The Baltimore Ravens honored now-retired linebacker Ray Lewis last week with a nine-foot-tall statue in front of M&T Bank Stadium, yards away from a statue of Baltimore Colts legend, Johnny Unitas. Lewis, who played on two championship teams for the Ravens and made the pro bowl 13 times in his long career, was on hand for the dedication.
Ray Lewis spoke to the crowd of, as ESPN reports, a few thousand fans, all decked out in number 52 jerseys, for 31 minutes, talking about how great the city of Baltimore is and how he will always be a Raven. What he didn’t bring up is that he killed a man, served a minimal sentence for lesser offenses, and paid restitution to the victim’s family. The rest of the particulars have been swept under the rug by the NFL or locked up in sealed documents. Ray Lewis killed a man, paid a $250,000 fine to the NFL and continued playing. But boy, that statue sure does look great.
Ray Rice didn’t play a down of football this past Sunday. He is currently serving a laughable two-game suspension for assaulting his then fiancé-now-wife in a casino earlier this year. Video has now surfaced, as reported here on The Inquisitr, showing the act in all its horrific glory as Rice rounds on the woman with a left handed punch, knocking her completely unconscious. Ray Rice was arrested but as these things sometimes sickeningly go, the woman didn’t press charges. The NFL suspended Rice for two games.
If killing a man gets you a 9-foot statue in front of the stadium, what does domestic battery get you? Do the Baltimore Ravens have a handy chart that signifies the awards for crimes in relation to football success? Ray Rice has a Super Bowl ring. And was considered one of the leagues top running backs. The Baltimore Ravens have shown incredibly poor taste in the past as they overlooked Ray Lewis’ transgressions, so why would they change form here? If the front of M&T Bank Stadium has too many statues already, why not name the weight room facility at Ravens Park after Rice. Just be sure to include a few punching bags.
America loves football. It’s a multibillion dollar a year establishment that caters to all sexes, races and walks of life. Football is ingrained in our very souls as you cannot escape a fall weekend without hearing or seeing something to do with an oblong shaped ball originally made from the skin of pigs, now made from leather.
But the sport–and it is just a sport, no matter what the commercials on TV tell you–is not bigger than life or the law. Why has Baltimore been the subject of two of the biggest controversies in regards to star players and crime? Is it coincidence or is there something in the water in Maryland? And neither player ever stood trial in front of a jury for the crimes they most certainly committed. Lewis had stacks of evidence against him, but he pleaded out, instead offering to finger his two accomplices–both of whom also got off.
Ray Rice was caught on film, first with only the aftermath of the attack, and now during the duration of it. He was never charged. He never spent more than the customary night in jail for it, and after next week, Ray Rice can suit up again and begin playing for the Ravens like it never happened. At some point, someone in the Baltimore Ravens organization has to stop finding ways to honor these men and instead find ways to let them go. Ray Lewis and Ray Rice are not role models or heroes or even men. They are cowards who have hidden behind the almighty shield of the NFL instead of paying for what they have done. And in the end, one got a statue for it. What will Ray Rice get?
Update: The Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice after the video of his attack went public.
[Images courtesy of Google]