Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

An Apology to Ray Lewis, Who Says He Was Praying, Not Protesting

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Dearest Ray,

I hope this letter finds you well. I know that you are a busy man, so I pray that I haven’t interrupted you midshuck or disturbed your daily regimen of rigorous jiving with this letter.

On Sunday, seconds after someone sent me a photo of you bent prostrate during the playing of the national anthem before the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, I penned an article painting you as a hypocrite and a con man.


On Wednesday I watched another clip of you defending your actions. Instead of summarizing what you said, I’ll include a partial transcript:

James Brown: You seemingly from the optics got caught up in this too, because, in fact, you did take a knee when you are allegedly on record as saying you never would. Talk about—

Ray Lewis: (Interrupting.) Actually two knees. Let’s make sure. You hear people saying he took a knee. I absolutely did not take a knee. I walked onto the battle ...

Brown: Hold on, let’s be clear. You say, “You hear people say ... ”

Lewis: People. You hear people, you hear Shannon Sharpe going out there saying I dropped on a knee, and this is about I sat in a chair next to him and oh, I said I would never do this.

And I still didn’t do it ...

So I walked away, J.B., and I didn’t drop on one knee in order to protest. I dropped on two knees, both knees, so I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos ...

This makes me ask you a serious question: I have First Amendment rights. Myself. We got people standing. We got people bowing. We got people don’t even want to respect the flag. If you wanna make it right, make it two ways:

You can only stand or pray.

Brown: And you chose to—

Lewis: Pray!

Brown: So to be clear about this, you didn’t drop on one knee, as you said you wouldn’t do because you disagreed with that form of protest, but you dropped on two knees—

Lewis: I never will agree with that.

Then, in the video, I saw you began crying and talking about yourself, which I admittedly fast-forwarded through as a tiny (not much at all) bit of my own vomit entered my mouth.


I want to sincerely apologize to you and all of the readers of The Root. I painted you as a con artist who spewed preacher/pimp, empty double talk to make himself look good. I dismissed you as just another practitioner of respectability politics.

I was wrong.

I had no idea that you were such a first-ballot Hall of Fame liar. The level of duplicity that you displayed in those 6 minutes and 11 seconds should be enshrined in the Smithsonian Museum of Lying Motherfuckers. I only regret that I am not talented enough to make a pen-and-ink drawing of your bullshittery to place in the Oxford English Dictionary under the term “gobbledygook.”


I honor you, Ray Lewis.

It is unbelievably rare to hear someone defend his First Amendment right to free speech while simultaneously shitting all over others’ right to protest that is protected by the same constitutional amendment.


The world has never seen someone invoke the name of God in such an obvious display of fuckery. The way you castigated the men who chose to demonstrate their objection to injustice while stamping yours as the only wypipo-tested, Caucasian-Jesus-approved way to protest required a self-righteous audacity rarely seen outside of Trump rallies and Ku Klux Klan meetings.

You win.

I have always wondered how you moonwalked your way out of a jail sentence after you and your friends allegedly piled in your limousine and left 24-year old Richard Lollar and 21-year-old Jacinth Baker bleeding to death in an Atlanta parking lot. I couldn’t figure out how no one involved spent a day in prison even though you allegedly made your clothes and all the evidence miraculously disappear.


I wondered how you bamboozled people into calling you “God’s linebacker.” I couldn’t fathom how anyone could believe your holy-preacher routine. I tried to understand why people didn’t sneak into the Baltimore night and shit on the shoes of the statue they built of you in front of the football stadium in Baltimore.


Now I know.

I have now seen the world’s most deceitful smooth talker with my own eyes. The way you threw Colin Kaepernick and every NFL protester under the bus of “disrespect” and “un-American” without straining a muscle or batting an eye was an impressive feat of audacity and unabashed evil. You managed to make them look like villains while painting yourself as a saintlike combination of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. In less than seven minutes, you were both Jesus and Judas. You are the best.


You win, and I am sorry.

I really am.

Disrespectfully yours,

Michael Harriot