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(CNN) – Did the Baltimore Ravens merely drop the ball in its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, or was something more sinister at play?
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti addressed the media Monday for the first time since ESPN released a bombshell story, reporting Ravens officials knew about the videotape that showed the team's star running back hitting his then-fiancée, long before it went public.
The Ravens and the NFL have denied seeing the video. They also say Rice was not completely honest with them about what happened.
The ESPN report quotes anonymous sources who claim Ravens president Dick Cass was told by Rice's attorney that the video was "f***ing horrible," that Ravens executives pleaded with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to go easy on Rice, and that Goodell did so by initially suspended Rice for two games as a favor to the owner.
In a news conference Monday, Bisciotti called the claims untrue, calling it an attempt by Rice's camp to get the running back reinstated.
"They are building a case for reinstatement, and the best way to build a case for reinstatement is to make everybody else look like they're lying," said Bisciotti. "Their accusations didn't jive with what we knew was fact."
ESPN columnist Kate Fagan and Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise discuss the latest.