Your Monday Reality Check: Stupidity alive in Lewis retirement reaction

January 07, 2013 | Glenn Clark

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel might be a decent sports columnist. I’m not a regular reader of his, as I assume he doesn’t spend much time listening to “The Reality Check” on WNST. (But he should.)

I don’t think Mike Bianchi is an idiot. I have no reason to believe he’s incapable of serving in his capacity as a columnist.

I just can’t understand why Mike Bianchi thought it acceptable to put together this incredibly stupid paragraph in his Sunday column about Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis…

To fathom the scope of his redemptive powers, all you have to do is click on the two separate Wikipedia pages of Lewis and Michael Vick. In the opening paragraph of Vick’s, it mentions his notorious episode of dog-killing. In Lewis’ opening paragraph, it chronicles his Pro Bowls, his Super Bowl MVP, even the torn triceps that kept him sidelined for much of this season. But there is not a single mention of the fact that he once was charged with murdering two men.

He actually scripted this paragraph and thought it was acceptable to say “okay, I made a great point here.”

He never thought that for any reason he should include a disclaimer that said “the obvious difference between the two being that Ray Lewis had the murder charges against him dropped due to a stunning lack of evidence while Vick served 19 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.”

That would have been a really important sentence to include. The other option would have been for Bianchi to avoid the Lewis-Vick comparison altogether and use his column space to intelligently inform less knowledgable sports fans that the transgressions of the two weren’t remotely similar.

Unfortunately Bianchi and a few others didn’t do that. Instead, they chose to play to the crowd that represents the lowest common denominator. The crowd that wants to tell you about how Ray Lewis once murdered two people in Atlanta.

The events of January 31, 2000 cannot and should not be ignored in discussing the legacy of Ray Lewis.

Lewis’ dedication to spending the last 13 years changing his legacy has been one of the most admirable sports stories of the 21st century. As we approach the final game of his certain future Hall of Fame career, I am glad many talented writers (including the exceptional Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports) took the time to tell the story without ever crossing the line that Sporting News’ David Whitley did.

That’s the line where you ask a question like this within your column about Lewis’ retirement announcement.

“Oh yeah, did he also get away with murder?”

That’s an actual line that was written by a significant national columnist (although in fairness, the same national columnist who compared Colin Kaepernick to a con because he has tattoos).

Whitley appeared on my radio show last week after I told him I had taken issue with his comments. He essentially admitted he should have been more specific in making it clear that Ray Lewis did not get away with murder.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Justafan Says:

    This is the problem with many so-called journalists today. They never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  2. Jarrod Says:

    I would agree with your thoughts, Glen. But, Is celebrating man who has 6 kids by 4 different women as a “leader” acceptable in today’s society? The myopic viewpoint Bianchi illustrates, is similar to how local media ignores or in my opinion hides these same facts to many fans who idolize #52. Maybe my assesment between the two is simply not fair.

    (Edit from Glenn: In fact, I would say FAR from fair. Comparing having children with multiple women to criminal activity is out of line.

    If Lewis had been documented to be a bad father I would think your point relevant. It certainly comes off as non-traditional and not necessarily what we would want from our own families, but if Lewis had taken on the responsibility of being a good father in such a non-traditional setting I would believe the point to be moot. I have no reason not to believe he has.)

  3. Jason Says:

    Your response to Jarrod’s reply was EXACTLY what I was going to say. Basically verbatim. If Lewis didn’t take care of his six children, he would be “raked over the coals” about that.

  4. Jason Says:

    It’s a shame that those, fans and media alike, who want to continue to use the unfortunate murders in Atlanta as a reason to bring down Ray Lewis have such a hatred and disdain for him. How is it that the media constantly praise guys like Adam “Pacman” Jones for changing his ways and turning his life around but Ray continues to have the moniker of “Murderer?”

  5. Jason Manelli Says:

    I emailed Bianchi and the editor of the Sun after I read this on Monday on the Sun’s own website. I mourn the day the Tribune took over our hometown daily, and this is a great example of why. Out of town writer with no sense of the place or the moment dips his poison pen into the decade old blood of the victims. It was callous and further evidence of the depths journalists sink to meet their ‘deadline’.

    (Edit from Glenn: Wholly agreed.)

  6. unitastoberry Says:

    If you read any of the articles on Fox Sports.Com/MSN last weekend about Ray the comments were mostly appauling towards him. I’m not sure he’s loved elsewhere like Baltimore and Miami. Keep winning!

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