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The W - Football - The retirement and legacy of Ray Lewis
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TheBucsFan
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Since: 2.1.02

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.36
With the news that Ray Lewis will retire following this season and reportedly join ESPN as an analyst, there seems to be surprisingly little mention from some sources of Lewis' involvement in a 2000 murder and subsequent plea bargain to reduce murder charges to two counts of obstruction of justice. Here is what Mike Pesca had to say on NPR's site.

I don't think I have a problem with Lewis' successful rehabilitation of his image - much like Mike Vick, I think he deserves a chance to prove he changed his ways, and it seems like Lewis has been a good role model since that incident. But surely it at least warrants mention? Here's what ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein had to say (and a rebuttal from Deadspin's Barry Petchesky). So is Bernstein right? Is it unfair to let that night tarnish Lewis' legacy because he wasn't convicted of murder?

I say no, it is not unfair. Or, at least, acknowledging that it happened seems quite natural and expected. Any summary of Lewis' life would be incomplete without mention, if for no other reason that as a catalyst for some of the exemplary off-the-field behavior that followed. Lewis should be celebrated as an example of a guy apparently vowing to never repeat a horrible mistake again and succeeding, but you can only tell that story by mentioning the horrible mistake he made in the first place.

No matter what happens from now on in Mike Vick's career, I think it is likely that "dog fighting" will be in the first sentence of his career wrap up, including from ESPN. Why is Lewis' case any different?

What do people here think?
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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.24
You know, I hated Irvin, Shannon Sharpe and Prime Time when they were planning. Now, I only hate Sharpe. Maybe, I could get to like Lewis, but it doesn't change the fact that Lewis should have been in jail or the very least not allowed to play in that Super Bowl. Lewis' incident along with other ones lead to Law and Order Goddell which is both a positive and minus. I also don't like this ass kissing coming from ESPN from Mike and Mike to NFL Prime Time and others saying he is the best ILB to play the game. I think not. Its typical praise for a guy out the door and coming in their front door. As much as he would like to be known as that and maybe he will since he is getting into the HOF, the murder situation is going to be in his bio too.

(edited by lotjx on 3.1.13 2117)


The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
ekedolphin
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Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.18
I'm afraid it'll be forgotten about in 20 years, much like the situation with Jimmy Snuka and Nancy Argentino.



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TheOldMan
Landjager








Since: 13.2.03
From: Chicago

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.69
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    No matter what happens from now on in Mike Vick's career, I think it is likely that "dog fighting" will be in the first sentence of his career wrap up, including from ESPN. Why is Lewis' case any different?

    What do people here think?


It's different because he's becoming an ESPN employee, which makes him off-limits for criticism to anyone working for the Mothership?

(And after "ESPN's NFL Live!", stay tuned for "Baseball Tonight" with seven-time Most Valuable Player Barry Bonds.)



haz
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

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#5 Posted on
    Originally posted by lotjx
    You know, I hated Irvin, Shannon Sharpe and Prime Time when they were planning. Now, I only hate Sharpe. Maybe, I could get to like Lewis, but it doesn't change the fact that Lewis should have been in jail or the very least not allowed to play in that Super Bowl. Lewis' incident along with other ones lead to Law and Order Goddell which is both a positive and minus. I also don't like this ass kissing coming from ESPN from Mike and Mike to NFL Prime Time and others saying he is the best ILB to play the game. I think not. Its typical praise for a guy out the door and coming in their front door. As much as he would like to be known as that and maybe he will since he is getting into the HOF, the murder situation is going to be in his bio too.

    (edited by lotjx on 3.1.13 2117)


So who is the best ILB of all time then? I certainly think Lewis is and so do many others. Not sure why the ESPN guys thinking it is "ass-kissing".

How about this article:

http://unassistedsports.com/top-10-middle-linebackers-of-all-time/

Certainly a case can be made for Butkus, Singletary and Lambert too, but Lewis is certainly in the same class.

His past is his past and he has done a good job ensuring that it isn't mentioned by being a good citizen and flying right. Same thing will happen with Vick if he keeps on the straight and narrow. The dog-fighting does not come up very often now and will even less-so in the future.






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StingArmy
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Since: 3.5.03
From: Georgia bred, you can tell by my Hawk jersey

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.30
    Originally posted by TheOldMan
      Originally posted by TheBucsFan
      No matter what happens from now on in Mike Vick's career, I think it is likely that "dog fighting" will be in the first sentence of his career wrap up, including from ESPN. Why is Lewis' case any different?

      What do people here think?


    It's different because he's becoming an ESPN employee, which makes him off-limits for criticism to anyone working for the Mothership?

This is the cynical way of looking at it. Which is not to say it's not the real reason! That damn well may be the reason.

However, if I were to offer another possible reason, I'd argue that for all the crying and protests about Michael Vick and dog fighting, very little in this society measures up to an accusation of committing (or conspiring to commit or covering up or whatever) a murder. Murder is murder is murder. Short of accusing Ray Lewis of rape or sexual abuse of small children, you can't really come up with a worse accusation.

