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
-- 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.
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.
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 ...
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
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."
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.
-- Thirteen years ago next week, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were knifed
to death outside an Atlanta
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
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
"I want him to come on back home! I just want him to
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.