As Ray Lewis prepares to play in his final NFL game, the legendary linebacker may be under even more scrutiny. As most major media outlets do, Sports Illustrated has picked an opportune time to publish an article that could open the door to inflammatory accusations targeting the future Hall of Fame linebacker.
Doping to recover from a torn triceps muscle back in October.
Lewis’ aggressive recovery has been a storyline in and of itself as he was able to return to an NFL field just ten weeks after tearing his triceps, practically defying medical odds. Now an in-depth article focused upon a company with ties to Lewis called Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.) suggests that the unconventional path to recovery chosen by the future Hall-of-Famer may have crossed the lines of conformity.
S.W.A.T.S. is owned by Mitch Ross, a gym owner and former stripper. Instead of using steroids, the company specializes in alternative methods of enhancing a person’s performance.
According to Ross, Lewis called him after tearing his triceps to discuss treatment options in order for the Ravens’ defacto leader to return to the field for a playoff run. Now that run has landed Lewis and the Ravens in their second Super Bowl appearance.
Lewis allegedly used a deer-antler velvet extract called “The Ultimate Spray” and was instructed to use it every two-hours. Not only is using deer-antler spray something unconventional, it contains IGF-1 which is among the substances banned by the NFL.
To protect himself, Ross videotaped his phone call with Lewis. Part of the transcript appeared in the Sports Illustrated story.
“Spray on my elbow every two hours?” Lewis asked.
“No,” Ross said. “Under your tongue.”
As the talk was about to conclude, Lewis allegedly said to Ross, “Just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week.”
Lewis’ return has provided motivation for his teammates and his city as the Ravens look to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore for a second time. While Lewis’ past is largely ignored inside of Baltimore, it’s still something that is often brought up by national media and common football fans.
The latest developments, regardless if true or not, could cast another black eye on a remarkable career by a player some refer to as the best middle linebacker to ever play the game.
Ever since the Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, stories of Lewis pleading guilt to obstruction of justice for a double murder outside of an Atlanta nightclub after the Super Bowl 13 years ago have been dusted off. A man who has done so much for his team, family and community is now trying to be cast as a bad guy, even though he’s been nothing but a model citizen since his murder accusation.
With this latest report, “murder” will now be joined with “doper” regardless of what the truth may be. As the media has clearly shown this week, the court of law doesn’t necessarily dictate what the court of public opinion will actually believe.
Given the amount of attention Lewis has been paid up until the Super Bowl, there is no doubt this story will be discussed beyond exhaustion. Sadly, for Lewis, another question mark will now overshadow his career during a moment that could be looked at as his most remarkable yet.
Update: Ray Lewis addressed this concern during his Media Day appearance.
Lewis: “Two years ago that was the same report. I wouldn’t give that report or him any of my press, he’s not worthy of that.”