ESPN has hired Ray Lewis as an NFL commentator, and the president of the company says that’s a decision that was made after careful consideration of his personal history.
That history includes Lewis initially being charged with murder and later pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the stabbing deaths of two men in January of 2000, but ESPN President John Skipper said the NFL and its fans have embraced Lewis, and ESPN is willing to do that as well.
“We had an opportunity last fall to get Ray and we debated internally some of the history,” Skipper told Richard Deitsch of SI.com. “Obviously, we decided we were comfortable with it. We must have because we did it. I will tell you we did remind ourselves of some of the issues. We sort of decided that the NFL welcomed him back into the fold and the fans welcomed him back into the fold. I think we are fine with second chances and we think he will make great television. Ultimately, we were comfortable with it.”
Although Lewis hasn’t signed his contract with ESPN yet, Skipper confirmed that Lewis will have a significant role on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, expect to see a lot of Lewis on ESPN.