This being Super Bowl week – our national unofficial holiday – we are all getting Super saturated with stories that quite honestly we’d ignore the other 51 weeks of the year. But it is Super Bowl week – so we’ll listen.
Much is being made of Ray Lewis’ final game of his career. Staying with the same team all his career, his leadership and inspiration to his own team is clear, his stats and influence as a linebacker make him a first round ballot Hall of Famer. He is a great interview, charismatic leader. He is a Christ-follower and giver of millions of dollars to charity every year. For many people – this is Ray Lewis.
He played football at “Convict U” – The University of Miami back in the ’90’s. In 2000, Ray Lewis was arrested and charged with murder along with two other colleagues. He plea bargained down to obstruction of justice charge in return for his testimony against these men, neither of which ended up being convicted for the double murder. The victims blood was found inside Lewis’ limo, Lewis’ clothes of that evening were never found. He has had 6 kids with 4 different women – none of whom he has married. He demands attention at the cost of his team with his dancing, his constant referring to himself in 3rd person, and his constant need to be in the spotlight. Like announcing his retirement before the playoffs to make this playoff run by the Ravens more about him than it is the team. For many people – this is Ray Lewis.
Is he a devoted leader or an attention-starved thug?
While I’m sick of the media coverage of his retirement…and his dance…and him in general really – I don’t know what to make of him. I think it’s possible for him to have been completely guilty in 2000 AND be a changed human being today. Possible. I think it’s possible for him to be both – a devoted leader AND an attention-starved thug. I think it’s possible for him to be so new and young in his faith that he will say and do things that will make me cringe.
The recent allegations about him using a PED is an example. Unfortunately for Ray, most folks already either believe him or not before he ever says a word. For most people – they’ve already got him sainted and knighted, in the Hall of Fame OR he is this evil thug that is a horrendous person.
Personally – I don’t know what to make of him. I think he’s the best linebacker to ever play the game. Ever. Watch him play in his prime – he singlehandedly could destroy an offensive game plan. That doesn’t make him a great person off the field. His faith could very well be the thing that has made him a different man than he used to be. I do believe grace has that affect on people. Or it could all be a ruse he started to change his image since the 2000 murder charges.
That’s the complicated mess of grace. People in process, not where they should be but better than where they started. So while I’m not a huge fan of Lewis, I’ll err on the side of grace. Not because he deserves it for being an incredible football player. But because I think that’s what Jesus does with me on a daily basis.
Plus…I can’t stand the 49ers.