What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Unless you live under a rock in a cave at the bottom of a crater on the dark side of the moon which only gets service from Comcast, you know what happened last week in Baltimore. While I’m not here to get into the socio-economics of this catastrophe, it is raising an interesting question in that area where sports crosses over into culture.
Enter former Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis. We all know Lewis made an impassioned speech via YouTube about the rioting in Baltimore. To make a long story short, there are some people who have an issue with Lewis’ statements that “violence is not the answer” when Lewis himself has a history of being involved with a double-murder.
To me this raises a very interesting set of questions, but to ask them, we’ve got to establish a few things up front. The first, and most important, is that Lewis is sending the right message. Like him or not, credible or not, he’s on the correct side of this. Face it, he could be one of those “Burn this bitch down” types we just saw in Ferguson. Let’s also face that if he had chosen to go that way, there would be people getting ready to have the exact same conversation I’m starting.
In other words this really isn’t about the message or the situation which is driving it. This is about Ray Lewis and his transformation from suspected thug to man of respect. Like it or not, that is exactly what has happened. In 2001, Ray Lewis was on the verge of going to prison for his alleged involvement in a double-murder, and in 2015 he is delivering an anti-violence message to a city in which there is a statue of him.
That brings us to the second item we need to establish as a given. Somewhere over the span of the last fifteen years, that transformation happened. It’s as real as the aforementioned statue. You may not agree with it, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Now that we’ve established those facts, we can start asking my questions.
The first one is for the pro-Ray Lewis crowd. At what point did the “tipping point” occur when Lewis went from “thug” to “respected,” and what was the event to cause that change?The second question is really the inverse of the first one; naturally, it’s for the anti-Ray Lewis crowd. What does Ray Lewis have to do to get to that “tipping point?”
Remember, the idea here isn’t a debate over whether this should happen or not because as I’ve said, it’s happened. Rather, this is a discussion about how it happened and what it will take for those who refuse to accept it to do so.
Let me tell you what I think. If the NFL, ESPN, the city of Baltimore, or whoever want to recognize Ray Lewis as some sort of oracle, so be it. Like I said, in this case, he’s got himself on the right side. That’s what makes him hard to criticize in this case. Thankfully, I’ve got something which makes him easy to criticize.
Despite what anybody wants to think about what Ray Lewis’ role was in the deaths of those two people, before I can take him seriously, he needs to come clean about what happened that night in 2001. There’s a simple reason for that. In his YouTube excoriation of the rioters in Baltimore, Lewis makes it a point to talk about the innocent people whose lives are affected by the riots. Yet, he shows no such concern for the families of the people who were killed on that night in 2001. Because of his silence, those families never get closure; they never get to know how their loved ones met their end.
It all comes back to questions. There’s the two questions I’ve already mentioned. I’m still curious to see what you think. To me, they actually beg a third question…how did Ray Lewis get a pass on this?
That’s what I’d really like to know.