Since the Ravens have punched a ticket to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers there has been an attempt to discredit Ray Lewis, one of the most revered players in the NFL and Ravens organization.
Ray Lewis is the Ravens linebacker and leader of the Ravens defense and team. It’s been a long and winding road for Lewis getting to this point. He was part of an incident on Jan 31, 2000 in Atlanta that left a man dead. The two counts of murder charges against him were dropped and he pled guilty to obstruction of justice. Since then, Ray Lewis has proved to be the ideal player on and off the field providing service or assistance for anyone who asked. He’s the person everyone calls when they are in need.
So when the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game there were some very ugly things put out on Facebook aimed at the Ravens. The most noticeable was Patriots receiver Wes Welker’s wife Anna Burns who immediately after the Patriots loss posted on her Facebook page, ”Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay! What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”
Anna Burns eventually deleted the post and apologized, but it set the wheels spinning for those who seem to have a pocket full of stones to throw. Now during the Super Bowl week there has been a claim of using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Lewis has denied these claims and with one game left before he retires it does not seem it will stick or cause any trouble for the 17-year NFL Veteran. It seems at this point these accusations will not bring Lewis down. So after the fall of several athletes in baseball such as Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire why do fans seem to give NFL players a pass when it comes to using certain banned substances?
There have been players in the NFL that have been suspended for using banned substances but after a few games out they are welcomed back by fans with open arms. Case in point – Shawne Merriman was suspended for four games in 2006 for steroid use and was still able to rack up 17 sacks. Once the suspensions were done, Merriman was right back in it, with no bad press or fan dislike. The list of NFL players for banned substances goes on and on. There’s has been no players grilled by the media or even Congress. Many believe that baseball is built on numbers and stats while football is built on wins. With all of the substance incidents in sports, fan forgiveness and public perception seem to be more powerful than the actual act.
With the Super Bowl only days away with more media coverage than the space shuttle launch, questions continue to be asked. No matter what the questions are, nothing seems to derail the players who are revered on the field for their play. Fans don’t seem that concerned with what football players do with their bodies and they are paid handsomely for it. The objective is working as a team to achieve a common goal. So as everyone parties in New Orleans this week cheering on their favorite players and team to win, no one will be concerned about who took what substance, only with who won because after all, this is history in the making.
Lewis refused to even entertain the PED accusations and the people or person behind it. This is Lewis’s last week in the NFL and he will be strictly focused on the game. He’s only concerned with the Ravens organization hoisting the Super Bowl trophy and will not be deterred by what he calls, “Tricks of the Devil.” When it’s all said and done five years from now, Ray Lewis’ name will be on the Hall of Fame ballot and chances are highly likely he will be presenting a speech at the podium. If, the past is any indicator of the future, then the fans cheering will sound louder than the critics, once more.