Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/30/13
What is the best way to change your image? What is the best way to get the public to forget what a steaming turd you were?The best way, as Elizabeth Taylor once said, is success.In football, it's the same way. Example: Randy Moss, the self-proclaimed greatest receiver in NFL history. In his career, Mr. Moss has been a rookie, a rock star, a child, a record-breaker, a belligerent jerk, a law-breaker a 49er and sadly, a Raider.He will also be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.Every time Randy did something moronic or selfish his enormous talent would show up and bring him back from the brink. He doesn't seem like a nice guy. He doesn't smile a lot, visit sick kids or talk about god all day.He doesn't make excuses for his behavior, which has often been reprehensible. When he screws up he lets his talent defend him. We forgive him every time. It's all he needed.We have a trend in this country to re-brand yourself in order to be forgiven for character flaws, past indiscretions or a simple lack of talent. Tim Tebow tried this in New York, attempting to unseat the crumbling Mark Sanchez with a media storm and the faithful in tow to get himself a starting job.This was a calculated move using his faith as the lynch pin of his plan. His non-football stance so over-shadowed his football abilities that everyone forgot what he was good at. He became a side show. An afterthought. A joke too tired to tell.This is a shame, because his greatest desire was to play NFL quarterback. I believe he had a chance until he turned his faith into a way to hide his shortcomings as a QB. If he had just put his head down and played hard, some team might of had faith in Tim Tebow the quarterback. Well, never say never. If JaMarcus Russell can be an NFL QB, then Timmie certainly can as well.Now we come to the crux of the problem. People are acting surprised that Ray Lewis is connected to PED's. Noooo -- not Ray. Say it ain't so. Ray has been ramping up for the last six  weeks, banging on his bible harder than ever, which in his case is quite a feat. He has to. He knows what's coming.Ray is selling himself like Don Draper from Mad Men, packaging his brand for delivery to a country that is starving for heroes despite being surrounded by them. Ray has become annoying and ridiculous. Faith is neither annoying or ridiculous. It is beautiful when it is authentic.The misuse of it however, to hide misdeeds or personal shortcomings is appalling. The reality of Ray Lewis is that he is an exceptional athlete with a Hall of Fame career that is shrouded, already in shadow. As it comes to an end, people start digging for dirt and Ray knows this is coming. He has to build a wall quick, lest the harpies with their laptops (including me) bust through with some new indiscretion that will tarnish an image that he has spent so much time crafting.Being a man of faith is a great thing, using your faith to insulate yourself from past indiscretion is not. He, like all of us, did some pretty bad things, and all the theatrics, scripture spouting and forced crying doesn't make us forgive -- it makes us suspicious.You could of just played hard like you always do, let your talent and athleticism do the talking and leave it at that. What you are doing just makes us believe you have more to hide. We would of forgiven anything. Just ask Randy.*Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of Football Nation.
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