As a Baltimore Ravens fan, I was anxious to watch the video of the entire press conference where Ray Lewis announced his retirement. But I didn't expect to hear him talk so much about fatherhood, and how his role as a dad helped shape his decision to retire at this point in his career.
Click on the link below, and skip to the 3:40 mark to hear him begin to talk about being able to watch two of his sons play football on the same team while he was injured. From there, he continues to talk about his thought process through this decision, and he brings up fatherhood several more times, saying that his kids have had to sacrifice having him around for seventeen years and that he doesn't want them to grow up without a father like he did.
My favorite quote of the entire press conference comes at the 8:25 mark,
"I couldn't split my time. When God calls, He calls. And He's calling... He's calling me to be a father. It's okay to be 'Daddy'... It's okay to say that."
I have been seeing various comments on social media about the incident in Atlanta involving Ray Lewis just after the Ravens won their 2000 Super Bowl. And here is my response:
Comment on Facebook: What about that shooting in Atlanta that he let his posse take the fall for so he could make his millions in the NFL?
Me: Actually, it was a stabbing, and nobody took the fall for it. Nobody was ever convicted, which is a shame. This was not a premeditated attack. It was a bar fight outside of a club. Things were probably crazy. He was the most famous person in the group, so, of course, the target was on his back. Is it tragic that there was no conviction? Yes. Did he get off the hook? We don't know. What we do know is that he did plea to lesser charges (which the state never had to offer him, especially if they had any evidence). He served 12 months of probation (incident free) and also paid the largest non-drug related fine the NFL had ever issued ($250,000). Not only that, he did reach an undisclosed monetary settlement with the families of both victims in civil court. As I see it, he was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (especially if there was not enough evidence to ever prove anyone guilty). And it appears that he learned his lesson. He has played the rest of his career without the slightest incident, and he has been actively involved in charity efforts around Baltimore for his entire career. You can think whatever you want about him, but like I told somebody else who posted the same question, I'm not celebrating the 25 year old who made a terrible mistake with a crowd of people who got in a fight (whether he did any of the stabbing or just covered up who did). I'm celebrating the almost 40 year old father of six who is making his kids a priority over his desire to compete in the NFL for millions of dollars. Hopefully, you can see the difference.