ESPN’s Hypocrisy With Ray Lewis and Greg Hardy Tough To Ignore

ESPN’s NFL analyst Ray Lewis was charged with double murder and stood trial for two weeks before he turned state’s evidence, plead guilty to obstruction of justice, and testified against two other men in a blockbuster Atlanta trial. The blood of the two victims was found inside Ray Lewis’s limo and Lewis’s clothes from that night were never found. They just disappeared, along with all their DNA evidence. Recently Ray Lewis opined in his book that he wasn’t dressed to murder anyone that night and that the victims were too short for him to kill. 

Really, he wrote this. 

After almost fifteen years to come up with better excuses, Ray Ray’s still coming up empty. 

No one was ever convicted of the double murder, but soon after the trial ended Ray Lewis settled the wrongful death lawsuits filed against him for millions of dollars.

All of this is incontrovertibly true.

Disney, a large media corporation dedicated to the proposition that there is no dollar they can’t take from a parent, was so appalled by Ray Lewis’s behavior that they wouldn’t let him utter the “I’m going to Disney World,’ line that the Super Bowl MVP typically utters.

Which makes it all the more surprising that when he retired the same corporation decided to pay him millions of dollars to talk about football on ESPN.

Lewis is one of the hundreds of ESPN’s journalists and opinion makers. This week those opinion makers have been virtually united in their condemnation of Greg Hardy, a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, with an ugly domestic violence incident in his past. Many of ESPN’s employees have voiced the opinion that Hardy shouldn’t play for the Cowboys because of his past behavior, combined with his rap video, and sideline blow up this past weekend.

Yet Hardy is employed for the same reason most people are employed in sports, because his talent exceeds his problems. That is, Hardy’s particular talent, an ability to rush the quarterback and inflict pain upon him once he arrives there, is in short supply. Unlike, say, Ray Rice, a running back on the tail end of his career whose domestic violence incident was caught on video tape, rendering him permanently unemployable, Hardy’s misdeeds weren’t on tape and his talent was rarer.

So Hardy’s playing.

Many ESPN talking heads have been apoplectic about this fact, climbing up on their moral high horses and fulminating with outrage over Greg Hardy and the Cowboys employing him. But here’s something interesting — have you ever heard anyone at ESPN question why Ray Lewis, a man charged with double murder who paid off the family of the murder victims and plead guilty to obstruction of justice, is employed by their company? I haven’t. Not one single word from one single employee.

Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you have a problem with the Dallas Cowboys employing a domestic abuser, you’d have an issue with your company employing a charged double murderer who plead guilty to a crime and paid off the victims families to avoid having to stand trial? That’s exactly what an innocent man does, right? He hides the clothes he was wearing that night, tells his compatriots in the limo not to talk to the police, and then pleads guilty to a crime and testifies against his co-defendants in exchange for charges being dropped against him. I mean, who among us hasn’t found himself paying off a murder victim’s family? That’s something innocent people do all the time.

Yet, the Ray Lewis criticism from the worldwide leader in sports is nonexistent. ESPN is doing the exact same thing the Dallas Cowboys did, only worse. See, at least Greg Hardy is really good at football; Ray Lewis isn’t even very good on television. There are hundreds of non-double murderers who could do his job just as well. Unlike Greg Hardy, Lewis’s problems far exceed his talents. And he’s been involved in a far worse incident than Hardy. (I know domestic violence is the new “worst thing in the world” in social media and Greg Hardy is the new “worst person in the NFL”, but the reality is there are many crimes worse than domestic violence. Double murder, for instance.) Yet, all of these voices of moral outrage are silent about Ray Lewis and dripping with sanctimony about Greg Hardy.

That’s awfully convenient isn’t it?

It’s almost as if, and I want you to stick with me here, if ESPN employees someone they’re treated entirely differently than the people ESPN doesn’t employ. Greg Hardy doesn’t need to serve a suspension to get back in the worldwide leader’s good graces, he just needs to get hired to talk about Monday Night Football by ESPN.

Voila, his past is erased forever. 

But maybe I’m being unfair. It’s probably just a big coincidence that everyone at ESPN is furious at Greg Hardy and totally silent about Ray Lewis. I guess Ray Ray is lucky he works for ESPN and his alleged murder victims were men. Because if he’d attacked a woman and didn’t work for ESPN, boy, that would be a crime worth talking about.

And solving. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.