But the vitriol spewing forth from the fine folks of Denver moments after Baltimore beat San Francisco to win their second Lombardi Trophy was downright nasty. It bordered on embarrassing, the type of talk that falls squarely into the “sore loser” category.
And when it came to one Raven in particular – Ray Lewis – the comments were completely over the top. They were mean. They were nasty. And they were hypocritical.
There are certainly plenty of things for Broncos fans to dislike about the future Hall of Fame linebacker. But those reasons need to be applied consistently, even to members of the orange and blue, and they aren’t.
You don’t like that Lewis evokes God in every interview? Fine. Then, here’s hoping you said the same thing last year when Tim Tebow was thanking Jesus whenever a microphone came his way. Here’s trusting that you mocked Brian Dawkins when he thanked his Lord and Savior after games. And here’s assuming you slammed Jason Elam for his outward expressions of faith.
Otherwise, it’d be a double standard.
And don’t make the argument that your dislike of his God talk has nothing to do with Lewis’s faith, that it’s about his narcissistic desire to be in the spotlight all of the time. The Broncos have their fair share of those kinds of guys, too. Von Miller’s sack dances are nothing more than cries for attention.
You don’t like that Lewis got off with a slap of the wrist for obstructing justice as part of an Atlanta murder investigation in 2000? Fair enough. Then, here’s to there being the same kind of outrage every time a Bronco hires Harvey Steinberg and weasels his way out of a jam. There’s certainly plenty of opportunity to be ticked; since 2000, 34 Broncos – the third-highest total in the NFL – have been arrested.
Again, it’s two sets of rules.
Yes, the legal troubles that found Lewis were serious. But it’s not as though the case involving Perrish Cox and Demaryius Thomas last summer wasn’t an ugly and sordid affair. That’s why grading police blotters is a dicey proposition; everyone looks bad in these kinds of situations.
And you don’t like that Lewis allegedly got away with taking performance-enhancing drugs to help him recover from his triceps injury this season and get back on the field in time for the playoffs? Okay. Nitpicky, but okay. Then, here’s to holding the Broncos quarterback – a guy who reportedly traveled to Germany in 2011 to undergo stem-cell therapy in an effort to speed up his recovery from neck surgery – to the same lofty ethics.
That one’s a little tougher, isn’t it?
Mocking a guy for being “too religious” is easy. Being critical when someone gets caught up in an ugly legal mess is low-hanging fruit. But getting on a guy for having a do-anything-to-play attitude opens an uncomfortable can of worms.
The fact of the matter is that both Lewis and Peyton Manning sought out any possible treatment that would help them get back on the field faster. You can’t admire one guy for his willingness to go to all corners of the earth in search of a remedy that will speed his recovery and then bash another player for doing exactly the same thing.
It’s the definition of hypocritical.
It’s okay to be upset about the Ravens winning what shoulda, coulda, woulda been the Broncos championship. That’s natural when a team comes so painfully close to victory. But there’s no need to hit below the belt just because the other team won.
Stay away from the way he chooses to exercise his religious freedom, a mocking that seems to be specially reserved for born again Christians in today’s society. Steer clear of the “his run-in with the law was worse than ours” debate, an argument that starts to unravel the minute it begins. And shelve the chorus of cheating allegations, as there’s nothing “natural” or “pure” about many of the lengths athletes will go to in order to get back in the game faster.
The fact of the matter is that every NFL team has the same warts. Ray Lewis may embody them for the Ravens, but there are plenty of Broncos who possess the same blemishes.
Let a great player ride off into the sunset on a high note without ripping him for not living up to expectations that aren’t applied to local athletes. Otherwise, Broncos fans aren’t just being poor sports, they’re being hypocrites.
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