Found January 11, 2013 on Fox Sports:
When it comes to Ray Lewis and the celebration/glorification of his illustrious, 17-season NFL career, the cliche "what's done is done" applies. As his career comes to a close, perhaps this weekend when the Ravens take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos, football fans should not be ashamed of loving Ray Lewis. He's earned our admiration and respect. That is not written to exonerate Lewis in the 2000 double-murder trial that nearly cost him his freedom, nor is it written to minimize the seriousness of the tragedy. It's written to convey none of us is Perry Mason, none of us know what happened before, during or after Lewis, his friends and the victims stepped inside the limousine on that night. We can speculate. We can piece together clues. We can read into the fact Lewis reached financial settlements with the families of the deceased. We can express and feel deep sympathy for the deceased and their families. But we cannot know. What's done is done. Our criminal justice system reached a plea agreement with Lewis to testify against the men the courts believed were responsible for the killings, and the courts charged Lewis with obstruction of justice. There were no convictions at the trial. I'm not granting Lewis forgiveness based on legal technicalities. I'm giving it to him based on common sense, life experience, an understanding of our criminal justice system and, most important, based on the way Lewis has conducted himself since the trial. Many of you cannot see yourselves making the decisions Lewis did on that fateful night. Why was he out partying with two "thugs"? One of Lewis' friends charged with murder was also friends with Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker. The friend, Joseph Sweeting, came to Kansas City every year to kick it at Derrick's summer golf weekend. He was a little dude everyone called "Big Oomph." I partied with him, and I'm a non-violent square. Unlike many of my sportswriting peers who can't imagine themselves being in the same position as Ray Lewis, I can. When I was in college, a teammate and I stepped out of a car and some townies stopped their car and dropped several racial slurs on us, including the N-word. We were big, swollen, 21-year-old football players. We shouted for the townies to get out of their cars and fight. My teammate, unbeknownst to me, popped the trunk of his car and pulled out a semi-automatic weapon. Holy s**t! A simple fight just escalated into a war. My teammate was from a major city. As an 18-year-old, he'd been robbed and shot. He believed guns enhanced his safety. Lucky for me, the townies quickly drove off. I ran home. Had shots been fired, it's likely I would've been viewed as an accessory to murder or attempted murder. I'm not a murderer. I'm an overeater. I'm a sportswriter. I'm a lap-dance lover, a craps shooter and an inappropriate joke teller. Again, I don't know what happened with Lewis, his friends and the victims. But I've been young and dumb and friends with people in a different situation and a different mindset than me. The Lewis story is quite complex. The self-righteous people who know exactly what Lewis should've done on that night and the days and nights that followed sound naive and uninformed. That is not written to excuse. Lewis may have escaped incarceration, but, to me, it is clear he has not escaped the consequences. Lewis' pain is evident. I've written previously that the people who play football's most violent positions -- defensive front seven and safeties, offensive line and running backs -- are fueled by inner pain. You can't summon the emotion to play middle linebacker with the passion Lewis exudes without a deep, deep well of pain to fuel it. Lewis has played the most violent position in sports at an incredible level for 17 years. The only other guy to do it for that long at that high of a level was Junior Seau. I think we know now that Junior was in a lot of pain. Lewis' critics watch him play, watch him dance, watch him collect millions of dollars and conclude he's a lucky man who got away with murder. I see a man who got away with nothing. I see a man fighting his demons, working through his emotional pain. I see a man who was humbled by and is tormented by an unspeakable tragedy, who is doing all he can to make sure his teammates, coaches, peers and others do not know his pain. I don't judge Ray Lewis by the double-murder trial. The truth of that situation is cloudy. I judge Lewis by the way he has handled the aftermath. His pregame dance, his preachy leadership, his charitable work and his spirituality all ring authentic to my ears and eyes. I love him because he plays football like a man who has been to hell and back and has no intention of returning. I will not apologize for loving Ray Lewis.
1 Comment:
  • Amen

Families Of Two Men Slain In Ray Lewis’ Murder Case Still Don’t Forgive Him

Most young teenager kids between the ages of 12-17 who love Ravens middle linebacker think of him as the master motivator, the smooth suit wearing, anchor of the Baltimore Ravens making his final journey through the NFL playoffs. For those of us that can remember, Ray Lewis was extremely close to not being in this position.  Before he was a Super Bowl winner and Defensive MVP in...

