Tag Archives: Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis goes into the Football Hall of Fame, as his past sins get whitewashed away. The lizards that got hit with leafblowers, because, science. And a snapshot of America, 2018, from violent protests in Portland

 

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.

Experiencing Christmas light displays through a 2-year-old’s eyes was awesome. 2016 takes another pop cultural star before his time. And the Steelers and Packers look damn good

xmaslights-nate

There are certain things I expected I would love getting to experience through my child’s eyes one day. His first sporting event; his first steps, his first time realizing the traffic in New York City never, ever gets better. You know, the fun stuff.

But watching my boy’s first time experiencing Christmas lights was never something I thought of as being a “life moment.” For one thing, we’re, you know, Jewish. For another, we live in the city, where you get beautiful Christmas trees and some holiday lights on buildings, but not the full effect of a family putting up 43,000 lights on their property and paying off their electric bill for the next 11 months.

But Saturday night during a wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas Eve convergence, we went out to Long Island to my in-laws, and during the day we looked up where some of the best Christmas lights houses were in our area, and then drove over there.

And I have to say, Nate absolutely loved it. For most of the neighborhood he watched from his rear-facing car seat, and as we’d drive past there’d be a three-second delay and then he’d exclaim “Whoa!” after a really beautiful display.

A few times we got out and walked around, and his wide-eyed wonder and big smile as we got up-close to giant inflatable Santa, glowing reindeer, and even one light-up Elmo,  made me realize just how new the world still is to him.

It was really a pretty special sight.

**Next up today, 2016 has been a shitty year on so many fronts, but I gotta believe it’s the worst year for celebrities dying way too young that I can remember. With just five days left till we mercifully turn the page, Sunday brought news of George Michael’s death.

Only 53, he was a pretty fabulous musical talent, first with Wham! and then on his own. I about wore out my cassette copy of his huge album “Faith,” and for a while he was the biggest sex symbol in music.

Then his star faded, and we all heard about his drug use and his odd behavior in bathrooms, including an arrest at an airport in Los Angeles, and his sexuality was always kind of ambiguous.

George Michael’s music was big in millions of lives for a long time, and at only 53 it’s a tragedy he’s gone so soon.

clevelandbrownswin

**Finally today, some thoughts on the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, as I contemplate the brilliant performance by those gutty New York Jets, who only lost to New England by 38 on Saturday. Way to go, Gang Green! Can’t wait till next week!

— This is around the time of year where a few teams who’ve kind of muddled through the season get hot and go on a run to the Super Bowl. I’m awful at predicting who will play in the big ole’ Roman Numeral-fest, but right now the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers would scare me if I faced them.

The boys from Pa. scored a rip-roaring comeback win over the Ravens Sunday night (somewhere, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis wept at that last game-winning Steelers drive), and the Packers dismantled the rival Minnesota Vikings (hey how’s that Sam Bradford trade working out, Vikes?) on Saturday.

The Patriots look unbeatable and the NFC has excellent teams in the Lions, Cowboys and Falcons. But I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Pittsburgh-Green Bay (and monster ratings) on the first Sunday in February.

— One team who won’t be in the Super Bowl but celebrated like they’d just won it Sunday is the Cleveland Browns. They won! No, really, the won an actual NFL football game, that counted! I was in a bar Saturday and watched the fourth quarter, and man was it painful rooting for Cleveland. The Browns tried every way possible to blow that game to the Chargers, but somehow San Diego wouldn’t take it.

Hey, I’m glad the Browns won, nobody deserves to go a whole season without a win. I just feel bad we missed the awesome juxtaposition that would’ve been the city of Cleveland winning an NBA title, getting within one run of winning a World Series, and then having an 0-16 NFL team.

— I still have no idea how the Arizona Cardinals could be this bad. Seriously, what the hell happened to that team? And how did kicker Chandler Catanzaro keep his job all season?

— Finally, gotta feel bad for Oakland Raiders fans. Finally reaching the playoffs after 14 years, then with one game left they lose MVP quarterback Derek Carr, and their season is probably toast. What an awful, awful break.

But hey Raiders fans, it could be worse: You could be Jets fans like me.

Why we shouldn’t forget Ray Lewis took part in a murder. Another awesome “SportsCenter” commercial (with Muppets!). And the game of “tag” that’s lasted 23 years

rayray.blog

As I’m sure most sports fans are, I’m just about sick of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
I’m sick of him being on TV every five seconds, I’m sick of his bleating about how “the Lord has saved him,” and mostly, I’m sick of how SO many in the sports media over the past week, since Lewis and the Ravens earned a trip to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, seem to gloss over the fact that 13 years ago in Atlanta, Lewis was heavily involved in the murder of two people.

Their names were Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker.

Lewis was never convicted of murder; he cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against two other men, and Lewis was found guilty only of obstruction of justice. He was suspended for four games by the NFL and fined $250,000, and the murders remain unsolved.

This incident should be a permanent stain on Lewis’ character, and yet it hardly ever got talked about in recent years. Now some hairsprays on TV refer to it as Lewis’ “bump in the road” or “his incident.”

Ravens fans love and worship the guy; hell one of my soon-to-be-cousins named his pug pictured above “Ray Ray,” for God’s sakes.

But it should not be forgotten what Lewis did, and why he has never explained his behavior, or what happened that night.

We need to hear from the victims, and Tim Graham of The Buffalo News has written a fabulous story telling their side of the case.

Listen to Master Lollar, Richard’s brother, talk about Lewis and you know that unlike for millions of others who worship Lewis, they will never forget what happened 13 years ago.

“He’s Satan in human form, a person that is so evil,” Master Lollar said of Lewis. “I can barely see a person wearing his jersey.
“You know what I wish? One time in my life, me and him would have a talk. I want to ask him how it feels. I never helped somebody get away with murder. How does that feel? Do you care? Or did you do it just to protect your fame?”

**And now, another brilliant commercial in the “This is SportsCenter” series; these have been going on for years and they continue to be really, really funny.

This recent one had the added awesomeness of starring the Swedish Chef from “The Muppets,” and the best goaltender in the world, the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who oh by the way is Swedish. Enjoy…

Tagfriends

**Finally, my smart and funny friend April pointed me to this story Tuesday; I’m not sure if it’s awesomely cool or kinda sad. But nine friends from Spokane, Washington have this bizarre tradition: Every February, for one month, they continue a game of tag they first started as children 25 years ago.

They fly all over the country to “tag” each other, and enlist their friends, wives and often total strangers to help them not be branded as “It” for another year.

You may say it’s nuts (read the story for the bizarre lengths these guys to go to), but you have to admit: It’s not the craziest thing men do in the name of “male bonding.” The craziest thing, to me, is going out in the woods and shooting animals for sport.But hey, that’s just me.