Ray Lewis working to shift spotlight from athletes in trouble

Athletes have been making news recently, and it hasn’t been entirely positive. From domestic violence to drunk driving to confrontations with media and fans, sports figures have been highlighted in the news.

Those stories have pushed aside those of athletes who are working to improve their hometowns and their communities. Ray Lewis said he has come to accept that athletes behaving badly will always grab more headlines than those working to make a difference.

“That’s just the way it is,” the Ravens inside linebacker said Monday evening during an appearance at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore where he announced a partnership between the United Athletes Foundation and accounting firm Baker Tilly. “People have made it their jobs now to report all the bad stuff. Is it fair or not? I don’t think it is because the people you’re actually covering are human beings who have emotions and have kids and stuff like that. So there’s a human side to everything that we’re trying to do. That’s why these benefits are so beneficial because when people meet you and realize that the football pads are off, you’re just a regular person that is trying to figure out ways to make the community better. That’s the way that I think we have to use social media to spin that ourselves and really put a light on the things that are opposite from the bad that’s being reported.”

Monday night’s event kicked off a cooperative effort between UAF and Baker Tilly to assist in providing affordable housing and community development in this country. Lewis’ presence signaled an opportunity to help the city of Baltimore, but Lewis pointed out that he is one of approximately 100 pro athletes associated with UAF.

“I think a lot more people do the things that I do. They’re just not mentioned as much as the other side of things,” he said. “I think that other side – trouble – draws more attention and that gets the ‘Breaking News’ label. Things like this just don’t because people do it from their hearts. I’m not going to announce this real loud. If people want to express it, they express it. But to be able to give back to the community the way that I want to give back to the community, you really don’t care about that other side of it. You try to educate people and say, ‘Come do this.’ At the same time, you realize that there are so many people with real problems, and that’s why you keep giving back to organizations like this one time and time again. You realize how huge the problem really is.”

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