ESPN president: We’re comfortable with Ray Lewis’s history

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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 “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.

109 responses to “ESPN president: We’re comfortable with Ray Lewis’s history

  1. His history isn’t the problem, probably not his math or english either. It’s his extra-curricular activities that are of concern.

  2. Who wouldn’t want to see the greatest of all time. Can’t wait. All the steeler fans of course don’t wanna see ray but they better worry about there issues with that locker room that is slowing falling apart

  3. ravensallday2012 says: Feb 20, 2013 4:45 PM

    Who wouldn’t want to see the greatest of all time. Can’t wait. All the steeler fans of course don’t wanna see ray but they better worry about there issues with that locker room that is slowing falling apart
    Um, let me help you with this. The Greatest of All Time is Mr. Lawrence Taylor.

    Ray Lewis was great, but nobody was LT.


  4. “All the steeler fans of course don’t wanna see ray but they better worry about there issues with that locker room that is slowing falling apart”
    Hey allday, can you bring a translator with you next time.

  5. So Ray says retired to be there for son at Miami. Now he’s onto the next job, I don’t know how time consuming commentating is but it certainly didn’t help Marino.

  6. Of course they’re comfortable with his history. They hire an alarming amount of low-class former athletes with shady pasts, whether its PEDs or criminal offenses. ESPN has no shame.

  7. He did not kill anyone. He gave a ride to people who killed a drug dealer and got rid of evidence. Still a crime but not murder.

    PS – I think he’ll kill it on ESPN…

  8. I haven’t watched ANY of the pre-game shows since they all degenerated into laugh-fests a few years ago. As much as I hate to admit it (I don’t wanna blow smoke up Florio’s butt), reading PFT and keeping watching the highlights portion of the NBC show (I don’t want to see Dungy and Harrison, or Costas, opine about anything) gives me most of the info I need to stay reasonably informed about what’s happening in the NFL.

  9. Excellent Football player. Passionate, fiery, big heart. HARD to listen to his preaching style commentary. Much easier to appreciate him crushing a RB running off tackle. Brian Cox wasn’t much of an analyst either.

  10. All of Baltimore and Raven Nation is comfertable with it too.

    Glad to see that jealousy, hatred, and pure provincialism hasn’t prevented everyone from having their ability to see the lack of evidence and facts against this libeled LEGEND!

  11. I’m a Pittsburgh fan and no one on this board would like to be judged by perfection the cynics have set for Ray Lewis. It is too easy for young people to hang with the wrong group of people. Most of us are blessed enough that it doesnt result in death of another human being. Ray has used his notoriety to be a positive influence on kids and his community.

  12. Sad to say but discussion came down to potential $ gained vs. transgression. What example does this set for american youth other than the money grab? Way to go ESPN.

    As far as others saying go to NFL network do I need to say anything beyond Irvin and his checkered past?

    Just sad lately that a athlete who was a model citizen is frowned upon as a commentator by the networks and many posters.

  13. It wasn’t proved that he was the murderer yet there are many unanswered questions. I like the guy, especially after watching the special on on the NFL network. Its hard for me to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’ll do it. Hopefully, he can add to a pretty lame group of guys on the ESPN set.

  14. GOAT? maybe of the last 15 years and even that is in serious question.all time? he is no. 20. anybody who is over 18 can tell you that.

  15. He never got convicted of murder so I have to move past that.

    His speaking skills and vocabulary are kinda limited for a TV personality. I can’t move past that.

  16. Has no effect on me.

    I haven’t watched 5 seconds of a pre, post, or halftime show in 10 years. I couldn’t even tell you who is currently on any of them.

    Why in the world would I care what any of those people think about what I am about to watch? In fact, since the advent of the Red Zone Channel, I hardly even have to put up with the game announcers.

    I strongly recommend watching football this way. Since I stopped listening to the talking heads, it has increased my enjoyment of the sport 1000%.

  17. I’m so done with this channel. They can’t even report facts anymore. The Fox News of sports broadcasting.

  18. Which is another reason I won’t watch anything but the actual games that are aired there.

  19. Sorry guys but most of the posts here come off as very snobby and child like. I’m not a fan of Lewis but espn is a decent network that has evolved into a great mixture of entertainment and story telling. It’s not for everyone but COME ON MAN!!! And the guys who canceled cable… Lmao give me a break, no walking dead, mnf, breaking bad, NBA, mlb games, i guess your too busy knitting a sweater for your children?

  20. Then they will be comfortable with me watching NFL Network for my football coverage rather than ESPN…

  21. Brutal. This past month I wasn’t sure if Ray Lewis was a football player or a pastor…. Absolutely sick of whatever he had to say, the last thing Ill do now is watch anything he’s part of, later ESPN.

