own investigation, it is inexcusable.
Here's what Ley first said:
Ravens officials have said that they did not have a full picture of what happened in the elevator until the video was made public, but sources said the Ravens had a cell phone copy of the inside elevator video all along …
Here's what ESPN said 25 minutes later:
"We want to correct an earlier report. The Ravens at no point had a cell phone video of that incident, but they had a detailed account."
They did correct it. Give them credit for that. But still, it diminishes the credibility of the investigation. And I think it might ultimately point to a flaw in the "Outside the Lines" investigation itself, which feels mushy in terms of what the head of security for the Ravens saw or didn't see and knew or didn't know about that video and who he told.