Everybody loves a feel good story. People in the media pounce on it like a pack of hyenas on a dead antelope. Doing everything they can to get every piece for themselves until there's nothing but skin and bone.
In regards to Ray Lewis, who announced that he would retire after the Baltimore Ravens season ended, it started off small. For Lewis, he knew he had one more home game to do his dance, and walk off the field at M&T Bank Stadium a winner. He did, and it was fine. Ray got his moment in the spotlight.
The following week in Denver took it to a higher level. After the Ravens took down Manning and the Broncos, Lewis began preaching emotionally on CBS like he was on early Sunday morning television. For some of us, we began to tire of Ray's preaching. His love for the camera is without a doubt obvious to everyone.
The cameras at CBS had us cringing as an emotional Lewis, who knew he was on camera, was making faces that many of us make 30 minutes after we take laxatives. The play of Joe Flacco was then overshadowed by a preaching Ray Lewis after the Ravens clinched the AFC title.
From the moment Lewis announced he was hanging it up before the playoffs, the story has become a monster of the media's own creation and it will live for another week or two in the event the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII. It's gone too far and we have to deal with it.
Ray Lewis has had a hall of fame career. A place in Canton is waiting for him. Lewis is a man who over a decade ago was involved in a double homicide, was able to fix his image in a league where second chances are a dime a dozen, found God, and has made that obvious over the past month, whether we want to hear it or not.
Ray Lewis is an athlete that loves the camera, will find the camera, and do his act.
Oh, Ray will hang it up after the season? What about his teammate Ed Reed? This might be his last ride. What about 49ers receiver Randy Moss, who believes he is the best receiver of all time. That of course is Randy being Randy. You should know that by now. This is a man who pretend to moon the Green Bay crowd. So Lewis isn't the only old buck out there taking his last ride.
Sports Illustrated came out with the story about Lewis using deer antler extract spray, a banned substance under the substance abuse policy. Of course, despite the check Lewis made out to S.W.A.T. and the phone call he made back in October to the company, Lewis denies it and calls it a "trick of the devil." So I guess if Ray says he didn't do it, I guess we should forget about it and take him for his word, right?
If you are taking Lewis at his word, I suggest you do a search on Lance Armstrong.
In the defense of a Ray Lewis supporter, they might say that the focus on one player in the Super Bowl is common. Jerome Bettis in Super Bowl XL and John Elway in Super Bowl XXXIII are two great examples. However, there are some differences between these players and Lewis.
Bettis and Elway were a lot more humble and modest than Lewis has been. Neither ever went searching for the camera, preached live on the camera, and were never surrounded by past and current incidents off the field. We also weren't hoping the stories would stop and both players would go away.
Love him or hate him, Ray Lewis is one of the best linebackers the game has ever seen. You can't deny him that. But it has reached a point where we are tired of the preaching, the desire for attention by Lewis, and the weekly postgame sobbing.
ESPN is going to hire Lewis as an analyst after he retires. That will be interesting to see.
Save the tears for Canton, Ray. Although we'll still see them if the Ravens win on Sunday.