Do You Care If Ray Lewis Used A Deer-Antler Spray That Had A Banned Substance In It Earlier This NFL Season?
I have a confession to make: I don’t care if Ray Lewis used a deer-antler spray that contained a banned substance in order to heal his torn triceps muscle during the second half of the 2012-13 NFL season so that he could come back and play for the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. And, I have a feeling that I’m not alone. After all, if more people cared about Lewis using a banned substance, wouldn’t more people be calling for him to be suspended for the Super Bowl?
I don’t know this for a fact. But, in football, I’m guessing that there are all kinds of “banned substances” that players use on a regular basis in order to heal their bodies more quickly and to repair the major bumps and bruises that come along with being a pro football player. Week in and week out, we’ve been reminded about just how brutal the NFL can be this season. During the course of a game, NFL players sustain all sorts of crazy injuries and continue to play on. And, we probably don’t know the half of what we should know about how these players continue to get up and take the field week after week.
I’m not excusing Lewis for what he did. If he knowingly used a banned substance and got caught, he should pay some kind of penalty (which may be difficult if he really retires after the Super Bowl on Sunday). The rules are the rules. But, I’m not naive enough to think that Lewis—or any other football player, for that matter—is above using banned substances to keep their careers intact. The pain that comes along with playing football is too great and the stakes surrounding the sport are too high for guys not to do whatever it takes to suit up on Sundays. Is it sad? Yes. Is it good for their bodies? No. Is it eventually going to ruin the sport? Possibly. But, I have to admit that if it turns out that Ray Lewis did use a deer-antler spray that contained a banned substance to help heal his torn triceps, I don’t care. What were his other options? Hang up his cleats and retire from the game of football?
When you put it that way, how could he not risk his reputation to try and secure one last Super Bowl run? For years now, NFL players have been told to do whatever it takes to keep playing. Lewis was just following protocol. And, now we want to blame him for doing it? It’s a crappy culture, but it’s the culture the NFL has built. Now, they have to deal with it.