Former NFL player slams Ray Lewis, misses the point
The Kansas City Star
NEW ORLEANS — Well, the Super Bowl of Ray Lewis continues, and now speaking for the state will be former Giants receiver Amani Toomer, in words to USA Today’s Mike Garafolo:
“It’s definitely all about him. Once a guy goes to the center of the field, goes into the victory formation on the last play of his last home game … I just don’t think the Giants or any organization I’ve ever been a part of, even growing up, would allow somebody to single themselves out like that.”
Toomer went on to reference Lewis’ spirituality, saying, “when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy.”
And the man’s words do not come without merit. This is something I got into with Wednesday’s column, so pardon the brief repeating of myself but human beings are almost always much more complicated than a one-dimensional “good” or “bad” take allows.
Toomer specifically slams Lewis being included in the last play of the Ravens’ last home game, but his teammates and coaches wanted him there. That was as much about them as it was about him. Like Toomer says, the Giants and a lot of other organizations wouldn’t have let something like that happen but the Giants are one of the most conservative and old-school franchises out there and the Ravens are the complete opposite.
They’ve never played a season without Ray Lewis. He is the Ravens. So of course things are going to be different for him in Baltimore than they would be for someone with the Giants — the franchise of Taylor and Parcells and Manning and Simms and Strahan and Tittle and the Maras.
Look, I love what Ray Lewis has been as a player. I mostly dig the emotion, but cringe as he habitually zooms past the line of shameless self-promotion.
But it’s also not hard to see the context in which he’s doing this. His teammates freaking love it. They love him. You can see it in the way they defended him this week from a fresh bash of PED accusations. In a weird way, Lewis’ self-promotion has become a point of pride for the Ravens.
For Toomer to last out otherwise just comes across as petty.