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Ravens’ Ray Lewis overexaggerates his innocence

Christopher Johnson, Opinion Writer
February 13, 2013
Filed under Opinion

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, football fans across America were saturated with images of Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis. But let’s be clear about something: Lewis is no hero.

In the early morning of Jan. 31, 2000, Lewis and a group of people were involved in an altercation outside a nightclub in Atlanta following a Super Bowl party. When it was over, Lewis and his entourage sped off in a stretch Lincoln Navigator as two men bled to death from stab wounds. Lewis and two other men in his group were subsequently arrested and charged with the murders.

Prosecutors later struck a deal with Lewis. His murder charges were reduced to obstruction of justice for lying to police in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants.  During the trial, some disturbing facts were revealed.

According to CNN, the driver of the limousine testified that as they sped from the scene, Lewis instructed everybody present to “just keep your mouth shut and don’t say nothing.”

Another passenger in the limousine testified she witnessed another passenger dispose of a laundry bag in a garbage bin outside of a fast food restaurant, according to CNN. Prosecutors believe the bag contained the white bloodstained suit Lewis was wearing that evening. It was never recovered. Also, blood found inside the limousine was identified as having come from one of the victims.

While much of the testimony in the murder trial cast a strong cloud of suspicion on Lewis and his cohorts, his own sworn testimony on behalf of the prosecution did little to secure a conviction of his two co-defendants. Both were later found innocent of the crimes, and Lewis served a mere one year of probation for the obstruction charge. No one was ever found guilty of the murders.

In 13 years since the tragedy, Lewis has repeatedly stated he doesn’t know what happened nor did he witness anybody with a knife. Testimony from the trial strongly suggests otherwise. Four years after the trial, Lewis paid the victim’s families an undisclosed amount of money to avoid a civil judgment. This also suggests involvement in or knowledge of the murders.

“This is a severe, felonious case in which (Lewis) had firsthand involvement in the deaths of two people,” said UWGB adjunct professor and local media personality Nick Vitrano. “What that involvement was is still debated, but he was there. He knows what happened.”

According to Deadspin.com, a sports website, in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, Lewis was repeatedly getting questions from reporters about the murders.

“Nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions,” Lewis said. “I just truly feel this is God’s time, and whatever his time is, you know, let it be his will.”

That Lewis seems to think God is more concerned about him winning the Super Bowl than him coming clean about two men who suddenly arrived at the pearly gates is more than a little disturbing.

“You’re telling me God cares what you’re doing on Sunday and not Colin Kaepernik, who has Bible verses tattooed on his arm,” Vitrano said. “You were involved in a double homicide! You’re playing a game. There were some other issues that were a little more pressing than who won the Super Bowl.”

He should’ve expected these difficult questions and been prepared to answer them openly and honestly. Instead, he chose to hide behind God.

“The transparency doesn’t seem to be there, which would suggest a clean slate, starting over — an admission,” Vitrano said. “There still seems to be a protection of the whole truth that makes me very skeptical that who you are, that what you do isn’t necessarily genuine. There’s more to the story.”

Baltimore Ravens fans feel compelled to let the world know Lewis has turned his life around, paid his dues to society and become a new man. They’ll say he’s deserving of all the media admiration he’s received this season.

People turn their lives around all the time. Some examples are more amazing than others, but the vast majority of those people don’t do it by citing God as an excuse to continue to hide the truth about the most heinous of crimes.

They don’t continue to collect millions of dollars per year while living the dream of countless numbers of kids across this country and label that as paying their dues to society.

“I don’t see it in his eyes. I see a guy who’s trying really hard to make you see it,” Vitrano said. “I feel a true conversion, remorse, a genuine change in a person doesn’t have to be presented to the public. You’ll witness it through actions. It doesn’t look real. It looks forced.”

According to ESPN, following the Ravens victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Lewis said, “How could it end any other way than that? And now I get to ride into the sunset with my second ring. When God is for you, who can be against you?”

Either he really believes God wanted him to win that game and is completely narcissistic and delusional, or he’s hiding behind his faith to conceal a very dark, dirty secret. Either way, Lewis is absolutely no her0.