“Let he that is without sin among you cast the first stone” (John 8:7).
Don’t mind if I do…
Actually, I wouldn’t be the first. The Ravens ascent into the unbelievable culminated in Super Bowl XLVII with a 3 point win over the Niners. But throughout the playoffs, the main subject of conversation has been whether ray Lewis is an ego-maniacal nut job who bought his way out of a murder conviction, or just a saintly man who has proven to be a true leader and role model.
I never really occupied myself with such arguments until recently. This year was my first fantasy football season, and consequently I got sucked into the NFL, a sport I used to put second on my list to college ball. Now, however, I’ll admit that I’m totally engrossed!
If you’ve read my previous posts, then you’d know that my best friend is a Steelers fan. For this reason alone, I love Tim Tebow. But I’m not the only one; there are actually a lot of people who adore the Teebs, not because he causes normal people to want to kill themselves due to his perfection, but because he is a genuine Christian dude. And the ones that “hate” Tebow really just jab at him like you would your dorky lil’ cousin who’s into Japanese anime or chess sets.
So this got me thinking, if Ray-Ray and the Teebs are both so Christiany, why is there such a huge difference in terms of public perception?
Let’s start with something simple–the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Certainly Ray-Ray gives it up to the Big G upstairs quite often, but he is also known for “Believing in his Smellf.” Hell, when the ravens set up in a victory formation against the Colts, wrapping up a playoff win, Lewis subbed into the offense just to dance on camera. Then, of course, he dropped to the ground to mumble whatever to Jesus for about five good minutes while every camera in the place huddled around him.
Oh, yes, Ray definitely has a flair for the dramatic. For instance, he cries on demand so much, he could be in the next Nicholas Sparks movie. He even gave props to the Bible by wearing special Christian cleats for the super bowl. Featured is a bible verse on the toe. Featured on the sole, however, are all his (Ray’s–I’ll capitalize any God pronouns here, just so you don’t get the two mixed up) most glorious stats. Stats that may have never happened if Ray didn’t have enough money and tight-lipped friends to get out of a murder rap. This paradox of Ray praising God while seemingly praising himself and heightening his image is the reason it’s hard to believe anything he says.
It’s funny. When you Google “Ray Lewis in a suit,” two drastically different versions of Ray-Ray pop up–one of him in extremely fine garb, and one of him in an orange jumpsuit (The white suit everyone is really looking for has never been found).
Chances are, if you don’t live in Maryland (or work for ESPN), then you hate Ray Lewis, and it’s easy to see why. He shoves religion down your throat while playing politician with any questions that refer to his troubled past. Shannon Sharpe proved to have a slight backbone by asking Ray what he would say to the families of the two men who were murdered by his friends. Ray’s response?
No, Ray, your life is not ruined. But nice try at a non-apology.
He never has elaborated on the case, where he hid evidence, what he said to silence witnesses, why he lied to authorities, and how much he paid to buy his freedom. He simply avoids any questions by giving props to the Big Guy. And this is why people hate him with such a vengeance–he’s not sorry and in no way exemplifies the bible talk he shoves in your face any time a mic is in front of him.
This same hatred has also been projected onto Tebow for much the same reason. However, the worst thing Tebow has ever done was star in a pro-abortion commercial that doesn’t actually feature any verbiage about “abortions,” “pro-this or that,” or what the purpose of the commercial is at all.
Then the Tebowing started.
Yes, the kid praised Jesus with a brief prayer after games, much like his murderous predecessor, and this caused a huge backlash.
Both Lewis and Tebow play football, and people don’t like hearing sermons on Sunday when they went to see grown men try to demolish each other.
The separation of church and sport is something that fans hold very dear; they want to be entertained and not preached at. But the hatred for these two God-fearers is drastically different when they are off the field of play.
Off the field, almost any guy would ultimately be elated for his daughter to get with Tebow. Unlike Lewis, Tebow is Christian through and through. He was, arguably, the most famous virgin since Mary. But Ray…
Honestly, If I were an ESPN analyst, I would vehemently oppose the hiring of Ray Lewis. Where else would anyone be okay sharing a cubicle with a guy YOU KNOW lied to cover his ass in the murder of two people?
Think about it.
Could you imagine the water cooler talk?
“Hey, Cindy, Ray-ray keeps stealing my paper clips for his post-game memos…but I’m kinda scared to bring it up.”
“Sorry, Mark. Ray said I’m not allowed to talk to you anymore. Also, stop looking him in his eyes and not calling him ‘The Superior Mr. Lewis.'”
Ever since Tebow left Florida, almost everyone has known that he wouldn’t last long in the NFL and would end up being a preacher or missionary.
Ever since Ray Lewis announced his retirement and starting quoting the Bible, everyone has become accustomed to the fact that this blowhard will always be in front of a camera. All his Bible talk started, conveniently, after he reached a plea bargain with prosecutors in his murder case. He famously swore, under oath, that he had given his life to Christ after he learned he wouldn’t go to prison, and that he was NOW telling the truth because of his newfound faith…and not his newfound immunity.
Tebow didn’t need a lessened prison sentence to believe in God. He has always had the same commitment to his Lord and Savior and has remained humble in the midst of adversity. He led a team to the playoffs and inspired a city, only to be traded away. He then sat, patiently awaiting playing time, while coaches sat Mark Sanchez (statistically, one of the worst QB’s of all football history) and passed him over for the QB behind him in the depth chart. Hell, he was even cool with his teammates shaving his head into a monk haircut.
Every ounce of Tebow screams meekness, unlike Lewis, who, I imagine, has mirrors instead of wall paper in his house. And ultimately, the Bible says that “blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5: 5).
So just don’t be surprised if, three years from now, Tebow is the head pastor or lead missionary for a religious or philanthropic group:
Also don’t be surprised if Ray Lewis, three years from now, is still using his God talk to advance his own image: