The Baltimore Ravens have consistently been one of the more progressive organizations in the NFL. In November 2002, Ozzie Newsome was named general manager of the team. Newsome became the first black man to hold the position in the NFL. With Steve Bisciotti as owner, the Ravens continue to show support for the Baltimore community, the majority of which are black. Bisciotti's latest message is possibly his strongest yet.
The Ravens owner posted a message on the Black Lives Matter support team's website and boldly stood up to the social injustices, police brutality and systemic racism that exist today.
"Raven's nation, like most of you, I'm sure watching these videos shook you and shook me to the core. It made me sick; and it made me angry," Bisciotti said.
One of the videos Bisciotti was referring to was the murder of George Floyd by former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin put his knee on Floyd's knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, which resulted in Floyd's death.
Floyd's murder wasn't the only video Bisciotti saw. Bisciotti said he saw the video of Ahmaud Aubrey, who was murdered 7-10 days before seeing the video of Floyd's murder. He called it the most despicable thing he had ever seen.
As the owner of the ravens, Bisciotti has had the opportunity to develop close relationships with many black players. He wants them to be able to express their concerns and actually let people listen.
"All you ask is to be heard now. I want to ask you individually, are you ready to listen? That's all you want. And if you listen enough, will you learn to speak out loud? This is the hardest part for us But it's the first thing they need … to believe that they have partners who want to listen.
"I have learned more than anything in my life that anger comes from hurt. I see that anger. If we don't stop and think about the damage caused, nothing will change. These young men hurt and ask us to listen."
Bisciotti said he needed to attend virtual meetings with the players. He admitted the conversations were uncomfortable for both him and the players. Seeing them feeling uncomfortable had a huge impact on Bisciotti. His fear of saying the wrong thing would have made it easy not to say anything, but he refused to allow silence to be an option for him or the Ravens organization.
Now he asks everyone to speak up and take a stand and call on those who do not.
Telling my players, "keep playing" is the worst thing that can be felt and said. If my white and black players don't speak about this injustice to their communities, they are sold out or hypocrites. If I don't defend my players , I am the worst hypocrite.
“I've spent 20 years watching them perform. Building relationships with these young men meant more than just success in the field. If I were them, I wouldn't want to work for myself if I was scared of myself or if I don't consider economic damage because I don't want to offend, I won't and I hope the fans feel the same way.
“Black life is important and I think the vast majority of you all feel it and, more importantly, you live it through your actions. So why is it so hard to tell? If you don't understand, ask the hard questions. "Well said, Mr. Bisciotti.