Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ray Lewis' Character & Wes Welker's Wife

Ray Lewis is undoubtedly one of - if not indisputably - the best linebackers in the NFL.  His competitive spirit and intense play is the type of NFL legend, and he is widely known for his presence on the field and in the locker room.  With the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl run coinciding with Ray Lewis' impending retirement, the success of Lewis' Ravens has become a feel good story.

Except for that character issue.  Which was shamelessly called out on Facebook by Patriot receiver Wes Welker's wife after the recent AFC Championship game.  Anna Welker was clearly relieving some frustration over the Patriot's loss - so she went after an opponent's personal character.  Much of the news coverage has criticized Anna for mean spirited and "nasty" comments after she pointed to Ray Lewis' Wikipedia page for "anyone who is bored." That page reveals all the sordid details of Ray Lewis' life, including being acquitted for murder.

The news of Lewis' suspicious past and less than admirable responsibilities regarding parenting and fidelity is not new for any NFL fan.  Ray Lewis has been called "the murderer" by many a disgruntled fan trying to explain away his team's loss.  I mean who hasn't felt that "it's easy to win football games when you have a true killer on your team."  And, I will admit that Ray Lewis' character issue bothers me.  Even if he is not supposed to be a role model, I am still bothered by any person who has "six kids from four wives."  Even if that's none of my business, and even if it doesn't matter on the football field.

There is still something to be said for the serious lack of character in professional sports.  When I consider Ray Lewis' past and Lance Armstrong's confession and Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens' failed bid for the Hall of Fame, I almost don't fault Anna Welker for pointing out the shortfalls of these sports heroes.  Granted, she wasn't doing anything other than complaining about her team's loss - and that's just sour grapes.  And, it's worth noting that Anna Welker doesn't possess the purest reputation as well - Anna Burns is a former Hooters waitress who holds the dubious honor of being Miss Hooter's International.

But, with the recent passing of Stan "The Man" Musial, the issue of character in sport should be on everyone's mind.  Ray Lewis may be a great football player, but that doesn't make him a great man.  And, it's not surprising that "Baseball's Perfect Warrior, Baseball's Perfect Knight" has finally gone to glory.  He's too good for this world, especially today's sporting world.

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