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Quoth the Raven: "Keep Your Mouth Shut"

What Is Ray Lewis' True Legacy?

By

Quoth the Raven:

Ray Lewis

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With the Baltimore Ravens now in the Super Bowl, you'll be hearing a lot about their star linebacker Ray Lewis.

You'll be hearing a lot from a fawning media about what a true, inspirational leader he is, about his charitable work, about all he's done for humanity.

Sorry, but you'll have to excuse me from this Ray Lewis love-fest.

Who is Ray Lewis?

It's like this: A guy says to me the other day, "did you see that victory lap Lewis did after the Ravens' last home game? He's something, isn't he?"

I didn't say anything, but I thought yeah, he's something all right. Ray Lewis is definitely something.

The conundrum is: what is he? Who exactly is this man, one of the best to ever play linebacker in the NFL?

"Peacemaker?"

Is he the "peacemaker" he claims he was on the night of January 31, 2000 when two men were stabbed to death outside an Atlanta nightclub?

Was he an active participant in those ugly killings, as at least one witness claimed?

Was Lewis engaged in a cynical cover-up of those murders, protecting thugs who should be serving prison sentences?

Or is he this golden boy who NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to hire as a "special advisor" when Lewis retires after the Super Bowl, as he has said he will?

"Act of Kindness"

There are a few things we know for sure. We know that he and his handlers have done a superb job of rehabbing his image.

He's beloved by Baltimore fans and is big into charity groups, including his own Ray Lewis 52 Foundation.

He's been in television commercials for a number of brands, has landed a number of corporate endorsements and was featured in the NFL Network's documentary series A Football Life."

He has received the Act of Kindness" award for his community work. He's an ordained Christian minister who has six children by four women.

Blood in the Limo

Here's something else we know. We know that Lewis was the only one ever punished in connection with the murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar.

The two defendants in their murder trial, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were acquitted. This was after Lewis copped a plea from prosecutors, who dropped all murder charges in exchange for Lewis pleading guilty to "obstruction of justice and testifying against the two men.

We also know some other things:

"Keep Your Mouth Shut"

We know the knife found at the murder scene was traced back to the sporting goods store where Lewis signed autographs the day before the Super Bowl. Lewis' signature and phone number were found on the receipt, according to a witness.

We know that after Baker and Lollar were stabbed, around 10 men jumped in Lewis' limousine and sped off, and that blood was found in the limo that matched one of the victims.

We also know this for sure: That night in the limo, Lewis said "just keep your mouth shut and don't say nothing."

And we know that Lewis lied to the cops both before and after he was arrested. All this is on record.

Blood-Spattered Suit

Here's something we don't know. We don't know what happened to the white suit Lewis was wearing that night.

Somebody in his limo dumped a mysterious package that night, according to witnesses. Prosecutors claimed it was the blood-spattered suit Lewis was wearing. It was never recovered.

We also don't know what happened behind closed doors in those two settled, civil suits by the victims' relatives.

Justice Not Served

I'm not saying Lewis should be publicly flogged or barred from the Hall of Fame or lose his endorsements or even that those fans who worship the ground he walks on should turn on him. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind here.

He was not convicted of murder. All murder charges against him were dropped. He served his probation and has not been involved in any trouble since.

But - and this is a huge "but" - whenever I see Ray Lewis portrayed as saint and savior, I personally cannot help but think about the still-grieving relatives of the murdered men and their murderers still roaming free.

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