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Interesting Article/Discussion on Ray Lewis

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I admit, I'm a Ray Lewis fan... At least the Ray Lewis we've all come to know since the Atlanta incident. BUT, I've always had questions. It feels like I'm wrong for pulling for him IF he did indeed kill two individuals... In fact, it doesn't feel just as though I shouldn't be a fan, but rather I should despise him because in my mind, there is no redeeming a murder. Murderers (non-self-defense/unprovoked) and child molesters are the filth of the earth in my mind.

Yet, I have no resolution on the issue because we DON'T KNOW what happened with certainty. So, I default to being a fan because everything since then has said nothing but what a high-quality individual he is.

It's always been an interesting dilemma. So, this morning, I log on Facebook and Bonnie Bernstein, who I started following after an interesting piece she wrote on the Penn St. stuff awhile back, gives her take on my feed:


Bonnie Bernstein

13 hours ago

True story: One day (long... long ago) during my middle school years, I snuck into the forest with my friends. Some of my classmates were going through this experimental phase with cigarettes. I hung out, but never took a single puff. No desire. Never one to succumb to peer pressure.

My parents weren't around when I got home, so I quickly threw my clothes in the wash. I was worried they'd make assumptions if they smelled the smoke that had permeated my jeans and jacket.

When Mom got back, I told her I was just hangin out with my friends after school. In the unlikely event she inquired about anyone smoking, I would have lied. Wasn't throwing my friends under the bus.

Was I guilty of smoking because I washed my clothes?

Had I lied, did that mean I was lighting up, too?

I don't believe Ray Lewis was a complete saint the day of the double stabbing for which he was initially charged (and yes, I'm well aware murder is a lot worse than smoking, thank you). He ditched his bloody suit, which was never recovered, and was initially dishonest with investigators. That's clearly obstruction of justice, for which he plead guilty.

But Lewis never faced a murder trial trial. His charges were dropped. The two friends he ultimately testified against were acquitted.

Will we ever know what precisely went down January 31, 2000? No. But automatically equating obstruction of justice to PHYSICALLY taking a knife and fatally stabbing two people flies in the face of everything our legal system--albeit imperfect-- is supposed to be about. That Ray Lewis payed for his friends' trial lawyers doesn't provide any ironclad evidence of murder. That line of thinking implies anyone who covers someone else's defense costs is somehow entangled in the crime.

That Lewis payed a substantial settlement to the victims' families is another compelling argument for assuming guilt, but again... completely subjective. Perhaps it was guilt of a different kind: knowing those people would never again see their loved ones, and Lewis watched it all go down. How can we possibly know?

With Lewis' pending retirement, all these questions are understandably resurfacing. The conundrum among many of my journalistic brethren: determining how we, personally, feel about Ray Lewis. On one hand, he was unquestionably with the wrong crew at the wrong time that night in Atlanta; on the other, he's had an incredibly positive impact on so many on the field and off it through his tireless charitable endeavors. I don't give a crap about how good of a linebacker he is. That doesn't sway my judgement one iota.

So, as you ponder Ray Lewis' legacy, ask yourself...

Was I guilty of smoking because I washed my clothes?

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How sure are you he had anything to do with the murders?

As I said, I'm not. I don't know one way or another. The issue for me is that there is always that question. None of us know if he did or didn't have anything to do with those murders. But, from everything I've read over the years and the things I've seen on the incident, he at least didn't cooperate with investigators... Which is understandable. And then there is the fact that he reached a settlement with the victim's families within the last few years (may have been last year IIRC).

We see all the time where members of an athlete's entourage take the fall for a guy and in return he takes care of them/their family for life. I just don't know. But the fact that the suit disappeared and was never found and that he was at least in the area of the crime... I mean, that all points to the fact that he at least was present in the immediate area of the murder.

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