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Baltimore Ravens Failed HR 101

Sep 9

By now everyone has seen former Baltimore Raven running back, Ray Rice, knock out his wife with two punches to the head in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.  My question is, why didn’t anyone in the Baltimore Raven’s organization see this before agreeing to bring him back initially, with only a two game suspension?

The Raven’s claim no one in their organization saw the video from inside the elevator until it was leaked to TMZ this week.  Do you buy that?  I don’t.  Twenty years in HR and I would have put a stop to this with one decision.  “Ray, you want to be a part of this organization, we need to see what happened from inside the elevator before that happens.” But, I can’t get the tape, the casino would release it, it’s not mine to get, etc. Bullshit.

Then, I guess you don’t want to play football very badly.  It’s a very simple HR problem.  You have an employee (Mr. Rice) who does something you believe to be really bad, but you can’t fully prove it, but you know he can.  Make him prove he’s innocent.  Make him go get the tape.  An innocent person will do that.  A guilty person will give you excuses about why they can’t.

I truly think that someone on the Ravens knew what was on that tape, but had the casino’s word that it would never get out, and they believed them!

Once it got out, yes, they did the right thing.  But, it never should have gotten this far.  Good organizations get the information they need, or they stay conservative as possible.  The video footage was out there. If TMZ can get it, you better believe the Ravens could have gotten it.  It’s all about money and pressure.  The Ravens have both and decided not to use it to get to the truth.  That’s an example of a poorly run organization.

I’m guessing this guy will never get a chance to play football again in the NFL.  I can’t believe another team would ever take the publicity hit to bring him in, even if he ever gets reinstated by the NFL.

It begs the question: what if this happened to one of your employees?  Yeah, you would fire them, but do you believe they should ever get a chance to work again in their chosen profession?

It’s messy. It’s HR. Ray knocked her out.  She forgave him and married him.  Life is really screwed up.  My guess is eventually he’ll have to work somewhere, or he’ll end up in prison, probably where he should have ended up in the first place.

I know one thing, the NFL pays better than prison.

 

4 Comment to “Baltimore Ravens Failed HR 101”

  1. I think the Ravens failed but not because they didn’t have the tape or make him get it. He admitted he knocked her out. There was already video out there if him dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. The only thing that’s changed is the imagery is no longer imagined. But none of the facts have been altered through watching the video. Did people think it was a love tap? You’ve gotta hit someone pretty damn hard to knock them out.

    No the Ravens failed by not taking a bigger stance from the get go. The court system failed by not pressing charges for assault simply because she wouldn’t press charges.

    jasen
    Sep 9, 2014
  2. While I was happy to read today’s post pointing out the ‘duh’ human resources connection the Ravens seem to have missed (link below), there remains more to ask. Tim, I love following your blog and your work is amazing, but even you have made an error. The excerpt troubling me is as follows:
    “It begs the question: what if this happened to one of your employees? Yeah, you would fire them, but do you believe they should ever get a chance to work again in their chosen profession? It’s messy. It’s HR. Ray knocked her out. She forgave him and married him. Life is really screwed up.” There are four key issues to take up here:
    First, “he knocked her out”; end of story – a large, strong, professional football player caused a woman to be knocked into unconsciousness; absolutely nothing at all in this situation should be considered acceptable or justified. I acknowledge there are many incidents in which women hit, abuse and even batter men, but this man was in no physical danger greater than a bruised ego.
    Second, “[s]he forgave him and married him”; forgiveness is a central element to the cycle of violence. The abuser acts violently, promises sincerely never to do it again and, often, truly means it. The abused wants to believe it, has been conditioned to believe she or he shares responsibility for the violence, tries to deny the abuse because of embarrassment or fear, and – along with a virtually endless list of reasons based in psychological inability – does not leave. This does not necessarily indicate she forgave him, though if she did, it may have been under impaired capacity. What it does do is enable the abuser to believe the act was accepted and forgiven, making it more likely to occur again. It is unacceptable to simply assume she reached a point in which she believed it was okay to suffer an injury of this magnitude for any reason.
    Third, “it’s messy” and “[l]ife is really screwed up”; too true. For this very reason, domestic violence must be universally seen as abhorrent. The power differential is what makes an abuser. It makes no difference whether the differential is a large, strong man acting out physically against a smaller, weaker woman, the cruel woman against a man who perhaps believes it unmanly to acknowledge being abused, the schoolyard bully who uses size or fear to intimidate an underclassman, or the boss who manipulates or terrorizes subordinates. Unless and until we as a society draw a clear line between healthy argument and abusive behavior, the misperceptions will perpetuate and the violence will continue.

    Last, “what if this happened to one of your employees?” This is the essential gist to Tim’s post, which notes that the Ravens got not only their solutions but their very process wrong from the start. HR professionals need to be aware of domestic violence and the many faces it takes on, as well as the impact it can have to the workplace, such as absences, morale issues, productivity problems and many more. The correct process here would have been an immediate and thorough investigation into all sides of the original incident, including viewing both videos, interviewing the parties, interviewing the security guard and other hotel staff. If that was indeed done in this instance, then the Ravens are far more at fault than mere ignorance. Bottom line: either they knew and swept it under the rug in order to manager PR and financial interests, or they were incredibly slipshod in their investigation.

    Kim Zadworny
    Sep 9, 2014
  3. Oh Dan…. I bet you think OJ didn’t do it and Joe Paterno didn’t know anything either.
    It is more of a culture killer when the rest of your organization has a strong suspicion that someone has done something reprehensible and the organization has turned a blind eye to it.

    Joanne
    Sep 9, 2014
  4. I love your blog and approach to things, but I think you missed the mark on this one. This attitude is why HR is thought of as evil by employees – that idea of “I think you did something bad employee, prove to me you didn’t” is a culture killer.

    …who does something you believe to be really bad, but you can’t fully prove it, but you know he can. Make him prove he’s innocent. Make him go get the tape. An innocent person will do that. A guilty person will give you excuses about why they can’t.

    dan piontkowski
    Sep 9, 2014

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