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As the crowd roars like an angry ocean, 245 pounds of flesh hurls itself over the finish line, scoring the winning touchdown of the game. Suddenly, the crowd is overflowing from the stands and into the field, as reporters and photographers rush toward the star of the game. ?Ray Lewis, where are you going now that you?ve won the Superbowl??, exclaims one reporter. Although the millions of viewers watching the game know of the hackneyed answer, they await his reply, ?I?m going to Disneyland!? All players who are prompted that renowned question at the end of a big sports game are always compensated for the publicity. However, most of corporate America has justifiably scorned Lewis for his scandalous association in a murder. This in turn has created debate over whether Ray Lewis, the MVP of the National Football Association, should be remunerated for his achievements in football, or spurned for his guilt by association.

Lewis was charged last year with lying under oath about his connection in a homicide. Last year at a Superbowl after-party in Atlanta, Lewis and two other friends were suspected of murdering two individuals. Eyewitnesses and evidence suggest that the three had connections to the murders, however only Lewis was charged with a misdemeanor (and later exonerated). This is due to the fact that Lewis denied all allegations once questioned by police, but later changed his story when he realized his troublesome situation. Although Lewis? situation was only a mere guilt by association, his perversion of the truth has left him with a notorious public image.

Similarly, many other prominent figures in American culture have been in trouble with the law, which has also affected their status as icons in society. Take for example Sean ?Bad-Boy Puffy? Combs, a popular rapper in the music industry. Combs was charged with possession of a firearm and linked to a crime of assault with a deadly weapon. Although thrown in jail and placed on trial, Combs? ?bad-boy? image is accepted and creates popularity among the American public. This example questions whether corporate America scorns an individual for his/her personal actions, or if it allows forgiveness with excellence in one?s professional performance.

Some argue that Ray Lewis cannot be held responsible for the actions of others and his mere presence was not a crime. If this is the case, should Americans apply this mindset to all individuals? If one were to apply for a schoolteacher position, but had a criminal past of child abuse, he/she would not be hired, despite the fact that the individual may have excellent credentials or teaching skills. This is a perfect example of why Lewis? superiority in football cannot be viewed separately from his overall character. Corporate America is correct for disdaining Lewis as a menace to society, and not being deceived into honoring him for his prestigious title of MVP. If Lewis were to receive royalties or rewards for his excellence in football, corporate America would be sending a very dangerous message to the American public. It would be implying that as long as an individual can overcome his/her shortcomings in a positive way, the public would esteem those achievements and overlook the character?s personal flaws. In this case, Lewis? flaw is beyond the extent of an accident or bad taste, therefore he should live with the consequences.

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Ray Lewis, MVP of Superbowl 35, is not being treated like many past MVPs. This is because he was involved in a scandal last year. Should corporate American shun him for his personal actions?


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