  22. After careful consideration huh.? Transcript from ESPN president’s meeting regarding Ray Ray ‘s hiring – Ok gentleman, lets see, Ray equals ratings which equals money, so he murdered someone or helped his friends get away with murder, could be worse right. Leets give him a shot what’s everyone think? We’re on board Skipper, let’s just make sure we put in his contract that he is limited to 5 bible qoutes per episode, it might turn some folks off.

  23. And in an ESPN news flash……they have just hired Lance Armstrong to host a show on integrity.

  24. What’s next, O.J. Simpson on Monday Night Countdown? Yes, that is a fair comparison. If Ray hits the airways, it’s time for a total boycott, including ABC and Disney.

  25. ….and on the 7th day the lord spoke to Ray Lewis and said, “ESPN!?, ….Take a stab it.”

  26. ESPN is full of blowhards, now one of their blowhards was directly involved in a double murder so it helps with the street cred, a vital attribute when you have nothing else redeemable about yourself. Just look at the hip hop music industry to see similar examples.

  27. Ray Lewis needs to tell the truth about that night. Until then, nobody should listen to a word he has to say. He admitted that he took actions for the expressed purpose of helping the killer(s) get away with murder. That is NOT acceptable, morally and ethically.

  28. I mean, come on man. It’s not like ESPN is hiring Rush Limbaugh. Ray Lewis is only an accussed murderer. Y’all are acting like he’s a conservative radio talk show host with an irreverrent sense of humor.

  29. Im sorry to the fella who said LT was the greatest, LT didnt tead plays Ray did, didnt make his team better nor was a great leader. No LT was what we sawafter he retired a selfish guy who went out there to get his. Bill Parcells got the best outta him, but Ray Lewis made HC out of every Linebacker coach he was coached by.
    Greatness isnt all about yourself greatness is about making the people around you better. Thats what Ray Lewis did.

  30. He is truly a clown. NFLN so much better than ESPN. ESPN is dying a slow death. They have all league networks to compete against now. They are no longer the only show in town. This is desperation. Sunday Countdown hasn’t been relevant since NFLN went live. It’s over ESPN. Goodnight, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

  31. My fave part of this is that fans have “embraced” Lewis. Other than brain dead Ravens fans (who are still the Steelers little brothers), every single fan I know, no matter what team they root for, HATES this guy. Can’t stand him. Its just ESPN doing what they always do, go for the hype that hiring a fake, hypocritical accessory to a double murder brings. I long ago stopped thinking ESPN had any scruples. Lewis is, always has been, and always be nothing more than a puffed up punk.

  32. Another item to the long list of reasons why I no longer watch anything on ESPN, but actual ball games.

  33. No big deal, I watch everything but ESPN anyway. I like Berman, Carter, Johnson, and Jackson but Ditka adds nothing although he is old school which this league needs more of.

  34. eatitfanboy says:
    Feb 20, 2013 6:09 PM—————

    Red Zone channel ruins real football. NFL doesnt tailor to you, your a fantasy nerd and that is not football in case you are dumber than you sound.

  35. Can’t wait until they offer Mike Vick a job. That way, I can really find a reason NOT to watch that biased network. Oh, wait! He doesn’t play for the Patriots, the Mannings, or the Harbaughs!

  36. People wake up to the 4 letter. This network has jumped the shark. Two weeks ago the announced that Mexican soccer gets better coverage than US national team. Way to promote the sport.
    Now a murderer on payroll. No libel there. Ray Ray paid off victims families. He’s a butcher plain and simple. No one did time for these crimes. Boycott ESPN. How’s that for a progressive subway prostitute take.

  37. ESPN radio is un-listenable & ESPN TV is un-watchable. And it just got worse. Oh… my… God… I’m already imagining Lewis with Sal Paolantonio. Good grief !!!!

  38. As you can imagine, as a Patriots fan, I wanted nothing more than for Baltimore to lose the Super Bowl. But they won.. eh, no big deal. The main reason I wanted them to lose was because of Lewis.. and no, it wasn’t because of his history, but because of the way he preaches and thanks God and cries ALL THE TIME. There’s a major difference between being religious and being obnoxious.

    Please let EPSN fire him.. quickly!

  39. Well ESPN you just lost a long time viewer. In fact I feel that I will start a partition to ban ESPN from the cable if you let Ray Lewis talk

  40. This is what is soooooo wrong with our society. I’ll bet they hire him (saying they are ok with his past) and yet, probably ask him to tone down the “God” talk…on the air…

  41. Other than watching the few games ESPN has, I quit watching them years ago. Their act got old long ago and has only gotten worse over the years. This looks more like a desperation move by ESPN to slow the decline in their viewership.

  42. I don’t watch ESPN so I won’t have to change the channel when he starts talking about you know, obstructing the quarterback, obstructing the passing lanes and, you know, obstructing justice.

