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Ray Lewis responds unkindly to families of double-murder victims

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?"

Continue reading "Ray Lewis responds unkindly to families of double-murder victims" »

Audio: Buffalo Bills and Ray Lewis chatter with Shredd and Ragan

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis' strange journey into the sunset continues to dominate conversations about Super Bowl XLVII.

Shredd and Ragan from 103.3 The Edge checked in with me again this morning to chat about that and what's being said about the Buffalo Bills as the NFL world congregates in New Orleans for Sunday's big game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

Super Bowl XLVII audio: Ray Lewis and deer-antler spray

NEW ORLEANS -- Listen to Buffalo News writers Tim Graham, Mark Gaughan and Jerry Sullivan discuss Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and the most recent accusation against him regarding the alleged use of a banned substance to help speed his recovery from a triceps injury.

Audio: Reviewing two Ray Lewis stories with Shredd and Ragan

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis, deer-antler extract and brotherly rivalries were among the topics in a deep conversation with Shredd and Ragan this morning on 103.3 The Edge.

We talked about the bizarre Sports Illustrated story that alleges Lewis may have used a banned substance to recover from a torn triceps injury.

We also reviewed the back story, as first reported by Deadspin.com, behind my lengthy Lewis feature that ran Sunday in The Buffalo News and how the Washington Post poached the mother of a victim from the double-murder case Lewis was involved in.

Ray Lewis laughs off Sports Illustrated's deer-antler report

By Jerry Sullivan

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis again denied a published report that claims he took deer antler spray, which contains a substance banned by the NFL, during his recovery from a torn triceps injury this season.

Lewis, speaking before a packed conference room during a Super Bowl media session this morning, laughed when the first questioner asked him to respond to a report in the digital version of Sports Illustrated.

"I think honestly, I'm going to say it very clearly again," Lewis said. "It's probably one of the most embarrassing things we can do on this type of stage. I think it takes away from ... You give somebody the ability to come into our world. Our world is a very secret society. We try to protect our world as much as we can. But when you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something ...

Continue reading "Ray Lewis laughs off Sports Illustrated's deer-antler report" »

Ray Lewis on double-murder case: 'I would rather not talk about it'

LewisMediaDay
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis meets with reporters at Super Bowl XLVII media day in the Superdome. (Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- For Sunday's story about Ray Lewis' involvement in a double-murder case 13 years ago, I wasn't able to ask the Baltimore Ravens linebacker any questions.

I reached out to the Ravens and was given a Lewis statement for the story:

"That was a sad, sad tragedy and we all have sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. I hope the families eventually find peace."

Lewis faced those questions at Super Bowl XLVII media day here in the Superdome. Here is what he said:

"Nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions. I just truly feel that this is God’s time, and whatever His time is, you know, let it be His will, don't try to please everybody with your words, try to make everybody's story sound right.

"At this time, I would rather direct my questions in other places because I live with that every day. You maybe can take a break from it. I don't. I live with it every day of my life, and I would rather not talk about it today."

NFL Sunday outtakes: Role of sports journalism in mythmaking

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo News cleared about 80 column inches for Sunday's story about Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, his legacy, two dead men and some inconvenient questions.

While that's about five times the length of an average newspaper story, it still wasn't even space for me to include all of the fascinating insight I gathered in my research about Lewis and how he should be viewed as a human being, not merely one of the NFL's greatest players.

Dr. Lawrence Wenner, a professor of communication and ethics at Loyola Marymount University, delivered some attention-grabbing thoughts about how sports journalists are complicit in the mythmaking machine.

Continue reading "NFL Sunday outtakes: Role of sports journalism in mythmaking" »

While Ray Lewis heads to the Super Bowl, a mother grieves


By Tim Graham

AKRON, Ohio -- Thirteen years ago next week, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were knifed to death outside an Atlanta nightclub.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and two associates were charged in the double murder. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction, a misdemeanor, for his testimony. He was the only suspect convicted of anything in the case.

Lewis since has flourished on the football field. He was selected for 13 Pro Bowls. He's a spokesman for video games, shoes and sports drinks. He has been glorified as an NFL icon and will be celebrated as he concludes his decorated career in Super Bowl XLVII.

In the frozen ground at Glendale Cemetery -- 21 miles away from where Lewis' bronze bust will be on display five years from now at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio -- Lollar's body is buried beneath a modest placard. Baker is buried in nearby Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Priscilla Lollar didn't attend her oldest son's funeral and couldn't bear to visit his gravesite.

She went for the first time Wednesday. The Buffalo News was there.

Priscilla Lollar and Master Lollar, who was 8 years old when his 24-year-old brother was slain, crunched across a dusty carpet of snow and cast their eyes downward on Section 19A, Lot 1, Grave 3.

They stood close together and swayed. Master Lollar had been to Richard's resting place only once before.

"We come to tell you we love you," Priscilla Lollar said in a sing-song voice.

She soon broke down. Tears froze near the corners of her eyes. She fought the urge to paw under his headstone.

"I want to see if he's in there," Priscilla Lollar wailed. "I don't know. I don't know.

"I never seen him in no casket or anything. So I don't know. Now I want to see what's up under here. I want to see if he's in there or anything.

"I want him to come on back home! I just want him to come home!"

Lewis and two members of his entourage, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were charged with double-murder.

Baker's blood was found in Lewis' $3,000-a-day limousine. The suit Lewis was wearing that night never has been found. Witnesses reportedly said they saw Lewis at least throw a punch in the melee and then coached everyone in the limo to stay quiet. The witnesses later altered their testimonies.

As the trial unraveled on the prosecution's case, Lewis was offered a deal. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor in exchange for testifying against Oakley and Sweeting. Lewis was unconvincing, and both suspects were acquitted.

Nobody was convicted of killing Richard Lollar or Jacinth Baker.

"Ray Lewis?" Priscilla Lollar said. "You never know what's going on in people's minds, you know? I don't know. I don't know what would go through his mind.

"I've quit trying to figure out what people think a long time ago because you'll be so far off. You think there's a common answer for everything, but it's not, you know? One question could have a thousand answers to it, and you would be wrong trying to think of it.

"I wouldn't know. Some people are evil, and I think he's an ..."

Her voice trailed off.

"I don't know," she continued. "He's an uncaring person."

There's more of this story to tell.

To read about Lewis' role in the murder case and how his actions since that tragic night still haunt two families while he prepares to ride off into the NFL sunset, see Sunday's Buffalo News.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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