- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Brian Billick is the self-serving, self-indulgent, self-absorbed coach of the Ravens.

He is in Tampa, Fla., this week with his football team, looking to claim a piece of history in Super Bowl XXXV, and don't you forget it, you parasites in the media.

He does not think it is fair to be dredging up Ray Lewis' involvement in a double murder outside an Atlanta nightclub last year. He does not think it is fair to the families of the victims, to the NFL and to Lewis, the team's star linebacker.

As the self-appointed ombudsman of the national press, Billick is revealing the limits of his modest intellect.

It is not fair that two men were stabbed to death last year, and that Lewis tried to lie his way out of it, and that a year later, no one ever has been convicted of the crime.

It is not fair that Billick, in his myopia, has a national forum to express his myopia.

To Billick, this week is about football. This week is not about the two dead men in Atlanta. The two dead men are merely distractions, and win or lose Sunday, they still will be dead, and on a happier note, Billick probably will be around to see the sun rise the day after the game.

If the truth be known, Billick probably would feel differently if someone ventilated his body with a knife and left him dead on a street. He probably wouldn't mind it much if the doubts, suspicions and outrage persisted a year later.

Breathing is more important than a football game, even a football game as important as this one, and if Billick could think beyond the moment, he might understand the media's obsession with Lewis. He even might be as repulsed as others by the sight of Lewis roaming the football field.

Lewis has played the victim since he cut a deal with prosecutors last summer and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. No one, it seems, understands what it is like to come from a tough background and then one day be living in the public eye. It is hard, so hard, and boohoo, life is not fair.

Lewis should try peddling that woe-is-me nonsense to the oppressed masses across the globe, starting in Cuba, Iraq and North Korea, to name a few garden spots.

This is how hard it has been for Lewis: He has fathered at least two children out of wedlock. He was accused of assault by the mother of the two children. He tried to be a "peacemaker" in the incident involving the two dead men, and afterward, he sped from the scene in a limousine. Then he lied about the circumstances. And he urged others to lie as well.

Yet he is wealthy and famous because of a game, and he is a role model, and his coach feels his pain.

Grab a hanky, America, and have a good cry with Lewis.

Billick is crying, too, while he condemns the messenger. He thinks it is "reprehensible," the Lewis-inspired reports in the media, which reveals the depth of his misguided passion.

The reports are "reprehensible," and the two dead men are just dead, victims of an unfortunate development. Who knows? Maybe the two men stabbed each other to death while Lewis, as he tried to intervene, read Scripture to them.

Billick should have stuck to the rhetorical script this week. He should be discussing the importance of taking it one game at a time. He is not a social commentator. He is a football coach, just a football coach.

His foray outside his area of expertise was not just shallow. It was insulting, nauseating.

Lewis could run from the scene of the crime, but he could not hide.

That is the message this week, and not an unimportant one, either, considering the high number of fools in professional sports.

Other than Lewis and his buddies, who knows what really happened that night?

You do know this: Two men were murdered, Lewis is a liar and a coward, and Billick either lacks the intellect to comprehend the obvious or checks his value system at the stadium door.

So go back to the game plan, coach. Take it one X and O at a time. There is a big game Sunday.

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