That is the precise phrase used in a USA Today article about the controversy that exploded over whether Ray Lewis used velvet deer antler spray to enhance the healing process so he could play for the Ravens during the playoffs.
(Funny how that is a bigger deal to the mass media than the fact that he was allegedly involved with the murder of two men nine years ago.)
The USA Today introduces us to a fellow named Ross, the co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids:
Ross, 45, was asked directly Friday if Lewis, who made a remarkable recovery to return Jan. 6, asked Ross for deer antler spray, which contains the league’s banned substance IGF-1.
“No,” Ross said.
He was asked if he had proof that Lewis put the spray his mouth.
“I’ve never seen him put it in his mouth,” Ross said.
Ross said he instead sent Lewis an arm-band system to help strengthen his arm, “right after the cast came off.”
Ross added, “It’s unfortunate that I’m getting death threats from Ravens fans. I got duped by Sports Illustrated.
“They catfished me. They dated me for two years and then made me look like a goofball. I’m trying to make right the wrong, let Ray play his football game and go into retirement.
“Ninety-five percent of the athletes, once they get what they need from me, they throw me under the bus. ‘I don’t know that guy. I didn’t do this. I didn’t do that.’ ”
Does Ross feel Lewis did that?
“I’m not going to talk about that.”
Lewis has denied using the spray, saying during Tuesday’s Media Day, “I’m going to say it again: That was a two-year-old story that you want me to refresh. I wouldn’t give him the credit to mention his name or his antics in my speeches or my moment.”
Dir Ray Lewis do it?
Does the sun rise usually in the east?
Do little rubber duckies generally quack when you squeeze them?
Is the Pope allegedly Catholic?
Don’t answer that.
Every person has his own impression as to how believable Ray Lewis is and what his character might say about whether he would rather “climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth,” as my Dad used to say.
Bottom line is this: professional athletes have a well-conditioned, carefully sculpted tool whereby they earn fortunes and fame. It is their human body. They are pressed to achieve at the highest level, play hurt, fight through the pain, use and abuse those bodies for our viewing pleasure.
Consequently, their bodies break down. So, they seek all sorts of means to get them mended and ready to perform again. Why? Because an injured, shelved athlete is soon forgotten. Or, he is soon replaced with some guy you never heard of but is the next Tom Brady or Colin Kaepernick. (Remember why those guys got their shot in the first place? No? Ask Drew Bledsoe or Alex Smith.)
These guys are paid millions and I am not playing a violin for them. Still, we throw them in a dog-eat-dog arena, dress them in milk bone shorts and complain when they find a way to get bigger and stronger and faster and better able not to be bitten.
Hypocrites. All of us. The media. The owners and managers and coaches. The fans. We brand them cheaters. We withhold honors because they “doped.”
But we created an environment where it is dang near impossible to compete without some sort of boost. Do we really think there are that many men out there that can out-wrestle a bear and outrun a horse?
Don’t for a minute think that borrowing healing power from animals is anything new.
Tony Casillas, the former Sooner and Cowboys great, revealed during an interview that the Cowboys teams he played on used the ssore muscle stuff veterinarians put on horses:
“When I heard about deer antler spray, I said that’s nothing,” Casillas said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We used to use this stuff called DMSO. That’s what veterinarians put on horses’ muscles and we used it in the locker room. We had a bottle and you’d take it. It goes right to the blood stream. I’m not sure about this deer antler stuff, but it was prevalent in our locker room.
“It’s called DMSO. You get it from the veterinarian. It’s an ointment that’s like anti-inflammatory. You put it on your skin and you put it on a muscle, and I guarantee you, in about 30 minutes you’d feel great. If you’re going to talk about the deer antler stuff, we used DMSO and people knew it. Everyone knew about it.”
Did Ray Lewis use deer antler ointment to enhance the healing process? I think most of us think he did.
But do we care? Should we?
Is it not different in this context than in the Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong context of gaining a competitive edge? This is healing what was broken in service to you.
And even the Bonds and Armstrongs of the world…they didn’t do that stuff in a vacuum. What they were doing, plenty of others, if not most, were doing.
But we are indignant. Offended. Aghast.
Not like they committed murder or anything.