After leveling Bengals reciever Chad Ochocinco with a helmet-to-helmet hit last month, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was fined $25,000. But in a new interview, Lewis says he wouldn’t do anything differently.
Speaking to Marshall Faulk for an interview set to air Sunday on NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Morning, Lewis said he wouldn’t try to injure an opponent, but he wouldn’t back off just to avoid a fine, either.
“I don’t believe there’s one man out there on the football field that’s looking to hurt somebody,” Lewis said in an excerpt of the interview that NFL Network released to the media. “My job as a linebacker is to buckle up my chin strap and if anybody comes in the middle of the field, to make them feel it while the play is going on. I didn’t hit him after the whistle; I hit him during a play. That’s football. And if I had to do it again, I’d do it a million times the same way.”
Lewis’s comments raise the question of whether fines really act as a deterrent to NFL players in the heat of battle. If Lewis is willing to state openly that he’d do the same thing over again, he obviously didn’t learn whatever lesson the NFL was hoping he’d learn from getting fined. Do all the fines the NFL hands out each week for illegal hits actually make the game any safer? Lewis’s comments suggest that fines don’t change players’ behavior.