Today we published a story examining the aftermath of a double-murder case that Ravens star Ray Lewis was charged in back in 2000. His murder charges were ultimately dropped, and he pleaded to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge, while two co-defendants were acquitted of murder. But the issue still resonates for Lewis and the families of the two men killed in a brawl outside an Atlanta club. Read the story here.
We spoke today with another aunt of Richard Lollar, one of the men killed in the brawl, as well as former Ravens kicker Matt Stover. Here's what they had to say:
Like Richard Lollar's mother, aunt Cindy Lollar-Owens spoke highly of Richard's skills as a barber. One time, she said, he cut into a man's hair a house, a window, and a person inside the window.
"You have people who want to cut hair, but they're not an artist," like Richard was, Lollar-Owens said.
Since the case in 2000, Lollar-Owens has been one of the most outspoken family members. She says she helped raise Richard and knew him very well. She still resents Lewis.
"He's playing and everyone is getting on with their lives, and we're living with a void in our lives because we don't have our nephew," Lollar-Owens said.
Lewis announced recently that he will retire after the playoffs. The linebacker said he wanted to spend more time with his children, especially Ray Lewis III, who will reportedly start playing football for the University of Miami this year.
"He has the chance to see his son, go to his games," Lollar-Owens said. "We don't have that chance."
For Stover, who played with Lewis for several years, there was no question that Lewis was innocent.
"The world is going to always persecute, but the people around you, what they believe," is what’s important, Stover said. "We trust and we believe him."
As Lewis himself and other Ravens have said, Stover believes that the experience changed the player for the better.
"I do think there are certain points in our lives that force us to change," Stover said. “I think this was definitely a pivotal point in Ray Lewis' life. He went from a boy to a man."
Instead of hanging around with people who would drag him down, Lewis began choosing his friends more carefully, Stover said.
When Lewis gave the team the news that he had been charged, Stover said the other players unanimously supported him.
"It was, 'Man, I'm so glad to see you, we love you man,'" Stover recalled. '"Let’s move on as a team.'"
Stover also wanted the world to know that Lewis is primarily motivated by his Christian faith, and that he would carry that with him after retiring from the sport.
"Ray wants to use that for His glory," Stover said of Lewis' talents on the field. "Not for his own."
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