Ray Lewis feels compelled to remain in the city that he loves.
CBS Sports is reporting that Lewis, who played his entire pro football career with the Baltimore Ravens, has decided to remain in the city that has come under riotous fire after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who suffered massive injuries while in police custody. Lewis was slotted to co-anchor the 2015 NFL Draft from Chicago starting tomorrow. Lewis has asked for, and received, permission to skip the draft.
“I felt that it was more important for me to stay in Baltimore and try to help the city I love,” Lewis said. “I greatly appreciate ESPN’s understanding and flexibility at this late date. I did not feel right leaving the city at this time.”
Louis Riddick will join Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, and Mel Kiper Jr. as a replacement analyst for Lewis for the ESPN presentation.
“Few athletes are as connected to a city as Ray is to Baltimore, having played his entire career there and based on all the work he has done in that community,” ESPN producer Seth Markman said. “While we will miss him at the draft, we completely support him in this decision and we hope his involvement will help resolve the situation there.”
ESPN is reporting that Lewis took to his social media channels to get Lewis’ message of calm and restoring order in Baltimore.
“Baltimore get off the streets. Kids, go home. Stay home,” Lewis said in an impassioned video posted on Lewis’ Facebook. “You don’t have no right to do what you’re doing to this city. Too many hard-working people built this city. We put this city together, we put this city on our back. We’re with you. We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. We know we’re not getting the right justice. We know all these answers. But rioting in our streets is wrong — it’s dead wrong.”
“No way, no way this can happen in our city. Young kids, you’ve got to understand something. Get off the streets. Violence is not the answer, violence has never been the answer… We don’t do nothing for [Freddie Gray] doing this. We know there’s a deeper issue. We know what the jungle looks like. But this isn’t it.”
“We must change this right now. Stop the violence man. Go home. I’m telling you, go home. Whatever I gotta do, it will not happen on our clock. It will not happen on our clock,” Lewis implored.
[Image courtesy of ImgArcade]