Whenever there’s a story about Ray Lewis originating from online publications not based in Baltimore, inevitably the topic of murder surfaces – usually in the comments section.
The hate could be explained in countless ways and ranges from jealousy to insecurity to jadedness to ignorance amongst fans.
Of course Ray made mistakes. He once ran with the wrong crowd. In the fleeting seconds after the Atlanta slayings he panicked given the potential consequences of his twice-removed connectivity to such brutal crimes.
The details of the case (or lack thereof) are well documented. Ray’s behavior since is even more, well documented. He’s been a model citizen. He’s been a community activist. He’s been a philanthropist both publicly and privately. He’s been a leader on and off the field.
Some, usually his critics or the sad lot of people who want to use that night in January of 2000 against Ray to pathetically try and boost their own self-esteem by undermining the integrity of others, will accuse him of being a selfish man seeking attention and dismiss his acts of kindness as disingenuous.
For those fortunate enough to know otherwise, it’s only natural to be angry; to want to defend Ray. Our understanding liberates us yet it further fans the flames of our anger.
Funny thing is, the ugly fans of those other 31 teams who treat Ray with disdain would love to have had him on their town’s team in a nanosecond.
No one said all fans are intelligent, rational and/or logical thinkers. It’s easier for some to just be ignorant.
But for mainstream media to be so ignorant, that’s an entirely new ball game.
Recently in his Saturday One-Liners, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio had this quip for the Ravens and Ray Lewis as the prepared to visit President Obama.
There was a day when Florio would post a random rumor – even outrageous ones conjured up by fans who would play him and his PFT just to see if he had the gall or naivety to post it.
And usually he did.
But over the years, Florio through his relentless dedication to build something meaningful caught the attention of GM’s around the league and then suddenly his stories became more credible, so much so that NBC decided to pony up some cash and acquire his site and Florio’s snarky commentary.
He’s become mainstream.
Yet with this extreme below the belt shot at Ray, he’s stooped to the level of all of those aforementioned jealous, insecure and ignorant fans. He should be embarrassed.
And NBC, the home of the league’s television jewel, Sunday Night Football, should be even more embarrassed.
You can take the punk, put a suit on him, comb his hair, powder his nose with make-up, wipe the crust from his eye, give him a Life Saver, put him on national television and make him a media star.
But unless he grows up, he’s still a punk.
And obviously Florio hasn’t.