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'DWTS' Season 28 Contestant: Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis' Dark Past

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The 12 celebrities participating in Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars has officially been announced. From reality TV stars and singers, to professional athletes, the ABC show features a variety of stars all competing to hopefully walk away victorious with the Mirrorball trophy in hand.  

This year, pro football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis will be making his ballroom debut and he already has a few iconic dance moves. If you’re a football fan, you may be familiar with the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker’s “Squirrel” dance. 

While we can expect to see the game-day moves in a performance (or two), not everyone may be voting for the former NFL star. Nearly 20 years ago, the professional athlete was charged with double murder charges. So, did Ray get away with murder? 

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Did Ray Lewis get away with murder?

On Jan. 31, 2000, Ray was at a Super Bowl party with a group of people at Cobalt Lounge in Atlanta. When he was leaving the nightclub, a fight broke out between his group and another. During the fight, two men, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, were stabbed in the heart and bled to death. 

According to the Baltimore Sun, the football player and two men were charged with murder; however, after reportedly pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, the charges were dropped. Ray was sentenced to one year of probation and had to pay the NFL a fine of $250,000 for “conduct detrimental to the league.” The other two defendants were eventually acquitted of the charges. 

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“No day leaves this Earth without me asking God to ease the pain of anybody who was affected by that whole ordeal,” Ray told the Baltimore Sun in 2010. He went on to explain how the events in his life helped mold him into the person he is today. “You ask me if I’d trade anything, and I couldn’t,” he said. “I couldn’t because I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.” 

He added, “The end result is who I am now. And that means if I had to go through all that again to come to the point of who I am right now, why change it?”

The outlet stated that the former linebacker paid an undisclosed settlement to Lollar’s fiancee and Baker’s grandma. 

Ray has been busy since his last football game. 

In 2013, Ray hung up his jersey with the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, Ray has still had a very active career. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in the 2018 class. The 44-year-old became a New York Times bestselling author with his 2015 memoir I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory, which recounts his personal ups and downs from childhood through his 17-year football career.  

Now, he will be a contestant on Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars. While he works to learn ballroom choreography and trades in his cleats for dance shoes, Ray will also be opening a restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy alongside the Gambino family. 

“We plan to continue serving old-world authentic Italian cuisine with a fresh twist,” Ray told the Baltimore-based CBS affiliate station. Additionally, he plans to “introduce some new things along the way such as game day and private events, and new plant-based selections.” The restaurant is opening its doors to guests on Tuesday, August 27 at 3 p.m. 

Watch the premiere of Dancing With the Stars on Sept. 16 on ABC.

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