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I dunno man, this is my issue with Ravens fans. Bring up that night in Atlanta and what happened after and everyone is automatically the biggest defense lawyer that ever lived. If Ray were, say, a Pittsburgh Steeler, I'm willing to bet you'd feel quite differently about him[...]

I'd assume if you were a parent and had one of your kids murdered, you'd want someone brought to justice. The fact that no one has served any time for those murders is a disgrace and like it or not, Ray Lewis did play a part in that. If you could take a minute to step back from being a Ravens fan and just think about humanity and our legal/justice system, I'd hope that would bother you for a little bit.

But, I don't expect it to. Best middle linebacker in history, et cetera.

C'mon Moose - Have you not yet learned all the important and inspirational life lessons depicted in Baltimore's "Stop Snitchin" DVD series plus the accompanying and equally uplifting t-shirt campaign?

But you make a point I feel is 100% correct.

Ray most likely saw his friends commit murder - he tried his hardest not to snitch on them - and then used money and legal maneuvering to get around the system. Paid some hefty civil lawsuits - and found himself some religion - a common tale - wins you a moral redemption "get out of eternal jail" card with large portions of the population. Whether he's genuine or not - doesn't change the fact that it's usually a very convenient way to get people to just trust you've changed.

I also 100% agree that if he was a Steeler -- or a Bengal -- or whoever, Ravens Nation would pass an entirely different judgement on him. Hands down. The victims have been somewhat forgotten in this. I rarely think about Ray's Atlanta incident.

That speaks to the very hypocritical nature of many things in our life. For example, I've got some autographed Ray Lewis merchandise - I bought the Ray Lewis, official Super Bowl jersey at the game so I could frame it as part of a larger Super Bowl display i'm building in my bar -- so count me in that hypocrite crew. But your point is completely valid in my opinion.

I can see why others disagree though. Contentious issue through and through.

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After watching the footage during Inside The NFL, I picked up something I hadn't really accounted for during the 4th down. I had already basically said that I felt it was an uncatchable ball just based on where it landed. But now I saw that HAD Crabtree caught it, his first step would have put his foot on the white. There ya go, not that they should have thrown the flag at all, but if the official saw that (and I'd like to think he did) but there's a huge reason no laundry hit the turf.

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The only reason I would feel different about Ray if he were a Steeler is because I wouldn't know him like I know him as a Raven. That's where all these opposing fans make their mistake. They make generalizations, don't bother searching for the truth, and fill in the gaps with what they want to be the truth. Not that I really know Ray. I never met him. But I have followed him closely since being drafted. I have followed the Ravens since their inception. I trust what Ozzie, Billick, Harbaugh, Modell, Bisciotti , etc.. have had to say about Ray Lewis. I also have poured over the court transcripts and news articles both in 2000 and also a few weeks ago since so much of this has been forgotten. I never want to be one of those persons who roots for some athlete because he wins games while being a total scum bag. My conclusion is Ray Lewis is not a scum bag or murderer. He got caught up in some really bad **** when he was a young man and almost paid the ultimate price for it. He came very close to being Sean Taylor before Sean Taylor.

But Ray is more than just a guy who escaped a brush with the law and HOF football player. His story is a story of redemption. He took that horrible incident and totally turned his life around. Any idiot can see this if they do a little research which the haters will never do. He became a role model and mentor for kids, for his teammates, for other players in the NFL. There is a reason he is revered around the league. It's not just because he played 17 seasons and has two rings.

Now I know his religion can be off-putting. But even that doesn't bother me (and I am an atheist) because I know this is his vehicle for making that change happen.

And for the record, I hate, HATE, those Ravens fans who only support Ray because he was a really good football player. Ray's playing ability has clouded his impact as a person, imho. Also, I don't go around calling Roethlisberger Rapistberger. Nor do I pretend to know enough about Ben Roethlisberger to judge him on his past.

As for the murder, there was a court case to settle who was guilty. The Atlanta DA's office decided to prosecute two other men for that crime. They also decided Ray was not directly involved and dropped the murder charges against him. That's good enough for me. And you call Ravens fans 'arm chair' lawyers? Please.

I have a feeling one of the two guys tried and acquitted by the jury did actually commit the murder. But we'll never know. Funny, how no one ever talks about them. Do you even know their names Moose? Do you go around talking about what a disgrace it is that Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting are walking around free today? What about the victims that you feel so humane for? Do you know their names? Of course not.

How Ray 'played a part in that' as you say is pure speculation on your part. Ray was a witness for the prosecution. He cooperated fully and answered all prosecution questions in a court of law. Yes, he initially lied to police which led to his obstruction charge. But to be honest, if I was a 25 year old star athlete and I gave some thug friends of mine a free trip to the Super Bowl, and those friends ultimately killed someone putting my livelihood and reputation on the line, I would probably clam up too. Then I would get myself some new friends which is exactly what Ray Lewis did. He should be applauded for the life he as lived since then.

