Plenty has been forgotten, twisted, exaggerated, or fluffed up since the infamous night of the Cobalt Lounge in 2000 in Atlanta.
I for one, do not think Ray Lewis literally murdered Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Star athletes never do any of their own dirty work, much less their bloody dirty work.
That said, the image rehabilitation and Saint-ification of Ray Lewis since that time has been nothing short of the most dishonest, ridiculous, and nauseating episodes in modern sports.
Yet, I have no energy to rail against it, full throat. Nor interest. It's so ludicrous, it's like writing a manifesto on Britney Spears' lack of musical talent.
Whenever it comes to Ray Lewis, my fullest sentiment is approximately a chortle and a sarcastic "well, of course."
That said, here's the best Ray Lewis Murder 101 story I've seen, and people can make their own final judgement on all things "Ray Ray" with this as a guide. You should read the whole thing, but because I am never failing in helping you readers be lazy, here's a few key edited 'graphs to consider.
After racing from the scene, Lewis’ limo didn’t return to his hotel, the Georgian, but instead to the Holiday Inn Express where Sweeting was staying. Lewis then took a cab back to the Georgian.
It didn’t take long for police to find the limo, shot through with bullet holes, blood in the interior. It sat just a mile from the crime scene, and when cops walked into the lobby, they found Lewis’ driver, Fassett, trembling and chain-smoking.
Fassett told the police he’d seen Sweeting, Oakley and Lewis all fighting and provided details that only an eyewitness could know. He said he’d heard Oakley boast, “I stabbed mine,” and Sweeting reply, “I stabbed mine, too.” When police got to Lewis’ room, they found blood there, too — but not Lewis, who had fled to his fiancée’s family home.
A few hours after the murders, at about 6 a.m., Lewis had called Robertson and asked her to go to the Georgian and pack up everything he’d left behind. A jailhouse informant, meanwhile, told cops that Lewis was using one of his sisters to relay messages to Sweeting, telling him not to worry, that Lewis would never betray him.
Lewis himself felt he had little to worry about. The Ravens were standing firmly behind him. Lewis’ own private investigators beat the cops to just about every witness in the limo; they all got lawyers. His driver, Fassett, became increasingly unsure of what went down that night.
The trial began on May 15, 2000, and quickly fell apart. The state’s star witness, Fassett, recanted much of what he had told police. He swore he’d never seen Lewis strike anyone.
By the trial’s second week, Lewis wasn’t even attempting to appear respectful. He sat at the defense table and scrawled his autograph over and over. Finally, on June 4, Lewis’ attorney and the prosecution cut a deal. Lewis would testify against Sweeting and Oakley in exchange for one year’s probation on obstruction of justice. Lewis testified he saw Oakley fighting in the melee and that Sweeting had told Lewis he’d been punching with the same hand that cupped a knife.
Here, too, the prosecution miscalculated. On June 13, 2000, the jury acquitted both men on charges of murder and assault. They spent just five hours deliberating.
Chalk it up to police incompetence, the force of an NFL team/owner racing to save his "investment" and ultimately, a just outcome.
I think Ray Lewis did exactly - and mostly - what he ultimately plead guilty to: obstruction of justice.
In an awful street fight between his thug friends, and a group of other random thugs.
The NFL should have absolutely suspended him for a considerable amount of time, because obstructing justice in a double murder is a seriously awful act. Minimum 4 games, upwards to a year. Instead, he just paid out money, and returned to the league as a superstar, with virtually no price to be paid as a bankable endorser.
Now, Ray Lewis will retire directly to ESPN - where I think he has a chance to be quite good, if you can compartmentalize all of the above - and also become a special consultant to the NFL.
To which I say, as always... /chortle... "Well, of course."