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The back deals: Professional athletes didn’t want you to see: Part 1

Thirteen years have passed since NFL star, Ray Lewis, was indicted on murder charges that many experts say will haunt him forever. With the past being unlike the future, in a sense that there weren’t that many regulations and you could get away with certain things. In this article we will be looking at Ray Lewis and how the placing of his regulations and mishaps against him throughout his career affected the shaping of his career. After looking over the case and through the works of past and future Ray Lewis, I thought to myself is he guilty or is he innocent? Should he have played after this incident or should he have been expelled from the NFL?  Some good questions that were thought by the world and the students at Bloomsburg University. I was able to ask a handful of students what they thought about the situation. When CJ Maholland was questioned at Monty’s resturant he responded with, “Oh who’s Ray Lewis give me a second.” As he fumbled through his phone it took him a little and he came to tell me, “Yeah I remember now he was accused of killing some people and got away with it good for him if he didn’t do it he didn’t do it,” he said. “ I also heard that he was caught using steroids at the end of this season doesn’t suck for him he’s retired now who cares.”        

            A little bit of background on Lewis starts me off with that he was born Ray Anthony Lewis Junior on May 15, 1975 in Bartow, Florida. Lewis was an All-American linebacker and wrestling star at Kathleen High School. He eventually took his talents to the University of Miami and played as a starting linebacker as a freshman from the 1993 season to the 1995 season. He decided in his junior year not to return to the University of Florida and enter the NFL draft.  In the 1996 NFL Draft, Ray Lewis was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. Lewis went on to play for the Ravens for seventeen seasons, ending and retiring as a Raven. He was selected to play in thirteen Pro Bowls and named a ten time All-Pro by the Associated Press. He also won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in both the 2000 and 2003 season. He is considered to be a future hall of famer and an all American but that could have been something to become halted not by one but two incidents that happened over his career.

             The incident took place on January 31, 2000 after an arranged Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta, Ga. A fight broke out between Lewis, a couple of his friends and another group of strangers to them. The fight resulted in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar who were both stabbed. Ray Lewis and his friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police due to the stabbing. Eleven days after the incident the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges. “The fight occurred about 200 yards from the Cobalt Lounge at 265 East Paces Ferry Road in the Buckhead Village neighborhood about two miles north of downtown Atlanta where Lewis had been celebrating.” It was said that the white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the incident was never found.  A knife that was found at the scene did not have any fingerprints or DNA on it. Lewis subsequently testified that Oakley and Sweeting had bought knives earlier in Super Bowl week from a Sports Authority where Lewis had been signing autographs. Baker’s blood was found inside the limousine of Ray Lewis. Lewis’ attorneys negotiated a plea agreement with Howard, where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis admitted he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. The Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Ray Lewis to a twelve month probation period. The NFL took action as well besides the criminal justice system. Ray Lewis was fined $250,000 by the commissioner of NFL for his actions in the case. 

            Another dignified response was from one of the members of the basketball team ,Thomas Clea, “I think Ray Lewis is innocent there was no evidence that put him kill those people or any one I still look at him to day as one of the greatest motivates in our generation, and he helps define what a true athlete is.” Gianna Evancho a Bloomsburg senior and top of the charts Education Major reacted with, “I was not one of the cops that did the investigation so I can’t decide whether he is innocent or not but he’s not in jail so I guess they thought he wasn’t. I look to him as a role mottle because he, after all that was said and done, went back to school to get his degree because education is the best thing for are youth and they need to understand that.”

There will always be an opinion from the public about acts that are considered bad or unlawful with famous or just upstanding people. We as individuals have to decide on whether to like the situation or outcome from the people we elect in our society to uphold the law, but one person might not have the same views as another. So I ask the people; Ray Lewis NFL superstar and future hall of famer or criminal?