Ravens accept apology, support Patrick Ricard after offensive tweets surfaced last weekend

Several Ravens players said Wednesday that backup defensive tackle Patrick Ricard has not lost their friendship and trust after several racist and homophobic tweets he wrote years ago began trending the night before the team’s overtime loss at the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I was shocked honestly,” nose tackle Michael Pierce said of his reaction to reading the tweets. “But Pat’s family, we actually went to dinner last Monday. So I never would have expected it. That’s not the guy I know. It’s unfortunate he said it, but he’s still a brother to me and a brother to us on this team. So we’re going to stand behind him, and that’s something we just never expected.”

Ricard, 24, who is white, said he addressed the defense Tuesday and the offense Wednesday. He said he was heartened by his teammates’ support.

“It just shows that they believe that I am the person that I am today and that those were words that I said back seven years ago,” he said. “They understand everyone makes mistakes, and it’s been great. I’m not going to lie. It did take a toll on me just because I don’t believe in that, and when I did read what I tweeted, it made me sick. But everybody’s support has made it a lot easier, and I’m starting to move on from this.”

Although the tweets were deleted, users captured some of them, which included at least five uses of a racial slur. “ ‘My phone spins like a [expletive] at a disco’ — me!” he wrote in 2011.

He also used a homophobic remark. “I don’t even want to see that [expletive] wearing a patriots uniform,” he wrote in 2013.

Coach John Harbaugh, who had labeled Ricard’s comments “unacceptable,” said Ricard will remain with the Ravens.

“The best way to describe that is it’s been handled internally, and it’s been handled by the leaders on the team,” he said.

Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor said he believed Ricard, whom he called one of his closest friends.

“Now there’s no place for that, saying the things that he did,” Eluemunor said. “But he gave the team a heartfelt apology, saying he’s not that guy anymore, and we know he’s not that guy because we know him. So you would never have expected Pat to say things like that. Back then, he was a different person. But it doesn’t change my opinion of him. Pat’s an amazing guy, and I still love him.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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