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Covering Ray Rice’s release from the Ravens

Travis McMillen



  More than six months ago, a hotel surveillance camera caught Ray Rice beating his now-wife unconscious in an elevator. For months the NFL was criticized by activists, reporters and columnists for only having suspended him from the first two regular season games. But after TMZ released the surveillance footage on Monday, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice from the team within hours and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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Although Ray Rice was waived from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended from the NFL within hours of the first airing of the surveillance video, ESPN's Keith Olbermann accused both groups of conducting a cover-up of Rice's assault.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Mike McKean called Olbermann's commentary "bombastic" but agreed with the ESPN commentator about who is to blame. McKean also said he felt the media could be added to the list.

Reporters were awfully quick to allow the NFL to try to craft the message the way they wanted to and I think the commissioner is nothing if not looking out for the brand. When it come to concussions or sexual assault, it's pretty obvious that those two issues are way down the ladder and preserving the NFL's image is really a priority.

Although Rice was first charged with assault in February, most news organizations did not cover the story until the video was released by TMZ on September 8.

Professor Earnest Perry said media who regularly cover the Baltimore Ravens should have reported on the incident from the beginning, but close relationships may have persuaded them otherwise.

If you cover it very extensively, if you’re there on an everyday basis, you build relationships. Those relationships are supposed to be sort of hands-off but in a lot of ways, because of the closeness, they’re pretty tight. You don’t see certain things or you sort of gloss over certain things that you shouldn't be.

Hope Kirwan left KBIA in September 2015.
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