Why is Ray Lewis winning the media popularity contest?

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On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, securing a spot in the Super Bowl. The Ravens have been getting their fair share of media attention lately thanks to star linebacker Ray Lewis who announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year. Following Sunday’s game however, he received attention that wasn’t quite as welcoming.

And rightfully so…

Thirteen years ago, two friends were murdered in downtown Atlanta after the Super Bowl in a case that remains “unsolved”. The involved parties however, are public knowledge.

Ray Lewis pleaded guilty in relation to the case for obstruction of justice — a misdemeanor. He was originally charged with two counts of murder before striking a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against two of his companions that night.

USA Today reports:

Lewis never directly linked his two friends to the killings, and they were acquitted. Lewis had testified that Oakley, Sweeting and another man had gone to a sporting goods store the previous day to buy knives. Baker’s blood later was found in Lewis’ limo. Having fled the crime scene, Lewis told the limo’s passengers to “keep their mouths shut.” The white suit Lewis was wearing that night — on Super Bowl Sunday — never was found.

“I’m not trying to end my career like this,” Lewis said in his hotel that night, according to the testimony of a female passenger in the limo.
He didn’t. For his punishment, Lewis received one year of probation and a $250,000 fine by the NFL.

Lewis declined to comment when asked about the subject Thursday by USA TODAY Sports. Messages left for agents and attorneys representing him were not returned. Oakley, recently living in Atlanta, didn’t return messages seeking comment. A relative of Sweeting, living in Miami, hung up when reached by USA TODAY Sports. And the prosecutor, Paul Howard, declined a request to be interviewed.

Said Lewis: “You want to talk to me about something that happened 13 years ago right now?”

Lewis was more circumspect about the incident in a 2010 interview with The Baltimore Sun. “I’m telling you, no day leaves this Earth without me asking God to ease the pain of anybody who was affected by that whole ordeal.” he said. “He’s a God who tests people — not that he put me in that situation, because he didn’t make me go nowhere. I put myself in that situation.”

In those 13 years, Lewis has not only rehabilitated his image but become an iconic figure for his dominating play and leadership. His 17-year career is likely to be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, about 20 miles south of Akron, where Lollar and Baker are buried near their families.

Given Lewis’s history, many weren’t surprised to see Anna Welker, wife of Patriot’s wide receiver, take to social media to give a few thoughts about the praise Ray Lewis was receiving after beating her husband’s team.

Her statement read:

“Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”

Many were glad to see someone in the public eye shining perspective on the praise Lewis is receiving from outlets like ESPN who are placing this man on a pedestal simply to boost ratings. Unfortunately, Welker has since apologized for her statements.

This morning on radio, Glenn looked a little deeper into this story. He wanted to know why we keep holding people like Lewis, Armstrong, and Tiger Woods as heroes to begin with.

Tiger, who cheated on his wife a countless number of times with a countless number of women, has been pretty much forgiven for his actions by the American people.

“I saw him doing Nike commercials again,” Glenn said this morning. “I guess we’re over the “Tiger Woods” thing.”

“He hasn’t had any issues since,” Stu responded.

“We always thought he was sneaky-clean,” Glenn shot back, making the point that we didn’t suspect him in the first place, so we shouldn’t assume that.

Stu agreed, and pointed out that while Tiger may be “forgiven” he certainly isn’t seeing the love from fans or the media that he used to.

“No one is praising Tiger Woods like he is the most miraculous man in the world,” he said. “They are doing that to Ray Lewis.”

And while Lewis does seem to have had a real change of heart, he plead guilty to obstruction of justice in a murder trial. While adultery is no joke, it’s not murder.

Stu also noted that Lewis seems to be on a very religious path in his redemption — he talks about God all of the time — much more than Tim Tebow does. And, ironically, no one seems to have a problem with the Jesus-talk when it comes from formerly accused murderer Ray Lewis.

Stu also pointed out, Tony Gonzalez, another all-time great NFL player who is retiring this year was competing in the playoffs and didn’t receive nearly the amount of attention Lewis did. Gonzalez has, as far as we know, a clean background.

“I mean, we destroy the people who seem to deserve our praise and we do the exact opposite to those who’re questionable,” Stu said nailing the root of the problem on the head.

“You know, it’s a popularity contest,” Glenn said. “I know Ray Lewis. I don’t know the other guy that’s retiring — I don’t know his name. So, if I’m in the media, and I’m trying to attract eyeballs, I’m talking about Ray Lewis.  Who’s the other guy? We’re looking for the quick fix and the awards that people get are to sell tickets to something. It’s just a popularity contest.  Nothing is really real anymore. That’s the problem.  We have to root ourselves back in reality and truth.”

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    “we destroy the people who seem to deserve our praise and we do the exact opposite to those who’re questionable” is a hard truth Stu spoke here in the article.
    The matter is the nation has been fed a generation of emotional sensationalism which has all but rendered the truth all but worthless to many. The people who stand for honor, integrity and morality are deemed ‘of non-value, old-fashioned, misguided’ and so much more for the purpose of being destroyed and denigration.