So when a man has, by all accounts, reformed himself to become a model citizen, and nothing about his life for the past 10+ years reflects the man that got himself into that situation, some people feel it is unfair and piling on to bring the murder thing up. As another way to look at it: if Michael Vick retires in five years and the dog fighting stuff is about a decade or so in his past, when people inevitably bring it up it won't seem so bad. But talking about somebody being involved in a murder 13 years ago is just about as bad as if he was involved in it last week.

- StingArmy
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.29
I've thought the reason it's never brought up is the uncertainty of it all and the distance from the crime

If you were paying attention to football - or sports at all - you were bombarded with the gruesome details about Vick's dogfighting ring. It was clear what had happened, (eventually) there was no denying what had happened and Vick's role in it.

The Ray Lewis murder situation has never been that clear - maybe because it was a plea bargain? As a fan of football, all I feel like I know is two people died when interacting with a group that included Lewis, but no real certainty of how much Lewis was involved. The implication has always been that Lewis tried to protect his friends for a while before changing his mind, but didn't cause the deaths, but I really have no idea if that's right at all.

I am sure there are people who know the story better, but my point is the story never seems to be as told as clearly as the Vick one. Not knowing what happened makes it easier (than usual) to feel whatever they would've otherwise felt about Lewis.



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TheBucsFan
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Since: 2.1.02

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.36
    Originally posted by thecubsfan
    I've thought the reason it's never brought up is the uncertainty of it all and the distance from the crime

    If you were paying attention to football - or sports at all - you were bombarded with the gruesome details about Vick's dogfighting ring. It was clear what had happened, (eventually) there was no denying what had happened and Vick's role in it.

    The Ray Lewis murder situation has never been that clear - maybe because it was a plea bargain? As a fan of football, all I feel like I know is two people died when interacting with a group that included Lewis, but no real certainty of how much Lewis was involved. The implication has always been that Lewis tried to protect his friends for a while before changing his mind, but didn't cause the deaths, but I really have no idea if that's right at all.

    I am sure there are people who know the story better, but my point is the story never seems to be as told as clearly as the Vick one. Not knowing what happened makes it easier (than usual) to feel whatever they would've otherwise felt about Lewis.


He lied to police and either destroyed or somehow hid very well evidence of the crime - his bloodied suit. He paid a cash settlement to the families of the victims. I agree that I don't know enough to say he certainly should have been convicted of murder, but he obviously (to me) was guilty of something very objectionable.

But in support of what you're saying, one thing that is also often unmentioned is that, even though Lewis testified against his two friends, they were acquitted of the murder charges. So there's that too.
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
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Since: 2.1.02
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.40
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan


    He lied to police and either destroyed or somehow hid very well evidence of the crime - his bloodied suit. He paid a cash settlement to the families of the victims. I agree that I don't know enough to say he certainly should have been convicted of murder, but he obviously (to me) was guilty of something very objectionable.

    But in support of what you're saying, one thing that is also often unmentioned is that, even though Lewis testified against his two friends, they were acquitted of the murder charges. So there's that too.


I love my Ravens and I want to believe Lewis didn't do anything, but in the eyes of the court of public opinion, innocent people do not pay off the family of a murder victim.

Maybe he tried to hide the clothes and his friends fell on the sword because he was guilty, or maybe he hid the clothes because his friends were guilty. We will never know. I do feel that his actions come from a guilty conscience.



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Whitebacon
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#10 Posted on
    Originally posted by lotjx
    Maybe, I could get to like Lewis, but it doesn't change the fact that Lewis should have been in jail or the very least not allowed to play in that Super Bowl.


He didn't play in that Super Bowl. That one was between the Rams and Titans.
Stefonics
Bockwurst








Since: 17.3.02
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.85
    Originally posted by Zeruel

    I love my Ravens and I want to believe Lewis didn't do anything, but in the eyes of the court of public opinion, innocent people do not pay off the family of a murder victim.

    Maybe he tried to hide the clothes and his friends fell on the sword because he was guilty, or maybe he hid the clothes because his friends were guilty. We will never know. I do feel that his actions come from a guilty conscience.

Just to play Devil's Advocate for one second, no one was convicted of any crime . It looks guilty as hell to see a cash settlement, but in the same instance, no one served time. Someone died, and that is tragic. But as far as the police are concerned, the case is still unsolved. They brought charges against those who they thought were guilty, or at least clear suspects, but nothing came from those charges.
Now, do I think that Ray was involved somehow? Yes. He wouldn't have tossed the bloody suit unless he was at least there. But again, that was what? Over ten years ago? Has he been a model citizen since then? Absolutely. Has he been a role model? For sure. Which "criminal" would I rather have my adulation; Ray Lewis or LT? I pick Ray. People are flawed, especially when they get handed a huge contract, a giant chip on their shoulder, and a sense of entitlement. He could've been one of the sad stories of pro-sports. He could've continued running with negative influences and consistently been put in bad spots. But he changed. And continued that change for over a decade. If a man can be forgiven for past indiscretions, even murder, Ray Lewis is a model example of how to lead your life after you make some fucking stupid decisions and some bad shit happens around you.
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Well apparently he failed the preliminary test, but passed the followup...so I dunno.
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