Should Baltimore Take Down the Ray Lewis Statue?

Ray Lewis statue

It was “in the best interest of my city,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday, as she explained why she ordered Confederate monuments removed under the cover of darkness, days after violence broke out during a rally against the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia. …

Small, celebratory crowds gathered as the monuments were removed overnight. Residents were seen celebrating by the pedestal of a monument to the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, two Confederate generals

Unlike the President, I have no issue with cities like Baltimore taking down Confederate statues. I love studying American history and appreciate that Lee and Stonewall Jackson were two of the most brilliant military minds of all time. So were Cornwallis, Rommel and Ho Chi Minh, and we never built statues to them.

But it begs the question: As long as Baltimore is taking down statues of people who were really good at their jobs but were actually terrible human beings, shouldn’t the Ray Lewis statue come down? Yes, he achieved big victories (Super Bowls XXXV and XLVII). So did Lee and Jackson (Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville). But as a society we’ve advanced enough to understand that honoring men who did evil things is not acceptable.

But then again, I come from Boston, where our statues are of guys like Ted Williams, Red Auerbach, Bobby Orr and Col. Robert Gould Shaw. When you build monuments to a ballplayer who served in two wars, a social justice trailblazer, a migrant worker and the commander of the all-black 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (from the movie Glory), it’s hard to make sense of what they do in the old Confederacy.

But it’s their property. They can do whatever the hell they want. And I agree with them. I just know that I also wouldn’t feel comfortable if my town put up a statue to a guy who plead guilty to obstruction of justice in a double homicide case while claiming he’s innocent and a man of God. Evil comes in many forms. And I’m all about honoring none of them.