  43. How rich is this ? You hire a guy that was involved in a murder, and yet you help Kirk Herbstreit get a guy fired from a radio station in Columbus,Ohio, The Torg-Scott Torgelson, because Torg couldn’t stand listening to Herbies co-sportscaster, Desmond Howard, on College Gameday. Torg tweetd a comment about Howard that offended Herbie, and Herbie through a fit and had ESPN fire Torg. 97.1 The Fan loses a host of the #1 rated sports talk show on radio in the country……the only show that President Obama CHOSE to speak on nationwide, and ESPN fires him because of his comments and hires Ray Lewis?! Amazing!!!

  44. All you folks here are talking trash & nonsense, who gives a s$&t if u cancelled your cable or won’t watch ESPN. People hate success & a lot of you ate hating on Ray because of that, he was at the wrong place 13 years ago & there was confrontation with some criminals, get over it. The sooner you guys get over it the better it would be, cuz you guys will alway be bitter & hopeless. God bless you Ray & on behalf of Bmore fans & true NFL fans, we wish u good luck & you will be missed. 👍✌✊👊

  45. Alright. I’ll be the bad guy.

    Everyone loves it when Ray goes off on one of his colorful rants, but have they thought about what will happen when he has to sit in front of a camera and actually say something that makes sense?

    The man has come off as half crazy lately, but the world is so PC we all just sit there and nod our heads approvingly. HE’S NUTS! This has nothing to do with his off the field history and more to do with the rambling jibberish he spews everytime a microphone is in front of him.

  46. Please say it isn’t so……we have to listen to this clown full time now? Mute button, here we come.

  47. I dont mind Ray Lewis working Sunday or Monday. Chris Berman keeps me from watching most of espn’s football programing anyway.

  48. I have never seen such a group of ignorant morons the likes of which post comments on here. Ray Lewis was never convicted of killing anybody last time I checked. Any time a player on a team other than the one that somebody likes had a good career, people can help but say how horrible they are/were, and point out any character flaw they may/may not have. Ray Lewis was an elite linebacker, the kind you see only a handful of times in our lives. I think he will do equally as well as an ESPN commentator. Good luck to you Ray

  49. I have always heard that he studies film more than anyone. I can’t wait to see how he breaks down the game.
    Hopefully we’ll get some real insight from arguably the best ILB of all time.

  50. Won’t effect me at all. I’ll watch the Monday Night Game if it looks like a good match up. Other than that I like Red Zone and sometimes Total Access on NFLN.

  51. Ray Ray was the only person involved in the crimes that was convicted. Obstruction of justice means basically he knows the truth but refused to bring justice for the victims. He got out the checkbook to settle out of court. Civil Court doesn’t allow the same protections as criminal court. Just ask the juice when an intelligent court ruled that he was responsible. Ray would had to deal with the same scrutiny. Where’s the white suit covered in blood? Maybe in the same dumpster as OJ’s Bruno-Mali shoes. Truth is all who post are not ignorant morons . It’s not jealousy, it’s contempt for a man who preaches the gospel yet denies his crimes. Next question. How about the PED issue with this clown. Triceps don’t heal magically. Come clean Ray Ray and you might be forgiven. Have fun taking the escalator down when you meet your maker. Lets stop the worship for a man who covered up the truth about two men who were killed.

  52. Not sure how Ray will be as a commentator. I don’t think all that that great. I wish him the best. All the Ray haters just don’t want church on Sunday, so they bear false witness on Atlanta’s attempt to blame Ray Lewis for the failures of their city.

  53. Ray Lewis didn’t kill two people, and there’s no evidence that he did. The worst that I’ve heard is that Lewis didn’t spill what he knew, if he even knew it — he was in the proximate vicinity of where some heinous crimes occurred.

    Huge difference.

    Steeler Fan who respects Ray Lewis

  54. Look at all the saints on this board. People of such high morals and ethics that they would stop watching a TV channel because Ray Lewis was going to be hired as a personality. Pah-leez. What sports channel will you all watch for your NFL information because people with such high moral surely won’t watch that “cocaine cowboy” Michael Irvin on NFL Network. I’m sure if you do enough digging you’ll find that you can’t watch any TV channels. Morons.

  55. 6 kids by 4 women.
    Murder suspect who threw friends under the bus in plea deal.
    Narcissistic self promoter. Crying during National Anthem was my favourite.
    Preachy self obsessed hypocrite.
    God surely wanted him to win the Super Bowl and then join ESPN
    Guy played great Defense up till the last 2 years. That is it.
    Not a role model, the best ever, or even remotely articulate.
    ESPN cashing in on our love-hate polarization on this football player and scary person.

  56. Why is it that some of you have an issue w/Ray for not saying anything (Obstruction) and other saying he “threw his friends under the bus” for taking a plea. You can’t have it both ways. Just admit you’re all jealous haters and move on.

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