Does anything like a sense of shame exist in the sports department of USA Today?
Apparently not. And apparently some people just can’t help but live down to your expectations of them.
Now I knew when Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced that this season would be his last go round in the National Football League, that someone – or a group of someones – at some newspaper, radio or television station would dredge up that nasty business from 13 years ago.
It’s a business that went something like this: On Jan. 31, 2000, around 4 a.m., Lewis and others were riding around Atlanta in a limo, celebrating the Super Bowl that had been played there the day before.
Members of Lewis’ party got into a fight with some other guys. When the dust settled, two of those other guys – Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar – lay sprawled in the streets of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Both had died from stab wounds.
Paul Howard, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., charged Lewis and two other men – Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting – with the murders of Baker and Lollar.
Howard later dropped the murder charges against Lewis; the jury acquitted Oakley and Sweeting of all charges. But that didn’t fit the narrative that some people – like, say, sports editors at USA Today – wanted.
They bought into Howard’s depiction of Lewis, Oakley and Sweeting as cold-blooded murderers, and that’s the one they’re running with today.
So, as I stumbled across a Jan. 14 USA Today story with the headline, “Ray Lewis’ Career Marches on After Upset,” I wasn’t surprised to find a link to a story with THIS headline:
“Slayings Not Forgotten, Ray Lewis Not Forgiven.”
The headline implies that Lewis did indeed do something for which the families of Baker and Lollar should forgive him. If the headline wasn’t enough to convince readers that Lewis was a murdering menace, reporter Brent Schrotenboer made sure to include this sentence in the body of the story:
“Their (Baker’s and Lollar’s) murders remained unsolved. But as the anniversary of their deaths approaches – and as Lewis dances into the sunset of his career – the victims’ relatives are still seething at him. While Priscilla Lollar (Jacinth Lollar’s mother) says she’s ‘numb’ to Lewis, others want answers. And justice.”
Those answers and that justice were provided 13 years ago, at trial. The families of Baker and Lollar – and those sports editors at USA Today – just choose to live in denial and accept them.
I attended a couple of days of Lewis’ Atlanta trial. On day one, which I didn’t attend, the prosecution’s first witness – a woman who saw the fight that led to the stabbings – testified that a man in a red jacket was wielding a knife.
She identified neither Lewis, Oakley nor Sweeting as that man, probably because none of them was wearing a red jacket when the incident occurred.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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