I am not ashamed of Ray Lewis. I am proud of him.

Ah, right...the predictable "I'm a Ravens fan so I know better than you" debate tactic. Which is completely invalid due to the fact that Ray Lewis is incredibly famous and this murder story has been re-hashed about a billion times. Did you happen to read Bruno Cherrytown's response? According to you, the Atlanta's DA office decided to prosecute the other men for the crime and they decided that Ray wasn't directly involved and dropped the charges against him.Poof! Just like that! How come you don't mention any settlements made out of court? I'm glad, however, that you'd admit that you'd probably lie to police in a similar situation, though.

No, Southrider, I don't go around talking about what a disgrace it is that Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting are walking around free today. But you know what? They aren't the ones playing middle linebacker for the Ravens. Hundreds of murders happen in this country each day and it's a disgrace and a tragedy that people aren't brought to justice. But Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting aren't playing linebacker in the Superbowl, they're not on the cover of Madden, they're not dancing around before a game and they're not making 15 tackles every Sunday. Of course no ones going to pay attention to them.So what, specifically, is your point here?

Here's the rub: I actually like Ray Lewis. I do. I think he's a genuine guy (Bruno seems like he could be a bit more cynical than I am, and I typically would be. I'm a firm believer that athletes are only sorry for getting caught, for example. Religion is a fantastic way to get people to believe that you've made amends. Anyway...) I think he's the real deal. I think he's a great person and a great leader. And no one has played middle linebacker better.

I'll even go so far to agree with you that he should be applauded for the life that he's lived since then. However, I don't think everything since then should completely erase what happened back then. And if Ray is the kind of guy that I think he is, I'm willing to bet that he'd probably tell you the same thing, too.

However, you pretty much dodged my hypothetical, yet admitted that if you were a 25 year old star athlete, you'd "clam up" in front of police. Go ahead and put yourself in the shoes of parents who lost sons that night and never saw anyone brought to justice. Or put yourself in the shoes of a (then) 4 year old girl who's getting a check for at least a million dollars but won't have a father to help her grow up. That girl is almost 13 years old now and probably has no memories of her father. Think she'd trade that cash for a day with him, let alone 8 years? I know I would. But hey, what's a cool million to avoid a civil suit?

But it's cool, you got to see a great redemption story and that's all that really matters here.

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http://www.ajc.com/news/news/ray-lewis-atlanta-legacy-not-so-storied/nWD2Q/

Reading this article it really seems Ray Lewis was OVER charged. The murder charge was a tactic that usually works but not against a rich client.

What seems to have happened was two tough crews crossed paths and one side got much more than they figured on.

I've been saying the same thing for years. There's no way the prosecution lets him plea out to a misdemeanor Obstruction charge if there was even a shred of proof he was directly involved. Not saying they wouldn't have traded a plea for testimony, but there would've been a more hefty charge, like manslaughter.

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Honest question??? DO we know for sure the murders weren't self defense?? I mean thats the tatic the defense used right. The jury couldn't find them guilty right?? I honestly don't remember much about the murder cases of Sweeting and Oakley so if I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong. Bottom line is Ray has said before. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people. Not just the people in his group but being out so late, in the wrong part of Atlanta and interacting with the wrong people..

There is nothing to say that Ray isn't home every night praying for the familys of those involved that night. That when he puts his head on his pillow at night that that night doesn't weigh heavily on his mind.

I don;t want it to come of Like I'm defending Ray or anyone who may have brutally stabbed two men to death. We just don't know enough about that night. Do I think Ray panicked and did some things directly aftyer the murder that were obstruction. Absolutely. Do I want to believe he regrets everything about that night. Absolutely. I just don't know, nor does anyone else who can't get inside of Ray's mind, what that night did to him. How sorry he is and how much it changed his life.

Edited by ccbird

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C'mon Moose - Have you not yet learned all the important and inspirational life lessons depicted in Baltimore's "Stop Snitchin" DVD series plus the accompanying and equally uplifting t-shirt campaign?

But you make a point I feel is 100% correct.

Ray most likely saw his friends commit murder - he tried his hardest not to snitch on them - and then used money and legal maneuvering to get around the system. Paid some hefty civil lawsuits - and found himself some religion - a common tale - wins you a moral redemption "get out of eternal jail" card with large portions of the population. Whether he's genuine or not - doesn't change the fact that it's usually a very convenient way to get people to just trust you've changed.

I also 100% agree that if he was a Steeler -- or a Bengal -- or whoever, Ravens Nation would pass an entirely different judgement on him. Hands down. The victims have been somewhat forgotten in this. I rarely think about Ray's Atlanta incident.

That speaks to the very hypocritical nature of many things in our life. For example, I've got some autographed Ray Lewis merchandise - I bought the Ray Lewis, official Super Bowl jersey at the game so I could frame it as part of a larger Super Bowl display i'm building in my bar -- so count me in that hypocrite crew. But your point is completely valid in my opinion.

