The combination of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s offer to give former running back Ray Rice a job and the awkward, clumsy, and ironic commentary from former linebacker Ray Lewis regarding the lingering controversy has caused some to wonder whether the Ravens are still paying Lewis, either as consultant or in some other capacity.
That’s not the case, according to the Ravens.
“We do not pay him and he is not an advisor to us,” the team said.
It’s not uncommon for folks paid to talk about football to have other relationships that, in theory, could undermine the credibility of their on-air remarks. Some networks allow those relationships, without making any disclosure. Others demand a disclosure. Others refuse to allow on-air analysts to consult with specific teams.
In this case, it doesn’t matter, given that Lewis has no current financial relationship with the Ravens.
Of course, that’s doesn’t change the obvious bias Lewis has for the team that recently unveiled a statue of the future Hall of Famer. Which should prompt ESPN to keep Lewis away from offering any analysis about the team’s current struggles.
Then there’s his personal history of off-field issues. Can anyone listen to Lewis talk about the team’s response to criminal activity by a player without constantly considering the fact that the Ravens blindly and loudly supported Lewis after he pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in a murder case?
“There’s some things you can cover up,” Lewis said Sunday about the Rice situation. “And then there’s some things you can’t. This is a sad day for me because the reputation I left in this organization, this isn’t it.”
It’s a sad day for ESPN any day that Ray Lewis is trotted out to talk about anything relating to the Ray Rice situation. And that has happened all too often since the elevator video was released.