FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NFL - 37
LEWIS DISCIPLINED FOR CONDUCT DETRIMENTAL TO NFL
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens has been fined $250,000 for conduct detrimental to
the NFL and will be fined another $250,000, and be subject to suspension, if he violates
the terms of his 12-month probation in Fulton County, Georgia, the NFL announced today.
Lewis pleaded guilty on June 5 to a misdemeanor count of obstruction of law enforcement
officers and interference with a law enforcement investigation in connection with the
deaths of two men in Atlanta on January 31. He was sentenced to a years probation
and required to pay certain court costs.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue noted that the murder charges against Lewis were withdrawn
in mid-trial at the prosecutors initiative and that, as a result of being wrongly
charged, Lewis has suffered significant financial and reputational injury. However, as the
Commissioner noted, some of this, and the resulting negative effects on the League and its
players, could have been avoided had Lewis not obstructed the law enforcement effort.
Following are excerpts from Commissioner Tagliabues letter to Lewis
attorneys and the NFL Players Association explaining his decision:
- "Mr. Lewis was not entirely truthful and candid with the police in his initial
interview, and he counseled others that night to say nothing about what had happened. This
misconduct no doubt fueled a public perception that he had something to hide. In doing so,
he put his own livelihood and reputation needlessly at risk, and he caused great harm to
other NFL players and to the League."
- "The unlawful obstruction related to a very serious occurrence a double
homicide. The homicides resulted from an altercation at which Mr. Lewis was clearly
present, aspects of which he observed, and which involved associates or friends whom he
had brought to and from the scene of the incident. In short, the obstruction here impaired
or impeded an investigation of serious criminal conduct in circumstances that plainly led
a wide segment of the public to view Mr. Lewis conduct very negatively. That
negative perception, in turn, negatively affected other NFL players and the League
- "When an NFL player engages in and admits to misconduct of the type to which Mr.
Lewis had pled here, the biggest losers are thousands of other NFL players, present, past,
and future. Such admitted misconduct clearly contributes to the negative stereotyping of
NFL players. While such stereotyping is extremely unfair -- whether it afflicts NFL
players or other groups in society -- it is nonetheless an obvious and detrimental
consequence of wrongful misconduct such as Mr. Lewis admittedly engaged in here."
- "Eight decades of NFL players have invested their athletic skill and their hearts,
giving of themselves on and off the field, to make the NFL a place of unique opportunity
for todays players. Most current players recognize their responsibility to enhance
this legacy. From time to time, some do not. When a current player engages in conduct
detrimental to hundreds of other NFL players and the League damaging and
diminishing the legacy of the generations before him and compromising the future for those
who follow him he must expect to be held accountable for his misconduct."