I.P. Blog: The Value of Ray Lewis

By Jill StarbuckPellegrino & Associates

Ray Lewis was one of the most notable football players in NFL history. He was also one of the most controversial. In 2000, Lewis was charged with murder and pleaded guilty for obstructing justice. While he was never convicted of murder, the incident continued to follow him throughout the remaining years of his football career, resurfacing with a vengeance as he headed to his last Super Bowl. But how did this incident and other controversial incidents associated with Lewis affect his value as an NFL player?

It seems that football fans either hated or loved Lewis. Those who doubted his innocence were quick to judge all aspects of his life, including the fact that he has six children from four different women. And just a few days before his last career game, Lewis entered the negative spotlight once again as he was accused of using an illegal substance to speed recovery of an injury. Many also doubted his abilities because of his injury that kept him from playing much of his final season. On the other side of the spectrum, those who loved Lewis were inspired by his motivational speeches, his cheerful dance moves, his emotional antics, and his stellar plays.

While negative publicity took a toll on Ray Lewis’s personal life, it didn’t seem to affect his value as a football player. Lewis maintained a position with the Ravens for 17 years—the entire length of his career (which is considered very lengthy for the sport). He became one of the most notable and awarded players. Among his accolades are two Super Bowls wins, 13 Pro Bowls, ten-time Associated Press All-Pro, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, two-time NFL Linebacker of the Year, and more. During his career, he made millions of dollars in  salary and endorsements, including Under Armour, Procter & Gamble for Old Spice, and Visa. He was also recognized for his inspirational speeches, delivering them among various universities and his team players.

Now that Lewis is a retired NFL player, he naturally does not bring value to the Ravens specifically. However, his brand still remains strong and holds value with continued endorsements, an ESPN contract, expected speaking engagements, exercise videos, and more. While no longer a football player, he will still be in the spotlight and never forgotten. Especially since the Ravens plan to build a statue of him!

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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