I can see why others disagree though. Contentious issue through and through.

Good post. I think it's pretty clear that Ray clammed up when he was initially questioned by the authorities in Atlanta. His lack of cooperation was one of the reasons the murder charges were pressed IMO. A less famous person with lesser means would have been swallowed up by the system. Like it or not, the Atlanta murders are a part of the Ray Lewis legacy.

I'm a Ravens fan and I have rooted for Ray throughout his career. So count me in as a hypocrite as well. However, as a result of the Ray Lewis story, I am less inclined to deride the Pac Man Jones' and Ben Roethlisbergers' of the world when they had their brushes with the law.

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Good post. I think it's pretty clear that Ray clammed up when he was initially questioned by the authorities in Atlanta. His lack of cooperation was one of the reasons the murder charges were pressed IMO. A less famous person with lesser means would have been swallowed up by the system. Like it or not, the Atlanta murders are a part of the Ray Lewis legacy.

I'm a Ravens fan and I have rooted for Ray throughout his career. So count me in as a hypocrite as well. However, as a result of the Ray Lewis story, I am less inclined to deride the Pac Man Jones' and Ben Roethlisbergers' of the world when they had their brushes with the law.

This is going to get me some grief, but I'm going to say it anyway....if you hang with the wrong crowd, bad things are bound to happen to you. And I'm talking about Ray as well as the two that were killed. Let us not forget that the two "innocent" murder victims shot HOLES in the limo! Now, I'm not in any way saying they deserved to die or get hurt, but bringing guns and knives to a night club has disaster written all over it.

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This is going to get me some grief, but I'm going to say it anyway....if you hang with the wrong crowd, bad things are bound to happen to you. And I'm talking about Ray as well as the two that were killed. Let us not forget that the two "innocent" murder victims shot HOLES in the limo! Now, I'm not in any way saying they deserved to die or get hurt, but bringing guns and knives to a night club has disaster written all over it.[/QUOT

Yep, just ask Plaxico Burress.

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This is going to get me some grief, but I'm going to say it anyway....if you hang with the wrong crowd, bad things are bound to happen to you. And I'm talking about Ray as well as the two that were killed. Let us not forget that the two "innocent" murder victims shot HOLES in the limo! Now, I'm not in any way saying they deserved to die or get hurt, but bringing guns and knives to a night club has disaster written all over it.

I think you make a great point. Basically, both parties involved in Atlanta were obviously looking for trouble. The simple fact that there were weapons involved is pretyy good evidence that there were few if any innocent parties involved.

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Why anyone wants to have a discussion with Ravens haters on this subject is beyond me. They've made their judgement about Ray and there is no changing their minds. It's futile just like it's futile to attempt to change our minds on how we see Ray.

The only comments I will make is that the guys who were killed were drug dealing thugs who were probably killed by Ray's thug, friends-at-the-time entourage. Ray has totally and utterly walked the walked as a changed man since that day and only his haters think it's an act to get people to change their opinions. There are stories after stories of all the good things that Ray have done for people in and out of football, but there are always going to be haters of people who champion their faith. There's a growing hatred of religion in this country and a lot of those people, as well as just plain old Ravens haters, have Ray as their number one target.

You know what, that's ok. I don't think Ray cares and I know I don't. I don't need the country to love Ray. We love the guy and we know what's he done for our team, city, and for many, many people. He's changed so lives for the better and if the haters want to hate on him, so be it, they are the ones that miss out.

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Why anyone wants to have a discussion with Ravens haters on this subject is beyond me. They've made their judgement about Ray and there is no changing their minds. It's futile just like it's futile to attempt to change our minds on how we see Ray.

The only comments I will make is that the guys who were killed were drug dealing thugs who were probably killed by Ray's thug, friends-at-the-time entourage. Ray has totally and utterly walked the walked as a changed man since that day and only his haters think it's an act to get people to change their opinions. There are stories after stories of all the good things that Ray have done for people in and out of football, but there are always going to be haters of people who champion their faith. There's a growing hatred of religion in this country and a lot of those people, as well as just plain old Ravens haters, have Ray as their number one target.

You know what, that's ok. I don't think Ray cares and I know I don't. I don't need the country to love Ray. We love the guy and we know what's he done for our team, city, and for many, many people. He's changed so lives for the better and if the haters want to hate on him, so be it, they are the ones that miss out.

Can I get an AMEN?

(pun intended! :D)

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Here's my opinion on professional athletes: I don't have their money so I don't want their problems.

I don't care how great of a person Cal Ripken was or what happens to Steve McNair off the field. They're to be judged in a different light by those who know them.

What I do care about is their accomplishments on the field and how they represent Baltimore on the field.

Off the field, I just don't care. I have no interest in meeting or hanging around them. I've got my own **** to deal with.

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