    Yesterday in the inauguration of Obama we have seen the ultimate with the media hype having declared him in effect to be a living god and king and savior over the nation.

    Pure madness. 

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    The world is undergoing a massive series of shifts, the old ways are no more, and the new paradigms are being forged in the here and now.

    Truth though is still truth, and is what we must be grounded firmly upon.

  • Anonymous

    What amzing about your staement is that you come on this site everyday and qoute the bible and jesus. and then you make a statement like that. First ray lewis was never found guilty and later in his career he became a born again christian. And if you ever hear him talk after games or anywhere he is he is talking about jesus and the bible. I alway thought that forgivness is a core belief in christanity. 

    can you tell me who declared him  living god and king and savior over the nation so that i can read or listen to the qoute because i missed it. 

  • Anonymous

    Glenn Beck asking rhetorically, why as a nation (or any other nation) do we put athletes (pop stars? politicians?) up on pedestals like heroes? Hmmn-this entire website is designed to foster hero worship (Glenn being the hero). ( I seem to recall that Glenn described the rather average Rick Santorum as “another Churchill”–I guess we all suffer the same fate). Glenn then spins the Ray Lewis story into another example of (falsely claiming Christian redemption story?) the media taking it easy on a black guy whereas Tebow gets criticized by some for his overt Christianity. Glenn, an admitted non sports guy ought to stick to what he knows. Glenn regularly dumps on ESPN; try listening to ther morning team Glenn; neither Mike Greene nor Mike Golic can get past Ray Lewis’ bad behavior the night of the Super Bowl in Atlanta. Try reading any knowledgable sports writer who also does not forget that night.he was not subject to hero worship on the CBS or radio coverage of the championship game ( is saw the first half; I listened to the second half). The Ray Lewis story this year is his return from a triceps tear and the motivational effect he has on his teammates. He has inspired their playoff run. NFL hall of fame voters may pass on him as a result. Tony Gonzalez? For those of us not in atlanta, Honorable guy is all you ever hear from writers and broadcasters. His likely retirement at the end of this year is a loss for all of football. Tim Tebow? Still a below average quarterback (NFL skills that is) who has a remarkable motivational effect on his teammates. anyone with knowledge accepts his faith demonstration and says fine–it is a little less self serving than the average touchdown dance.

    To not understand why Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong were heroes to many (at least until their transgressions were known), is silly. Both were excellent competitors. That is why people watch sports-to see the competition. Anyone who followed them knew about their collosal egos; inevitably that leads anyone to fall. Other than the millions raised that helped cancer patients by Armstrong’s foundation, why would anyone consider either of these two guys to be heroes? But the kid in each of us wants to believe in heroes.

    These days, I consider the unselfish acts of others who are humble in their nature to be heroes.

  • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

    That is right defending a guy that covered up two people’s murders and has still not told the truth about it just because you hate Glenn Beck. Jesus told people to repent and that includes lying which sounds like you have no problem with oh the irony.

  • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

    The media loves him because now they can say look over their Christians are as evil as we claim them to be.

  • Anonymous

    He has told the truth about the murder, The qoutes that glenn has comes thriteen years after the accident if you or Glenn did research on the case you would know that he has told talked about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1079619645 June Wilkes McDonald

    Real heroes are the men and women who get up everyday and hug their kids, go to a job that will net them a neager retirement, come home in time to watch their kid play in a sporting event and smile and cheer, call a friend who has cancer to see how they are feeling and to offer a word of encouragement.  They are ordinary men and women living lives in courage and dignity, forgiving others, and offering compassion and love to those who need it.  They may not live these big lives but they do live lives that touch other people’s souls.  I know this people.  They are my friends, my family, and they are my heroes.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly my point. I draw inspiration from the very same people.

  • Anonymous

    I am not a Baltimore fan, but you guys don’t know if Ray Lewis killed anyone.  He also has not been in any trouble since.  Did you see him praying before the game on tv?  This guy has helped others that have come to the Ravens to stay out of trouble.  Also, he is a cheer leader.  He meets the offensive players when they have scored and runs up to them to support them.  He has been an emotional leader and never give up guy for a lot of years for this team.  They didn’t use to have an offense.  He has lasted a long time and has really been a team leader.  Maybe you guys can understand people cleaning up their act and this guy has led this team to a lot victories when no one has been rooting for them.  The entire pre game show was about New England and always is. Talk about heroes.  How about N.E. Coach who cheats and cheated and wears the most stupid outfit to important games.  I don’t mind people using Ray as a good example.  He doesn’t run from his past (like Glenn) and he really shouldn’t have been able to play this year from a bad injury, but he put in the hard work and supports all of the members of his team.  Unlike, I might add, “the evil empire” in Dallas. He thanks God for his life and success all the time.  I like him. 

