in Atlanta because they had purchased them at Lewis’ autograph appearance at a sporting goods store the day before the Super Bowl.
What is Lewis doing hanging out with guys who have knives? What is the intention of someone who would buy a knife at a sporting goods store?
Both of his friends had criminal pasts. Later, Lewis told his old Miami reporter friend Dan LeBatard of ESPN Magazine that he had no knowledge of that.
“People on the outside said I should have picked better friends, but that’s like telling the Chargers to pick better players. What was I supposed to do? Background checks on my friends? Psychological profiles? I can’t predict intentions. If one of your friends robs a bank today, did you know it was going to happen? The guys I was with that night weren’t guys I grew up with. I didn’t know they had records. I learned about that when everyone else did. If I was to eliminate everyone in my life who had done something bad in their past, then I’d have to eliminate myself, too, to be honest with you, because, like most people, I’ve done plenty of wrong.”
As for the two dead men in the street – Richard Lollar and Jacinth “Shorty” Baker – there is little question in my mind that they were asking for trouble. They followed a group of folks who wanted to be left alone for three blocks away from a bar and continued escalating the problem until, reportedly, they instigated the violence by cracking a stranger over the head with a champagne bottle.
Did they get the trouble that they had asked for, following a large group down the street for three blocks? Was this self-defense?
Certainly no one deserved to die over a silly argument of words, and now Lewis – the famous one – would certainly be questioned, if not implicated. Lewis was scared.