Steve Bisciotti writes that Ravens should have done more to investigate Ray Rice video

Goodell also speaks on same day Rice's wife, Janay, lashes out at her husband's critics

The day after the Ravens released Ray Rice, owner Steve Bisciotti wrote in a letter to fans and sponsors that the team "did not do all we should have done" after the star running back was accused of knocking his then-fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City casino in February.

"Seeing that video changed everything," Bisciotti wrote in a letter to the team's personal seat license holders, suite owners and sponsors. "We should have seen it earlier."


Bisciotti's remarks came toward the end of a day of fallout in which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league's efforts to obtain the video of Rice striking Janay Palmer, whom he subsequently married. Earlier Tuesday, Janay Rice lashed out at the media, saying they were forcing the couple to relive a painful situation.

Goodell, who has come under fire for his handling of Rice's punishment, said he saw the footage for the first time on Monday. The commissioner suspended Rice indefinitely, shortly after the Ravens terminated his contract that afternoon.

"What we saw yesterday was extremely clear, it was extremely graphic and it was sickening. ... That's why we took ... action yesterday," Goodell told CBS News in his first public remarks on the video.

In a separate interview with USA Today, Goodell said the footage was "not consistent" with descriptions he heard from Rice and his representatives.

Meanwhile, Janay Rice spoke out against media members and others who have expressed horror at the video.

She has stood beside her husband since initial video emerged in February of him dragging her, unconscious, from an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. She appeared with him during a hearing before Goodell, which resulted in a two-game suspension many criticized as too lenient. And the couple married after Rice was indicted on assault charges in New Jersey connected to the incident. (He was later accepted into a pretrial diversion program that could allow him to avoid jail time.)

Janay Rice's stance remained strong after the additional footage was released Monday, prompting the end of Rice's career with the Ravens.

"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend," she wrote on Instagram. "But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that [the] media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his [butt off] for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

"THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

Ray Rice also spoke briefly by phone to an ESPN reporter, saying: "I have to be strong for my wife. She is so strong. ... We are in good spirits. We have a lot of people praying for us and we'll continue to support each other."

The Rices made their statements against a backdrop of continued national scrutiny, directed at them, Ravens officials and Goodell. Commentary on the situation ran in a constant loop on ESPN, CNN and other national cable stations. Sports Illustrated released its weekly cover, featuring a screen grab from the casino video. Nike canceled its sponsorship deal with Rice, and EA Sports announced he would be removed from its "Madden NFL 15" video game.

The Ravens announced an exchange program for fans who want to trade in their Rice jerseys, on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 at M&T Bank Stadium.

At Rice's alma mater, Rutgers University, officials removed him from picture and video displays inside their football stadium.

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft said of Rice, "I don't think he will play another NFL game."


Goodell later told CBS he would not rule out Rice's returning to the league, saying he "has paid the price for the actions he's already taken."

Two weeks ago, Goodell announced tougher penalties for players who commit domestic violence and sexual assault, saying he "didn't get it right" with the initial two-game penalty for Rice.

Despite the backlash, he told USA Today he doesn't fear for his job. "I'm used to the criticism," he said. "We've listened. We've learned and we've tried to adjust our policies when necessary, and we did that in this case."

In Owings Mills, the Ravens practiced in advance of their Thursday night home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with questions about their former teammate still swirling.

"I love him and I'm going to miss him," linebacker Terrell Suggs said after practice. "But I have to be professional and focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Even as the Ravens tried to go about their business, Goodell's office faced questions about whether the commissioner had seen video of Rice striking Palmer before it was relesaed Monday morning.

Despite skepticism from many critics, the NFL maintained it had tried and failed to obtain the video. "We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including any video that may exist," the league said in a statement. "We spoke to members of the New Jersey State Police and reached out multiple times to the Atlantic City Police Department and the Atlantic County prosecutor's office. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office saw it until yesterday."

A spokesman for the New Jersey attorney general's office said it would have been illegal for Atlantic City prosecutors to provide the video to the NFL.

Bisciotti wrote that the Ravens made similar efforts to obtain the video but that the team halted its investigation of the matter in March, trusting Rice's and Palmer's assurances that nothing similar had happened in the past. He also cited Rice's remorse and the couple's participation in counseling.

"Because of his positive contributions on and off the field over the last six years, Ray had earned every benefit of the doubt from our organization," Bisciotti wrote. "We took everything we knew and decided to support Ray Rice until we could not."

Bisciotti ended his letter by saying: "We also have learned a great deal and will continue to strive to be an organization and team you and Baltimore will be proud of. I am sorry we let you down."

About a dozen companies with ties to the Ravens, including M&T Bank and Under Armour, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday about the incident.

But the situation is unlikely to have a large effect, said Bob Leffler, president of The Leffler Agency, a Baltimore-based advertising firm that works with many sports entertainment groups and has done business with the Ravens and Rutgers.

"This isn't the first time something like this has happened," he said. "What happens is people separate the doer from the brand."


Many firms have multi-year contracts with the Ravens, including Smyth Jewelers, which is in the middle of a five-year deal.

Director of advertising Ruthann Carroll said the firm has not spoken to the Ravens about the situation but will not alter the relationship.

Baltimore Sun reporters Natalie Sherman and Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.