NFL Fines Ray Lewis $250,000

ByABC News
August 18, 2000, 9:05 AM

N E W  Y O R K, Aug. 18 -- As far as the NFL is concerned, the case thatbegan with Ray Lewis arrest last January on murder charges inAtlanta is finally over. Lewis might have other ideas.

The latest step came Thursday when commissioner Paul Tagliabuelevied a $250,000 fine against Baltimores All-Pro middlelinebacker, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge ofobstructing justice after originally being charged with murder.

It is believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFLplayer for an infraction not involving substance abuse.

But while the league hoped the fine with no suspension mightclose the story, Lewis had another opinion.

I am disappointed and I will appeal, he said in a statementissued by the team.

Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said, We have supported Ray sincethe beginning of this situation and will continue to support him.

Reputation at Risk

Tagliabue noted that Lewis reputation suffered and that he hadspent a lot of money on legal fees.

But he added: The unlawful obstruction related to a veryserious occurrence a double homicide.

Tagliabue also ruled that Lewis will be fined another $250,000and be subject to suspension if he violates any of the terms of his12-month probation.

Lewis was originally accused with two others of murder in thestabbing deaths of two men following a post-Super Bowl party lastJanuary. He interrupted the trial to plead guilty to themisdemeanor and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

The two co-defendants were subsequently acquitted.

Tagliabue said in his ruling that he believed everyone was hurtby the perception the episode created.

He said that by not telling police the full story, Lewisfueled a public perception that he had something to hide.

In doing so, Tagliabue added, he put his own livelihoodand reputation needlessly at risk and he caused great harm to otherNFL players and to the league.