Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined repeatedly Monday night to discuss any details of the decision-making process that led to the team cutting Ray Rice following the release of a video showing Rice clocking his wife inside an Atlantic City elevator.
Harbaugh, the lone Ravens official to address the media following the team’s announcement that it was terminating Rice’s contract, repeatedly answered variations of “I’m not gonna get into that” when pressed on what team officials knew about the February 15 incident.
The coach said team officials had a brief meeting following the release of the video and decided to cut Rice, a three-time Pro Bowler whose production declined significantly last year.
Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome then met with Rice. Neither Newsome nor majority owner Steve Bisciotti has addressed the media since TMZ published the surveillance video Monday morning — a factor that opened the embattled team to even more criticism.
Wait, why was John Harbaugh holding the Ray Rice presser. Isn't this on Ravens ownership and management? Where are they?
— Kieran Frail (@fuzzybritches) September 9, 2014
Don't complain about how John Harbaugh told you nothing. He shouldn't have been the one talking about this in the first place.
— ✴ Social ✴ (@schoIarship) September 9, 2014
The Ravens and the NFL were the subject of intense criticism after the league issued a mere two-game suspension to Rice. The public outcry was so loud that commissioner Roger Goodell strengthened the league’s domestic violence policy so that first-time offenders get a mandatory six-game suspension.
The criticism only intensified after Harbaugh’s press conference.
Found it odd when the Ravens' John Harbaugh was pressed on why today's meeting was so short, he totally blew off the reporter's question.
— Mark OckerbloomFox25 (@ocktalks) September 9, 2014
John Harbaugh was like a deer in the headlights: a smug, jumpy, obtuse deer.
— Ben Greenman (@bengreenman) September 9, 2014
Harbaugh said he’ll be “praying for” Ray and Janay Rice and has nothing but “hope and good will” for the couple.
“It’s something we saw for the first time today, all of us, and it changed things of course,” Harbaugh said. “It made things a little bit different.”
Asked why the Ravens hadn’t seen the video before Monday, the coach responded: “I have no answer for that.”