He rushed back to his hotel at the Georgian Terrace and immediately began covering up any involvement he might have had. He eliminated the clothing he had worn. Avoided questioning. Provided a series of vague answers to the police and lied under questioning. He was obviously following the rule of the street: never rat out a friend. But when double murder is the charge, does that rule still follow?
If it had been you and your friends or relatives, would you have sung to the police the next morning?
Good questions, one and all. Questions that I honestly don’t have answers to and ones that Lewis told LeBatard his feelings about.
“You have one second to decide what to do. People say the smartest thing to do is walk away. It is the safest thing to do, yeah. But it isn’t the most loyal or most courageous thing to do. It may not even be the right thing to do, if you care at all about your friends, if you care about anybody other than yourself. I tried to break the fight up. And look at what it got me.”
What it got Lewis was 15 days in jail in Atlanta. Lewis missed the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, watching from jail. The trial cost Lewis more than $2 million in court costs and legal fees. Then, he was fined another $250,000 by the NFL. He spent nearly four months under a pseudo-house arrest, where he couldn’t go out after dark. He was only allowed to be in Baltimore and Atlanta prior to the trial.
“This mess cost me my good name, cost me months of my life in jail and on trial, cost me faith in the judicial system and in the media and in ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ ” Lewis told LeBatard. “And it has cost me two groups of fans – the group that hated me for being in that courtroom to begin with and the keepin’-it-real folks who thought I shouldn’t have testified against my friends.