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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