The Ray Rice tragedy and Twitter: What the Ravens did wrong and the lesson you can learn

If you have been watching the news over the past week, you are likely familiar with the Ray Rice tragedy.  The background: Rice was suspended, for a mere two games, after knocking his then fiance (now wife) unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator.  Earlier this week, previously unreleased video emerged of the attack, which showed the sheer brutality of the assault.  In the video’s aftermath, Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

The entire situation is atragedy for everyone involved, and particularly for Janay Rice.  The NFL has screwed up the handling of this event from the start, and frankly, they should be ashamed of the way they handled this.  Heads will undoubtedly roll as the scandal continues to evolve, and similar things can likely be said about the Baltimore Ravens, who originally stood by Rice.

There is a bizarre social media angle to this story.  It started with this tweet, sent by the Ravens back in May, during a press conference in which Ray and Janay Rice spoke:

Ravens Deleted Tweet About Janay RiceThe implication of this tweet is obvious: Janay Rice was somehow responsible for being knocked unconscious by her husband.  It goes without saying that this tweet was abominably reprehensible.  No woman is ever responsible for being beaten by her husband.  I don’t know what the Ravens were trying to say here, and it’s completely irrelevant.  This tweet is one of the many actions taken during this incident that have led many, myself included, to believe that the NFL and the Ravens do not care about the welfare of women.

The tweet itself was bad enough.  But, after the release of the video, it got even worse, and the tweet began to be recirculated.  And then, the Ravens compounded the bad tweet by deleting it.

Deleting a tweet is, in certain circumstances, appropriate.  However, if you are going to delete a tweet, you must acknowledge the deletion and explain why.  Social media is all about transparency, and deleting a tweet without giving the reasons for the deletion reeks of a cover-up…which, you know, is exactly what this entire scandal looks like in the first place.  The Ravens should have deleted the tweet, but acknowledged it and said something like, “An earlier regrettable tweet regarding Janay Rice has been deleted.  We never meant to imply that Janary was responsible for the assault and regret that such an implication occurred.”

From a social media perspective, the lesson here is how to handle ill-advised updates.  If you screw-up (and everyone will at some point or another), deleting a tweet is okay – but, if you are going to do it, you must accompany the deletion with an acknowledgement of guilt and regret.

Of course, the Ravens have handled nothing about this case right.  Not sure why they would start now.

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