Baltimore Raven’s legendary retired linebacker Ray Lewis joined Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett and many others by following the trend of NFL players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem last week. Fans took notice and let it be known that, despite his SuperBowl rings and his incredible performances on the field, they would not excuse him for kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. A petition for the removal of his statue next to M&T Bank Stadium on Change.org has now reached more than 77,000 signatures.
“You can’t erase 17 years of history. You can’t erase two Super Bowls,” said Sunseria “Buffy” Smith, Ray Lewis’ mother. “You can’t erase Ray coming here, going to Johns Hopkins Hospital. He do stuff people don’t even know he do.”
Ray Lewis is one of the more complex personalities in the NFL. A vicious, fierce defensive enforcer on the field, he was a SuperBowl MVP, a 13-time Pro-Bowler and the foundation for the Raven’s defense. He has been connected to the stabbing deaths of two people back in 2000 and was charged with obstruction of justice. His many charitable works through the Ravens organization and his own Ray Lewis 52 Foundation should not be taken lightly.
While there are many distinctions between the call for removal of Confederate statues and the petition to remove Ray Lewis’ statue, I want to point one of the similarities. Lewis’ mother argued that ‘you can’t erase history’ in response to the nearly 80,000 who have signed the petition for the removal of her son’s statue. When Whites argued against the removal of Confederate monuments, they were shut down by liberals who claimed that history wasn’t being erased, just fumigated or that Whites could just open up a damn book instead. And the statues came down. Whether erasing Lewis’ memorial is truly justified or not, thanks to liberals, people now see statue removal as an option. And should enough people clamor for his statue to come down, rest assured, Ravens fans can always search YouTube or just open a book to remember the exploits of their legend.