National Aquarium diver does Ray Lewis dance in exhibit (Video)

With the Baltimore Ravens facing off against the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoff round, I figured it was the perfect time to show off this clip of a volunteer diver at the National Aquarium in Baltimore doing the "Ray Lewis Dance". Here is Michael Glass showing off his smooth moves at the Aquarium's Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit: (Courtesy of Off The Bench)

Ravens LB Lewis defends his dancing at Sunday's game

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis took exception to Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne calling his dance at the end of Sunday's AFC wild-card game disrespectful. Lewis, who announced last week that he's retiring from the NFL after 17 seasons when the Ravens are eliminated from the playoffs, said he wasn't taunting the Colts or rubbing it in. "It wasn...

Ray Lewis and the Ravens move on with amazing OT win over Denver

In the fourth longest game in the NFL history the Baltimore Ravens defeated the top seeded Denver Broncos 38-35 in an overtime playoff game for the ages. In what was a back and fourth game all day, the Broncos seemingly had the game won. With 39 seconds in the fourth quarter, Joe Flacco and the [...]

Ray Lewis and the culture of convenient and celebrity Christianity

Last night, NFL pundits celebrated the illustrious career of one of the fiercest competitors to ever don an NFL uniform. From the analysts in the booth and studio to the hundreds of media types tweeting sentimental snippets, Lewis was hailed as a great leader, a great competitor, a great tackler…great, great, great. 1/3/13 -”Do you want him to dance? He already dances. Do you...

Inside the Trainer with Monte Sanders: From the Brotherhood with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to the Mind, Body, and Soul Approach

Monte Sanders, a fitness expert and the CEO and owner of Sanders Optimum Fitness, is way more than just the celebrity trainer to Baltimore Ravens' stars Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. We go inside the brotherhood that began with training.

Ray Lewis: One Dream Ends While Another Begins

I must admit this is a very difficult article to write as at heart I am and will forever be a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan.It’s very hard for me to say anything nice about the team (Ravens) that Art Modell stole right from under our noses and broke the hearts of an entire city. LeBron James leaving Cleveland was a speck of dust compared to “The Decision” Art Modell made to...

Ravens win double-overtime thriller in Denver

With Tebow nowhere in sight, it was Ravens defensive captain Ray Lewis this time preaching to viewers that “nothing is impossible with God.” Joe Flacco stripped the annoying monkey off his back (again) and orchestrated his offense (near-flawlessly) versus a defense that ranked 3rd against the pass (199.6 ypg). Without fear, he catapulted touchdowns, to Jacoby Jones (1) and Torrey...

Ravens-Broncos Live: Peyton Manning Looks to End Ray Lewis’ Career in Denver

8 a.m. ET: Ray Lewis strutted his stuff all over the field for his last hoorah in Baltimore last weekend, but he won’t receive the same warm reception up in Denver. The Ravens are coming off an easy 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts in wild card weekend, but they’ll have a much tougher test with Peyton Manning and the No. 1 seed Broncos awaiting them this weekend. Manning...

NFL Playoffs Bets: Dancing Mayors, Team Flags, and Plastic Surgery

Mayoral wagers are one of the most interesting parts of the NFL playoffs. The mayors of Baltimore, Denver, San Francisco, Green Bay, Seattle and Atlanta will be ponying up some nice swag depending on the outcome the games. Here are some of what’s being wagered in this weekend’s games: Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings- Blake offered up a platter...

Baltimore at Denver: What I'm Looking For

When the Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver to take on the Broncos today in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, I will be looking for a few things. Weather The weather is supposed to be flat out terrible. With a predicted 17 degrees, it will be interesting to see how these players do throughout the game. I don't care how tough these players are, 17 degrees is cold as...

Peyton Manning throws OT pick, dooms Broncos

It was supposed to be an easy day for the Denver Broncos by all accounts, but the Baltimore went toe to toe, tit for tat with them throughout, and in the first overtime period, Peyton Manning rolled out in Brett Favre like fashion and threw the interception that eventually set up Justin Tucker's 47-yard game winning field goal in double OT. Ray Lewis lives to see another...

Ravens-Broncos Live Blog, First Half

Ray-Ray vs. Pey-Pey is your narrative talking point for the first of three regular season rematches on Divisional Playoff weekend. Can the Broncos replicate their recent drubbing of Baltimore and send Ray Lewis into a retirement filled with braying and dancing on ESPN? Denver won decisively in the first meeting this year between these teams, though some people have said the game...
Ravens News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.