(CBS) – Ray Lewis will never be able to separate himself from what happened on Jan. 31, 2000.
It was on that night when Lewis was implicated with the murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar after a fight between the linebacker’s group and the two men broke out near an Atlanta night club.
While the details of the case are still a mystery, Lewis was initially charged with double homicide after the victims’ blood was found in his limousine and the white suit which he was wearing that night was never found. Lewis’ attorneys negotiated a plea deal in which the murder chargers were dropped in exchange for the future Hall of Famer’s testimony against two of his friends who were involved in the fight.
Over Super Bowl weekend, CBS analyst Shannon Sharpe asked Lewis if he had a message for the families of the slain men.
“It’s simple,” Lewis said. “God has never made a mistake. That’s just who he is, you see. And if our system – it’s the sad thing about our system – if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom line truth. But the saddest thing ever was that a man looked me in my face and told me, ‘We know you didn’t do this, but you’re going down for it anyway.’ To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don’t use people who commits anything like that for his glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”
After the murder trial concluded, Lewis reportedly reached seven-figure settlements with each of the victim’s families.
When asked why an innocent man would provide such lucrative settlements, Lewis responded:
“The one thing I said that, because my name was used the wrong way, money is the last thing I’m worried about, but if money will help those kids out – and not just those kids but any kid I can help, any family I can support, I’ll support,” Lewis said. “So don’t just take that family and say I gave money to that family, because I’ve given money to thousands of families time and time again, just to find a different way to help somebody through a rough time.”