Ravens fans understand and accept Ray Lewis, no matter what media tells you


Once again, the talk about the Baltimore Ravens doesn’t seem to be about how good this team is… instead it’s not on the game at all. But what I don’t understand is why the talk is coming from Baltimore.

Mike Preston wrote in today’s Baltimore Sun: (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-sp-preston-ravens-super-bowl-0129-20130128,0,3337578.column)

I was also glad to see the Ravens pay [Ray] Lewis a great tribute during his final home game against the Indianapolis Colts. He deserved to have a day and one more dance. The victory lap was a little extreme, but if Cal Ripken Jr. deserved a victory lap, so did Lewis. But this crying, praying, quoting Scripture and dropping to his knees during the past two games has gone too far. I believe Lewis is serious about his show of emotion. I will never question his commitment to Christianity or his love for God. But I’ve watched Lewis for 17 years, and while he is the ultimate team guy, he is also the ultimate “I” guy. He loves his fellow players, but Ray Lewis loves him some Ray Lewis, which is why he talks about himself in the third person. He likes the theater and loves to be a showman, but when is enough, enough? Even within the past week, more Baltimore fans are being turned off by his behavior as the network cameras zoom in. Microphones and recorders collect his every word even though we’re not sure what he is talking about at times. It’s funny and it’s sad.

We can all have our different opinions on Ray Lewis and how he carries himself, but the part I don’t understand about Preston’s column is “more Baltimore fans are being turned off by his behavior…”. Really? Outside of the media, who in Baltimore (that is a Ravens fan) is turned off by it? I don’t know a single person. Ravens fans understand Ray Lewis. They understand where he came from, how he has changed, and what is important to him. Baltimore loves it! Just check your Twitter feed, or Facebook newsfeed during last week’s National Anthem. When the camera went to Ray’s face with tears streaming down his cheeks, Ravens fans were cheering. They loved his passion.

If you gave your heart and soul, and your blood, sweat and tears to something at the highest level possible, for 17 years, and you knew that it was coming to an end, I’m guessing you would be pretty emotional too.

Now, outside of Baltimore, we know they don’t give him the respect that Ravens fans do. You might have seen the Ray Lewis parody on Saturday Night Live (http://www.hulu.com/watch/450058) this past week. It was a funny skit. But also a realistic view of how people outside of Maryland view Lewis. Even Ray Lewis enjoyed the skit, saying, “I laughed so hard. I was in tears last night laughing about it. It’s good to be able to joke about certain things. What I do is very serious but for them to put it in a skit and for him to play it the way he did, it’s awesome.”

So why such a disconnect between how Ravens fans feel and the rest of the country? It all goes back to something that happened 13 years ago. Non-Ravens fans won’t let it go… I call it jealousy.

According to data from the social media analysis company Fizziology (http://mashable.com/2013/01/28/ray-lewis-social-media-sentiment/), Ray Lewis was mentioned more than 63,000 times on Twitter during the week of Jan. 21 through Jan. 27. Eighteen percent of those mentions were negative — and approximately half of those negative comments referenced Lewis’ alleged role in a double murder following Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.

The rest of the country may never get past those events back in 2000, but Ravens fans have. We have seen the change in Ray Lewis’ life. We have seen the impact he has made on the city of Baltimore and in the lives of people that live there. After 17 years, Ray Lewis is one of the Top 3 defensive players of all time. He’s a first ballot Hall-of-Famer who is wrapping up a remarkable career.

Ray Lewis deserves a victory lap.

He deserves to shed a few tears at the end of an era.

And if he wants to kneel and thank God for what he’s been able to do, then so be it.

I don’t think any Ravens fan will mind.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

15 Raves on “Ravens fans understand and accept Ray Lewis, no matter what media tells you

  1. Scott on said:

    What I don’t quite understand is why you are surprised by Mike Preston writing an article explicitly designed to elicit animosity from the reader? Writing articles that intentionally do not appeal to prevailing public opinions is his modus operandi. It is an effective means of generating conversation about himself and the nonsense that he “reports” on, and explains why most people in and around Baltimore (at least most people that I know) think that he is a douche.

  2. Josh on said:

    Fat Preston is the king of blanket statements with nothing to back them up, which is why I stopped reading him years ago. You are just giving that blowhard undeserved attention by posting what he wrote in this well-written column of yours, Joe. Preston is so embittered that he’s still a columnist for a lowly paper like “The Sun” he can’t see straight anymore.

  3. DarthSizzle55 on said:

    Mike Preston always sucks. He is bad on the air his team grades are crap. Especially the grade against the Colts C plus. Best to ignore him and not think about him.

  4. joe falcco on said:

    Preston may be wrong when it comes to how Ravens fans feel, but everything he says about Ray is right on the money. He hijacked his team’s playoff run and made it all about himself.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Funny Falcco, you would think that those who should be bothered the most if your theory was true are Ray’s teammates. Unfortunately for you, that couldn’t be farther from the truth and consequently your comments simply reduce you at best to being an uninformed hater.

      • Funny Falcco on said:

        That hurts, Tony. An uniformed hater? That’s only the laziest comment section fallback retort in the history of the internet. Ravens fans need to come to terms with the fact that the fans of the other 31 teams think Ray is a narccisistic camera hog, who uses the media when he wants to promote himself, but criticizes them and uses his religious beliefs as a shield when they ask him tough questions. Being a fan of a team is awesome but you have wool over your eyes if you can’t see his true colors.

          • Joey Fluko on said:

            What? What does that even mean? Is that like “it is what it is;” i.e. an attempt to sound profound when you really have nothing to say, no retort of consequence. Like I said, loving your team is fun and hopefully rewarding, but don’t so easily believe in a man who has lived nothing but a life of hypocrisy.

        • Scott on said:

          Hm. Interesting. Allow me to describe my objective observations.

          I observed a team in a state of free fall prior to the playoffs.

          I observed a veteran team leader, beloved by both his teammates and the citizens of the city that he has played football in for seventeen years, publicly announce his decision to retire.

          I observed a football team rally around a veteran team leader’s public retirement announcement, regain focus, and travel to New Orleans to play in the Super Bowl (achieving two victories as extreme underdogs in the process).

          I observed some raging douche nozzle who has an irrational hatred of a popular football player take a cowardly potshot in the comment section of an article praising said player.

          That’s what I observed. Glasses are over my eyes, but I’m pretty sure that they are wool-free.

          • Joey Fluko on said:

            Where have I taken a potshot at anyone? What have I said to any users that was impolite? How did “raging douche nozzle” pass moderation?

  5. Joseph Flocko on said:

    Ray Lewis is a jerk guys. Sorry to tell you. Hope you enjoy watching your team in the Super Bowl. It certainly is one of the rare, most exciting experiences as a sports fan. By the way, Deadspin linking to this article was because they were making fun of it, in their article titled “A Hater’s Guide To Ray Lewis,” because most people hate him, and can’t comprehend how he can be praised or admired. Thanks for your time.

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