Ray Lewis was known for his fiery speeches to his teammates during his 17-season career with the Baltimore Ravens.
Now retired and an NFL analyst for ESPN, Lewis gave what might have been his most impassioned plea yet Tuesday morning, this time to the rioters in Baltimore: "Stop the violence, man! Go home!"
I've got a message for the rioters in Baltimore. #BaltimoreRiotsPosted by Ray Lewis on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
In a two-minute video posted to his Facebook page, Lewis tries to explain that rioting is not the way to obtain justice for Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal injury in police custody.
"Violence is not the answer! Violence is never the answer!" Lewis says in the video. "Freddie Gray — we don't do nothing for him doing this!"
Often raising his voice and gesturing wildly, Lewis says that he's angry too, but that the violent protests are only making matters worse.
"We know the problems! We know there was wrong done! We know we're not getting the right justice!" Lewis yells. "But rioting in our streets is wrong! It's dead wrong!"
The video got more than 6 million views in the first three hours after it was posted.
Lewis' former Ravens teammate Brendon Ayanbadejo also posted a video on Facebook with a similar message. "We can get together and we can molbilize, but we can't continue to burn the city down," he says, in a much calmer but equally passionate voice as Lewis'. "We can't continue to loot and do things the wrong way. We've got to do it the right way."
Other athletes, including former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith and Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony, posted their own pleas to the rioters on Instagram as well.
To all of my brothers and sisters protesting in Baltimore. I applaud you for your effort in raising awareness on the issue of police brutality but VIOLENCE IS NOT THE ANSWER. DESTROYING YOUR OWN CITY IS NOT THE ANSWER. Violent protests have never produced the results that we have wanted. Even the great Martin Luther King adjusted his strategy. Keep the power in numbers and organized fashion. I don't know all of the facts or have the answers but I do know that a family is mourning the death of their child/brother/cousin that could have been prevented. I pray for the family of Freddie Gray during this difficult time and that they get all of the answers they need. To the people who view the rioters as "animals" you don't understand why people are so angry. It has been years and years of the same type of incidents. Right or Wrong....People are fed up and acting out in a way they seem fit. It is all driven by emotion and probably a few people who just wanted to start trouble. Don't let that take away from the thousands of people who went to protest in a peaceful way. #RIPFreddieGray
We all want Justice. And our city will get the answers we are looking for. My deepest sympathy goes out to the GRAY Family. To see my city in a State of Emergency is just shocking. We need to protect our city, not destroy it. What happens when we get the answers that we want, and the media attention is not there anymore? We go back to being the same ol Baltimore City again. If not yourself, then Think about the youth. How this will impact them. Let's build our city up not tear it down. Although, we want justice, let's look at the real issues at hand. For example, When was the last school built in Baltimore? That's just one example. I know my community is fed up. I'm all about fighting for what we believe in. The anger, the resentment, the neglect that our community feels right now, will not change over night. Continue, fighting for what you believe in. But remember, it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up. Peace7. #Thisonehitshome #BeMore #LetsNotFallForTheTrap "Please Understand What State Of Emergency Mean"(Destroy and Conquer) #StayMe7o
The Baltimore Orioles have postponed a home game for the second night in a row, and the Ravens announced Tuesday morning that their planned draft-watching party for Thursday night has been cancelled.
11:55 a.m.:This post has been updated with a video and comments from Brendon Ayanbadejo.
This post was originally published at 9:25 a.m.Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times