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Is Anyone Surprised by the Ray Lewis Allegations and Does Anyone Care?

After Ray Lewis tore his triceps against the Cowboys in Week 6, Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters that Lewis would be out for the season. And why wouldn’t he be? While the injury is rare, Bertrand Berry and Ty Warren went through it in recent years and both said that it would take six months to recover from.

It was therefore, um, odd when Lewis returned less than three months later for Baltimore’s first-round playoff match-up against Indianapolis. Did anyone really believe that the laws of physics did not apply to him? The only weird thing about this story was that allegations into Lewis’s use of banned substances surfaced today as opposed to weeks ago.

Actually, I take that back–the timing’s not the only weird part. That would have been true if we found out that Lewis was (allegedly…) taking HGH or anabolic steroids to recover at a historically unfathomable rate. But these weren’t just any banned substances. Per SI (via SB Nation):

Hours after he tore his triceps during an Oct. 14 home game against the Cowboys, Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis and Ross connected on the phone. Again, Ross videotaped the call.

“It’s bottom, near the elbow,” Lewis said of the tear. After asking a few pseudo diagnostic questions, Ross concluded, “All right, well this is going to be simple. . . . How many pain chips you got around the house?”

“I got plenty of them,” Lewis replied.

Ross prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will “rebuild your brain via your small intestines” (and which Lewis said he hadn’t been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.

“Spray on my elbow every two hours?” Lewis asked.

“No,” Ross said, “under your tongue.”

Toward the end of the talk, Lewis asked Ross to “just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week.”

Deer antler pills, dude.

I guess these are a thing now? How do deer antler pills “rebuild your brain via your small intestines”? Is there scientific evidence to back that up? How did somebody think to try that in the first place?

Apparently, they’ve been around for awhile. Two years ago, Yahoo!’s Eric Adelson reported that it had been a “staple of Chinese Medicine for 2,000 years,” and that Ray Lewis was a serial user:

In an interview with in his Birmingham, Ala., office in December, Ross produced more than a half-dozen text messages he said were from Lewis over the past two years acknowledging receipt of S.W.A.T.S products and providing Ross with two addresses for shipment. has confirmed that both addresses were for properties owned by Lewis and the phone was registered to Lewis. Ross estimates he has sent 25 bottles of spray to Lewis over the last two years. (Each bottle, Ross estimates, contains a two-month supply of spray.)

A text message on Ross’ phone, dated Aug. 30, was sent to a number registered to Lewis, and asked, “You get the … spray?” A message received moments later from the number said, “Yes.”

A text message from Ross to the phone registered to Lewis at 8:05 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2009 asked, “You need more spray?” A reply from Lewis’ phone, received one minute later, read, “Yes my man, always.” Another text from Lewis’ phone read, “Yes, send me all the stuff.”


What was Lewis’ response today?


This would be somewhat relevant if the NFL, you know, tested for it. On Deadspin, Barry Petchesky writes:

The NFL, in its infinite wisdom, banned IGF-1—but does not actually test for it. Even if Ray Lewis chugged a bottle of Ultimate Spray before pissing in a cup, he wouldn’t get caught. This shouldn’t be surprising. It took until the latest CBA for the NFL and the union to agree to test for HGH, perhaps the most widely used performance enhancer in pro sports. Yet the two sides are still squabbling on how to implement that program, meaning HGH will still not be tested for next season. IGF-1, too, goes untested for.

So, yeah, it’s not really all that surprising that Ray Lewis would use a banned substance that he was credibly accused of using in the past and isn’t tested for by the league. Why wouldn’t he? The only question I have is why he bought them from the same dealer who candidly went on the record to rat him out in the past. I guess there just wasn’t anywhere else he could go for deer antler pills.

Since this isn’t really surprising, I’m having trouble mustering up any outrage for it. It would be like getting mad at a snowstorm in January or becoming upset when you date Taylor Swift and she writes a song about your break-up. Getting really mad about ordinary stuff that you can’t control only makes life worse for yourself. We might as well just give him a pass on this one and prepare for next year when he’ll be spouting insincere religious platitudes from the comforts of ESPN’s studios instead of on the field.

But, yeah, deer antler pills. Glad I don’t have to take those to blog, you guys.

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