The Baltimore Ravens have little societal cache left with the media and the national stage when it comes to how they handle their business ever since the events of the Ray Rice incident played out in a very public manner, including leaked information about how team ownership dealt with Rice before and after the release of each video of the incident.
The team was adamant in defending him, to the point that their official Twitter handle Tweeted an apology from Rice’s wife for the role that she played in the incident. They defended him at all turns until they no longer could. Then they promptly cut ties with and ostracized him, and they have had a seeming zero tolerance policy since then.
Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was just the latest player on the roster to face quick dismissal after running afoul of the law. Pierce was arrested and charged with driving under the influence the night prior, pulled over for going 44 mph in a 30 mph zone. He told the arresting officers that he would be released, and that they didn’t care.
The front office had no choice to care, despite the fact that Pierce was their second-leading rusher last season behind Justin Forsett, who had a breakout year and was just re-signed to a three-year contract.
Not far behind Pierce, however, is second-year player Lorenzo Taliaferro, who actually averaged more yards per rush. The Ravens are almost certain to address the running back position now in the draft.
As mentioned, however, Pierce was just the most recent in a string of incidents. Earlier this offseason, former Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody was indicted on animal cruelty charges. Despite the fact that he was a pending free agent, the organization actively took the step to release him before the new league year began.
Unheralded cornerback Victor Hampton was also arrested earlier this offseason for driving while impaired, and he, too, faced immediate dismissal. The organization simply cannot afford poor public relations.
But this is not business as usual. Last offseason was a different matter, and it wasn’t just the organization initially standing behind Rice for as long as they could.
Back in March of 2014, offensive lineman Jah Reid was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor battery counts, and the organization took no action against him.
Wide receiver Deonte Thompson was also arrested for possession of marijuana. Thompson was not released, and made the 53-man roster before being demoted to the practice squad, and was later waived. The point being, of course, that his departure from the team was not due to his arrest.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, of course, are dealing with their own arrest, with cornerback Antwon Blake spending a night in the drunk tank for public intoxication. The incidents are very different, of course, but one must wonder what the Ravens would do, coerced or not, in the same situation. Had Reid and Thompson been arrested this offseason, they likely would have been released as well.