Ray Lewis took the Black Lives Matter movement to task in an emotional new video post on his personal Facebook page.
The former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, who is no stranger to violent run-ins himself (per CBS Sports), took the protest movement to task for complaining of "one bad cop, two bad cops, three bad cops" while black-on-black murder rates are skyrocketing.
To start, Ray Lewis says that he was in his prayer room on Saturday morning (April 2) and found his spirit "very disturbed."
"The things that's ran in the newspapers have disturbed me," the NFL great said. "[I'm] trying to figure out if black lives really matter, then why in Chicago alone the murder rate has soared 72 percent in 2016? Eighty-eight percent in the first three months of 2016 compared to last year. I'm trying to ask the question to an organization -- black lives, if they really mattered, why not riot now?"
Citing statistics that there were 141 murders in Chicago this month compared to 82 murders last month, Ray Lewis said he was "trying to figure out in my mind why no one is paying attention to black men killing black men."
"Why do we always find ourselves half the victims, and now we have the separation once again that we're being victimized because of one bad white cop, two bad white cops, three bad white cops, killing a young black brother. But every day we have black-on-black crime, killing each other?... The March murder rate rose by 29 percent, but we're not rioting in the streets [about] black on black killing each other."
If you think it sounds like Ray Lewis is prepping to become a Christian pastor throughout the almost 10-minute rant, you're not far off from the reality.
As a Super Bowl-winning defensive player and a probable Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2018, Ray Lewis has a large following on which to build his ministry, and he's already started with impassioned pleas like this latest one to the almost 1.9 million followers that he has on Facebook.
Nevertheless, there were some who took exception to his calling out Black Lives Matter, with one commenter stating that is "missing the point."
"Law Enforcement Officials are paid professionals not street people with street rules," the commenter said. "So I ask you who paid you to say this?... I'm not a fan anymore Ray, but I know you [have] to feed your family so it's not personal I just see through you."
Another man called Ray Lewis' remarks "divisive," pointing out that the Black Lives Matter movement is about "police misconduct and racial disparities in policing."
"You attacked an organization that is bringing awareness to an issue that has plagued Black people since slavery ended," the commenter said, adding that people like Lewis needed to "take up causes on many fronts to make this world a better place for us all."
The man accused Ray Lewis of "throwing shade" on a good cause in order to shine a light on his own, and said that it was "why our people do not progress."
"I hope that the people from BLM reach out to you so you can come to understand," the commenter added.
The divisive message also found plenty of supporters.
What do you think about Ray Lewis' comments and about his critics? Do you think Black Lives Matter does more harm than good, or are they truly highlighting an epidemic that needs to be addressed? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image of Ray Lewis via Flickr Creative Commons/Keith Allison]