Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and 13-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis has offered an new explanation for why he is innocent of the infamous double homicide that occurred after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in 2000 — he was wearing a quarter-million dollars worth of clothes.
“I was dressed out, had my jewelry on, my fine mink coat,” Lewis wrote in his recently released memoir, I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game and Glory. “I wasn’t about to start mixing it up looking like that.”
Lewis was tried in connection to the stabbing deaths of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker during a brawl involving his entourage, but pleaded the charges down to obstruction of justice in exchange for testimony against his companions Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting.
On the night of the attack, Lewis said he was wearing a suit, a long mink coat, a Piaget watch, a bold lock chain and earrings. He estimated that the watch alone was worth $100,000. These fineries are the keystone in Lewis’ argument of innocence, as, “The nicer you’re dressed, the less inclined you are to get in a fight.”
But clothing also played a central role in the investigation. Lewis’ white suit from the night was never found. The prosecution alleged it was thrown in a dumpster, the New York Post reported.
Oakley and Sweeting were eventually acquitted and Lewis went on to lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory the next year. He retired in 2013 after a second Super Bowl victory, leaving the NFL with one the greatest defensive records of all time.
While the disputed events of that night 15 years ago remain a talking point, Lewis maintains his innocence. He insists in his memoir that the settlement he reached with the victims’ families in civil court was “not an admission of guilt — it was an expression of love, of sympathy. I gave because I had it to give.”