Everybody loves Raymond, but not everybody loves Ray Lewis. Not everybody believes this Raymond. In fact, CBS' Boomer Esiason was vocal on Sunday about his opinion of what Ray Lewis knew about a Super Bowl murder in 2000. There may not be a more polarizing figure in the sports world right now. Most people would give thumbs down at this time to Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick, and any NASCAR driver named Busch. But Lewis is a love-hate relationship depending on how easily you can believe what he says.
Ray Lewis should be sitting on top of the world right now, and he likely feels like he is doing just that. He just won his second Lombardi Trophy with the Baltimore Ravens in a storybook championship run culminating in his final NFL game after 17 seasons. The 13-time All-Pro is on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. His credentials make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But as Lance, Manti, A-Rod and others have found out, the world can flip over on top of you fairly quickly.
Lewis is accused in the SI article of using deer antler spray, among other league banned substances to recover quickly from a torn triceps injury. His miraculous recovery allowed him to return in time for the Ravens championship playoff run. Lewis says he didn't do what he's accused of doing, but it would be a pretty devastating consequence for Sports Illustrated to be that wrong about a story that big and important. You might expect that Lewis would be lawyering up if he was truly being slandered to this degree.
We don't know for sure if Lewis is telling the truth. He has never failed a drug test, but the NFL only drug tests for urine and not blood so there is no way of proving if one of their athletes is using an HGH type substance. Lance Armstrong made denials of PED use for years before fessing up and losing his seven Tour de France titles among other prizes. If Lewis is doing the same, he will have to answer to a higher calling based on his evangelistic style press conferences and interviews. Quoting scripture while in the same breath denying cheating at sports highest level would make him one of the all-time hypocrites.
In 2000, Lewis was attending the Super Bowl when two Akron, Ohio men were murdered. Only one person was found guilty and that was Ray Lewis, for obstruction of justice after being charged with murder. Those murders remain unsolved and the families of the deceased are still seeking justice. Lewis cut a deal with prosecutors, wrote a check for $250,000 and walked away free to continue his football career. Now he does his dance into retirement. In a few years, Lewis will likely be standing at a podium in Canton, Ohio wearing a yellow blazer and basking in his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Just a short drive down the road from where those two men were buried 13 years ago.