This past weekend in Canton, Ohio was NFL Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, which is memorable for many reasons, but for me of course it always makes me think of the one time I went to the ceremony and crashed Michael Irvin’s party, and danced next to Jerry Jones for a few minutes. Ah, living the good life.
This year’s inductees were all worthy in the football sense, but there was one particular player whose enshrinement, and glorification, will always bother me, and I’m sure plenty of others.
I’m talking about the man who played linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, wore No. 52, talked a whole lot of smack, played dirty and without regard for his or anyone else’s body, and liked to dance before games.
We share a last name (no relation), but I certainly hope it’s the only trait we share. Because among all the other things Ray Lewis is, he’s also most certainly an accomplice to a double murder.
That’s right, don’t let all the glorification of his ego and accomplishments blind you to the fact that in 2000, Lewis was convicted on charges of obstruction of justice related to the slayings of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar in Atlanta during Super Bowl week in 2000.
There is more to the story, and there’s a bloody jacket involved, but Lewis has never truly had to answer for his crimes; certainly never did any jail time, and the court of public opinion has certainly always been in his favor.
Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated wrote a remarkable first-person piece on Lewis this weekend, a healthy antidote to all of the worship. Klemko writes movingly about the amazing NFL PR machine that protected Lewis, Lewis’ own arrogance about even being asked about the murders, and how so much of Lewis’ story is emblematic of how high on a pedestal some athetes are placed.
This is truly outstanding, necessary writing and reporting from Klemko. Highly, highly recommend you read it.
**Next up today, more amazingness from the world of science. Check out this nature video that’s ostensibly asking the question, can hurricanes affect natural selection, but really, it’s about the hilarity of watching lizards get harassed with leaf blowers and watching them hang on for dear life.
**Finally today, a snapshot of America, 2018 from Portland this weekend. In a similar-type situation to what happened in Charlottesville last summer, there was a massive white-power march among Trump supporters and other formerly-extreme but now apparently quite commonplace groups in Oregon on Saturday. These were armed protesters wearing battle gear, and of course counter-protesters from the left showed up, and there was violence.
No one died (thank God), but there were street fights and some blood and just overall a sense of extreme menace. Listen to some of these quotes from Graeme Whitmeyer, a protester and Trump supporter and apparently big Alex Jones fan:
“This is like a civil war of ideas,” he said. “This is the cold civil war, right here. This is the epitome of it, in America, right here. I had to jump in and be a part of it—be on the right side of history.”
Whitmeyer had come prepared with a handwritten speech about forgiveness. Asked what, if anything, he thought could reconcile his Trump-supporting compatriots with opponents across the street, he replied:
“Only the exposing of the crimes of the evil leftists that are brainwashing those crowds over there. The media has twisted them to think that we’re Nazis. So once the people that are controlling the media are taken down in the courts of law, and arrested or whatever has to be done to them, you know—all of these globalists—you won’t see them [show up].
“It’s not a reconciliation between sides. They need to wake up,” he went on. “What they are, are zombies that were created. Minions that were created. They’re not thinking for themselves.”
Be afraid. Be very afraid.