Ray Lewis Took A Knee But His Black Card Is Still Frozen

    The rush of protests and symbols of unity displayed in the last 48 hours by the sports world is a colossal, significant and revealing moment in American history. Its also a very touchy and emotional time for many Americans. 

    There isnt one side to the story. But inevitably, people with good intentions or conflicting allegiances get caught in the middle of a complicated situation when the public starts to demand that those people draw a line in the sand on these race issues. 

    Dave Zirin on Twitter

    Ray Lewis owes more than two knees. He owes amends for 1) vouching for Trump 2) trashing @Kaepernick7 3) attacking all protesting players

    The Black community demands that their leaders represent their interests and frustrations when situations of this magnitude arrive which threaten to return our country to a time when racism, economic oppression and political disenfranchisement was the norm for African-Americans. It is a moment of truth for many, one which calls for a galvanization. 

    Theres no time for rogue opinions or undermining actions.  It definitely hit some fans in the gut when ex-Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis joined Omarosa and Jim Brown in a meeting at Trump Towers with the President. 

    Lewis is one of those Blacks-in-limbo, as protests, social media pressures and opinions, a contempt for the POTUS and the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick all collide and create this confusion that we are experiencing now. 

    Lewis was condemned by Black America for remaining loyal to his friend, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and his criticism of Kaepernicks approach as it relates to football. TSL writer Ricardo Hazell was critical of Lewis for advising Kaepernick to fall back on his social activism and for Lewis’ defense of NFL owners for not speaking out against the injustices perpetrated upon black men. 

    Undisputed On FS1

    Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe passionately debate the Baltimore Ravens considering to sign Colin Kaepernick.

    Ray Lewis the football player has become Ray Lewis the conservative lackey and his tomfoolery only seems to be getting exponentially more powerful with time,” Hazell wrote

    Lewis was banned to the coon room by many Black folks. Did he deserve it? Well, he called Kaepernick’s protest nonsense and valued football over much larger issues. That rubs people the wrong way. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Ray Lewis’ continues to make…interesting(?) comments on Colin Kaepernick. https://t.co/W3FHMGySNp

    So forgive those same people for blasting Ray Lewis on Twitter as a flip-flopper because he came to his senses and decided to kneel with the Baltimore Ravens during the national anthem before they got walloped by the Jacksonville Jaguars 44-0 on Sunday morning in London. 

    People dont like brothers that appear to have one foot in and one foot out the revolution when its about to go down. Lewis got clowned for his actions, but  the switch-up is even funnier to folks and that’s kind of unfair.  

    You dont want to be left on the island when the boat leaves and all of your people are on it. Lewis did the only thing he could do considering the amount of players, coaches and personnel on NFL team’s stepping up in protest on Sunday. 

    Leed on Twitter

    Kaep when he saw Ray Lewis taking a knee lol https://t.co/oOatoqQi7n

    As the months pass and the narrative and movement transforms, its clear that there isnt one target in this recent and all-encompassing groundswell of public opinion sparked by Colin Kaepernicks original protest of not standing for the national anthem. 

    Everybody s Danae on Twitter

    Ray Lewis on his knee crying and thanking God he beat that murder charge

    What began as one mans focused and dedicated protest and courageous act to sacrifice his career and bring attention to social injustice, oppression and police brutality has morphed into a free-for-all where everyone has an opinion. And those opinions and ideals are usually based on nothing but feeding divisiveness and adversarial postures in our country. 

    Jemele Hill on Twitter

    Ray Lewis took a knee with the Ravens. Did somebody hit him with a camera flash?

    Some have made this a black and white issue; either you are with them or against them. You are either for Kaepernick or against him. You are either for the flag and respect the military or you are not patriotic and you hate your country. 

    Some people hate Donald Trump and others feel compelled to justify his antics because they voted for him. There are a few straight up racists who simply like to see people divided by race. And as for the media, well we tend to fuel the tensions and the disjointed communication and lack of compromise by choosing sides to an extent as well. 

    As far as Ray Lewis’ epiphany goes, we could just chalk it up to a brother coming to his senses. 

    After all, Lewis understands rising up from poverty to become an American legend. He was considered the ultimate leader and locker room guy throughout his NFL career. He could supposedly inspire men to play beyond their talents. He epitomized the struggle and was connected to the streets, the common man. 

    Unfortunately, before taking a knee, when all eyes on were on him, Lewis decided to cement himself in the eyes of most black Americans as nothing more than the ultimate company guy. 

    The damage has already been done and more than ever, people view Lewis words with less legitimacy and his reputation is suffering for it as well, even as he locks arms and knees in solidarity with his brothers. 

    It’s hard to forget how he had the nerve to tell Colin Kaepernick to just worry about playing football at a time when African-American leaders needed to respond to the demands of the people and not the corporate dollar. 

    With that in mind, better late than never Ray. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.