It’s striking how influential the media can be on its audience. The media is responsible for getting us, the audience, to obtain whatever opinions they think will make the most money. ESPN, in particular, is able to sculpt our minds like Michelangelo with marble.
Ray Lewis — and his potential retirement — was the talk of ESPN and other media outlets for weeks and this past NFL season. The Ravens’ winning Super Bowl XLVII capped off his first ballet hall-of-fame career.
It just recently came to my attention that the Baltimore Ravens announced, less than a week after the Super Bowl, their plan to erect a stature of the linebacker outside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. It is funny how quick everyone has forgotten about Lewis’ “memorable” past.
In a post-game celebration of Super Bowl XXXV back in 2001, Ray Lewis was involved in an investigation regarding the stabbing of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar that occurred after a confrontation with the linebacker and his two companions. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and got his murder charges dismissed in exchange for testimony of the two friends present at the time of the murder. Both men were later acquitted and the murders remain unsolved.
There was a large amount of evidence that pointed to Lewis’ involvement, including blood in Lewis’ limo and the fact that Lewis “threw out” the white suit he was wearing the night of the murders ... Who throws away a suit?
When analyzing the situation, yes, he was never charged and was never proven to have been involved in the murders, but one would have to be beyond naive to think he had nothing to do with the deaths of these two men.
This is when the media plays a role in our opinions of Lewis. ESPN has determined that promoting Lewis as a great, charitable man is beneficial to its company. We see that regularly in its inspirational segments and bio pieces about Lewis. If the public has a positive view and high opinion of Lewis, ESPN is able to make more money, plain and simple.
Idolization of Lewis has grown and shifted so greatly that Lewis will be getting eternally immortalized by a statue. The fans of the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis are able to see Lewis in a light that shines golden rays of sunshine. ESPN has shaped the minds of its public and created a famous and glorious image for a man who should be infamous.
Some people, like the families of the two deceased men who Ray Lewis gave undisclosed amounts of money to after the incidents, will never forget. People believe Lewis is responsible for the murder of the two men now buried in Akron, Ohio. If the media took a different angle from the beginning and continued to reference his trial, I guarantee the opinion of the public would be different. It’s funny to think about how much power the media, and in this case ESPN, has on our society.
Yes, Lewis is a great football player — maybe the greatest linebacker of all time. Does being a great athlete in our society entitle you to praise and idolization? Does being a great player make him more deserving of a statue than the late Joe Paterno?
... And I didn’t even mention his antler-spray PEDs.
Ryan Dentscheff is a junior journalism student, president of the Ohio University Anglers Organization and Post columnist. Send your fishing questions to email@example.com.