On Wednesday, tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested, released by the New England Patriots, and then charged with first-degree murder and five other firearm violations all within hours of each other.
As the shocking developments continue to unfold surrounding Hernandez’s alleged involvement in the events that led to the death of Odin Lloyd, 27 on the night of June 14th, comparisons by multiple media outlets continue to draw a connection between Hernandez and Ravens legend Ray Lewis.
This is unfortunate for Lewis, as his name was cleared in the stabbing deaths of two young men outside of an Atlanta night club back in January, 2000. However, Lewis apparently will never escape the guilty verdict in the court of public opinion despite the fact that an ambitious Atlanta District Attorney could never mount a compelling case against him and his celebrity status.
Meanwhile, evidence described by Massachusetts prosecutors on Wednesday suggests that Hernandez, 23 hardly matches up with the public persona of a maturing young athlete. The prosecution alleges that Hernandez “orchestrated [Odin Lloyd's] execution.”
Comparatively speaking Lewis was in the wrong place at the wrong time, hanging with the wrong people. He made some mistakes that night, perhaps driven by panic and visions of a promising career going down the drain. But never was there a developing case and a mountain of evidence that allegedly rivals Fenway’s Green Monster, like there is against Hernandez.
Nevertheless, Lewis remains a convenient comparative point of reference for many in the media when describing Hernandez’ case when really the only thing these cases have in common are that they involve an NFL player and that men died.
Lewis led an exemplary and decorated career from January, 2000 forward as a model player on and off the field. And perhaps it’s those accomplishments coupled with his connectivity to that horrific night in Buckhead, near Atlanta, Georgia that brings the future Hall of Famer to the forefront when tragedies like this happen.
No one ever seems to draw parallels to the name of Rae Carruth who was convicted of murder while a promising wide receiver of the Carolina Panthers.
Fingering Lewis is lazy, irresponsible and quite frankly unintelligent.
Maybe these “professionals” when covering the Hernandez case should keep in mind that another man is dead, his family grieves and another promising career just came to a tragic end.
That’s the real part of the story, not Ray Lewis.