How the Baltimore Ravens (and the NFL) Failed HR 101

By now everyone has seen former Baltimore Ravens 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 this: Why didn’t anyone in the Baltimore Ravens’ organization see this before agreeing with the NFL to bring him back, initially, with only a two game suspension?

The Ravens (and the NFL) claim that no one in their organization saw the video from inside the casino elevator until it was leaked to TMZ this week. Do you buy that?

A very simple HR problem

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 not 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. 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 in the Ravens’ organization knew what was on that tape, but had the casino’s word that it would never get out, and they believed them!

Avoiding the truth

Once it got out, yes, they did the right thing and released him, 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 and the National Football League could have gotten it.

It’s all about money and pressure. The Ravens (and the NFL) have both and decided not to use it to get to the truth. That’s an example of a poorly run organization.

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

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 Rice knocked his fiancée out. She forgave him and married him.

Better than prison

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.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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