  • http://twitter.com/luisnun77687873 luis nunez

    JESUS the CHRIST pay for all,even what ever you do,and don’t tell Stop the hipocracy,a Sin is a Sin,do not lie to your self,and act so uprigth like you are above everybody,REPENT

  • Anonymous

    May he without sin cast the 1st stone.  Today, it is obvious to me that Mr. Lewis loves God and neighbor. The 12 step program continues to help me day by day. How bout you Glenn?

  • Anonymous

    WOW, I can’t believe a guy like you Glenn Beck, who was an alcholic at one time in his life, would dare judge someone else. Doesn’t your Bible say that even Jesus didn’t come to Judge us but to give us a savior. I think God the Father will judge everyone and you shouldn’t! I mean if this guy is really forgiven by God and you judged him, you get his punishment. at least thats what my Bible says.

  • Anonymous

    Here is a little piece of reality for everyone of you,Lewis ,Gonzales,Beck,Nugent,Obama,AND many more that are not mentioned , Now for all of us out here we all get our day in the LORD’S court so if you can’t deal with what another may say RICH or POOR remember judge not les ye be judged!!
    THIS THEATER RIGHT NOW IS AS STUPID AS AMERICA GET’S!
    P.S.  Let me help you all ALL ,ALL !! of you out there,
                                                 Man that TBO 61 is a real dick HUH !              

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WEDP2YT32CXRBDPY2SY7DM2EFM Patrick

    I’m trying to understand some of you. When someone who is on trail for any type of murder and makes a ‘deal’ with the prosecution to testify against others that were present during the commision of the crime, you can bet your ass that the one testifying is trying to save his own. Being part of a crime carries the same responsibility as the one one stabbing or pulling the trigger ot driving the get away car. All accessories to the crime. GUILTY!

    Is being suspended for a year and fined 250k fit the crime? Not in my opinion, and I’m sure many others. Lance Armstrong the same deal, BANNED, Stripped of everything for criminal acts and cheating.

    If you commit a crime you pay the price. God will forgive you if you repent and ask for forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to walk. Our country is ruled by the media who feeds us crap sandwiches and tells us that they’re delicious. We are just dumb enough to believe them. Stop immortalizing ‘man’.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/35R4XNWBNHRJ3BUTMBXHISLOAI wrecker

    i am a christian i dont know if ray lewis is guilty or not of murder only ray and god know that.in the bible king david and many others were also murderers adulterers and liars but when they came to the knowledge and wisdom of a god they repented and found a joy from god.so if ray lewis has come to that and repented he is saved and all the glory goes to god that he took a man and saved him from his sin.we have all fallen short everyone of us not one of us is deserving but god provided away in christ and gave us the free gift of grace.

  • Anonymous

    The sports media can idolize a player who stands above others. But, their popularity represents a lot more than just their skills. These heros become peers to the younger generation who follow sports. Unfortunately, society is infused with wrestling-like tactics where the bad guy is idolized despite how he behaves in public. Lewis is a great football talent, better than most, but ethically and morally, he’s plain dirt.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SXTSYU6OT6QLDGZGGV7YLPVIZI Fred

    While I’m no fan of Ray Lewis, I must say that the synopsis
    on the “On Today’s Program” page was a little strong.  Ray Lewis was entered a plea bargain and testified against others.  Ray Lewis is certainly not a role model for anyone and it is a shame that our society calls athletes heroes and role models.  Most athletes usually have many character flaws and certainly aren’t heroes because they can catch a ball.

    As a society we need to once again define the word “Hero” so that the younger generation can understand what a hero is.

    As an aside, it is also rediculous to refer to nominated Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagelm as a Vietnam Hero.  That designation should be reserved for members of the military that have performed heroic actions.  simply serving in the military, even during war time is doing his duty and he deserved to be respected for that fact.  Unless there was some heroic action that Sgt. Hagel participated in that has not been reported that deserves the status hero I find the constant reference to hero to be misleading and a cheapening of the word.

    Fred Speckmann
    commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com

  • Anonymous

    You are correct. Foregiveness is a Christian core belief. So is justice. May I say, it is God’s justice and not man’s? After all. We are talking about Christianity. As for the president being declared a living god and king and savior over a nation, I did not hear that because I simply did not watch any of the Monday proceedings. I saw his offical swearing-in on Sunday and that’s all that mattered anyway, as far as I’m concerned. The rest of it on Monday was a waste of taxpayer’s money really.  Sickening to me!

  • Anonymous

    Ray did become a born again. and if you ever him do an interview he talks more about god and being blessed than he does about football. 

  • Anonymous

    so you know and have evidence that he commited the crime?  Innocent until proven guilty.

  • Anonymous

    there is no foregiveness for murder in any religion because its something you can NEVER bring back…taking a life if most vicious thing a human can do taking a god given gift away from the world think a second they could have had kids,freinds that relied on them for comfort etc…im not saying he is guilty just saying IF he did it all this  relegious talk wont get him anywhere…i personaly dont support peaple that were invovled in crimes and definetly dont tell my kids to look up to such peaple….but everybody has a right to there own opinion