It’s sad on many levels that fans across the country don’t understand Ray Lewis the way we do here in Baltimore.
Those outside of The Land of Pleasant Living often claim that our opinions of Ray are tainted by devotion to the team and the purple tinted shades we allegedly sport.
They claim Ray is disingenuous and that his regular references to God and his faith are phony. That they are simply served up as distractions, red herrings of sorts to throw off the scent of foul play in Atlanta back in 2000 and recently with the deer antler spray controversy.
It’s ugly and it’s wrong.
What is really at play here is more of the opposite.
Fans outside of Baltimore have warped opinions of Lewis. To a certain extent it’s not their fault really. They can only draw conclusions on the things they’ve heard and read about Ray and then pretend to understand what motivates him.
And a lot of what is written is the creation of journalists and hacks who are too lazy to get the real story. They then draw conclusions contaminated by their own insecurities, ignorance, hatred, jealousy, opportunism or all of the above.
Even frustrated former players have to fuel the flames of misconceptions of Ray by grossly abusing their privileged role in the media for their own notoriety and hopeful advancement.
One such former player is Amani Toomer who recently had this to say about the sure-fire first ballot Hall-of-Famer.
“It’s definitely all about him,” Toomer said of Lewis.
“Once a guy goes to the center of the field, goes into the victory formation on the last play of his last home game . . . . I just don’t think the Giants or any organization I’ve ever been a part of, even growing up, would allow somebody to single themselves out like that.
“If you single yourself out after you make a play, that’s one thing. But to walk out on the field reminds me of the WWE, like The Rock coming out. You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. It’s exhausting. I don’t know why somebody would want that.”
And now that a journalist wannabe like Toomer has used the many platforms available to him to weave such inaccurate tales, the fans outside of Baltimore take it as gospel and it deepens the inaccurate perceptions of Ray Lewis.
Toomer didn’t stop there.
He drudged up the double murder and rhetorically asked, “Ray, what happened that night?”
“If you want to say you’re Mr. Religious and all of that, have a clean record. Don’t say all of that stuff if you know there’s stuff that might come back.
“Those are the things that, when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy.”
The court records will detail Ray’s account of what happened that night in Atlanta. Since pleading to obstruction of justice he has been a model citizen; active in the community with children and the underprivileged; leading and inspiring those who touch his life; and by example showing a community how hard work, dedication, focus and belief in one’s self can lead to achievement.
And then of course there’s Ray’s faith.
You can accept it or be moved by it.
Insecure people might be afraid of it.
Enter Amani Toomer.
Why should we be surprised by Toomer’s fear and insecurities?
After all this isn’t the first time Ray Lewis has scared Toomer. Perhaps you may remember how the Giants WR, concerned about crossing the middle with Ray Lewis lurking, rounded his route leading to a pick six by Duane Starks. (0:48 mark of video below)
Now if only Sirius/XM NFL Radio could 86 this analyst wannabe…