By Tim Graham
NEW ORLEANS -- CBS Sports analyst Shannon Sharpe sat down with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for an in-depth interview before Super Bowl XLVII and asked him about the double-murder case Lewis was involved with 13 years ago.
I was in the Superdome when the segment aired and was unaware of Lewis' comments until Shredd and Ragan replayed them for me this morning on 103.3 The Edge in Buffalo.
Shannon Sharpe: "A couple of weeks ago, the family of the incident in 2000, and I'm paraphrasing, but it goes something like this: While Ray Lewis is being celebrated by millions, two men tragically and brutally died in Atlanta. Ray Lewis knows more than Ray Lewis ever shared. What would you like to say to the family?"
Ray Lewis: "It's simple. God has never made a mistake. That's just who he is, you see? And if our system -- this is the sad thing about our system -- if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom-line truth.
"But the saddest thing ever is a man looked me in my face and told me, 'We know you didn't do this, but you're going down for it anyway.' To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don't use people who commits anything like that for His glory. No way. It's the total opposite."
Sharpe: "There was a financial settlement to both families."
Lewis: "The one thing I said that, because my name was used the wrong way, money is the last thing I’m worried about. But if money will help those kids out ... and not just those kids but any kid I can help, any family I can support, I'll support. So don't just take that family and say I gave money to that family because I’ve given money to thousands of families time and time again, just to find a different way to help somebody through a rough time."
When the interview segment returned to the CBS Sports pregame set, analyst Boomer Esiason expressed disappointment with Lewis' remarks.
"He was involved in a double murder, and I'm not so sure he gave us all the answers we were looking for," Esiason said to Sharpe. "He knows what went on there. He can obviously just come out and say it. He doesn't want to say it. He paid off the families. I get all that. That's fine. But that doesn't take away from who he is as a football player.
"I appreciate you going down there and asking him that direct question. I'm not so sure I buy the answer."
In the interview with Sharpe, a former Ravens teammate, Lewis conveniently declined to address the notion he knows more than he has revealed about the slayings of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker. Lewis immediately turned the conversation around to say it was God's will that two men were dead and that he's famous.
Lewis also sounded delusional when saying "the saddest thing ever" was supposedly being told he was going to be punished for something he didn't do. Sharpe didn't ask Lewis who made this statement to Lewis, who clearly has no concept the saddest thing in this case is that two men, one of them the father of an unborn daughter, are dead.
To say someone doesn't know God correctly -- not the way Lewis knows God -- is condescending at best, downright insulting at worst. It's a shame Lewis continues to inflict pain on the victims' families rather than provide closure.
That reminded me of quotes delivered to me by Master Lollar, who was 8 years old when his big brother was stabbed to death. Lollar has been thinking about the trial for 13 years. He has come to view the deaths as human sacrifices for Lewis' glory.
"He ain't become the person he was until the murder," Master Lollar told me of Lewis. "Before the murder, he was just a football player, a good hitter. After the murder, it stuck his name out. It seemed like people were proud of him for not going down.
"You don't beat a murder charge and become a star. It's like there's some type of evil in him, and it's working. I see it like he made a sacrifice. Then his name blows up. And then the next thing you know you're going up, up, up.
"I believe that Ray has accepted a bad spirit into his life, and the fame that has come to him has to do with the sacrifice of Richard. He's Satan in human form, a person that is so evil. But fame blinds the eyes of what the others really see that person as."
That's one family's take on how well Lewis really knows his God.
taggedRay Lewis | Super Bowl XLVII