Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco spoke out publicly to respond to the comments former teammate Ray Lewis made about the recent party-bus incident that saw wide receiver Jacoby Jones hit in the head with a bottle by a stripper.
Said Flacco on Wednesday, via Jeff Zrebiec and The Baltimore Sun:
It is what it is. Ray knows better than that. Things happen. I think we’re usually a pretty good team with stuff like that. If you look around the league, there are probably a lot of leadership problems then. Like I said, Ray knows better.
Flacco's comments come in response to Lewis criticizing the team's leadership in light of this ugly incident that's received national attention. Speaking during the pregame show for Week 3's Monday Night Football, Lewis questioned if the team lacked the proper locker-room presence:
When you think about the Baltimore Ravens and the transition that they went through, they're missing leadership right now. When you have an incident like that, the first thing a leader is going to do is find some way to dissolve everything that's going on and actually dissolve it before it comes to that type of head or even gets to that point. When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens they're going to have to refocus and find some quick leaders in that locker room very quickly.
While Lewis claims that the incident proves the team may be in need for a true leader to step up—a notion that can’t sit well with Super Bowl MVP Flacco—a few of the quarterback’s teammates have come out in support of their on-field leader.
We have great leadership, so to say because of one incident, that it’s a leadership issue, to me, is a joke because everyone is not going to always be around and incidents happen. Stuff happens in the locker room, stuff happens in the spur of the moment. Now, if it happens every week, all the time, then that’s a problem. For one incident to happen and say it’s a leadership issue when most of the team wasn’t there, it’s an overreaction.
Lewis deserves the utmost respect for his NFL career and his leadership abilities, but it seems that his decision to call out his former teammates has rubbed some of them the wrong way.
Obviously, this is not the sort of thing the 2-1 Ravens want to deal with heading into a Week 4 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, as it's clear it has become an unneeded distraction already. Whether or not it affect the on-field product remains to be seen, but it sounds like Flacco and his teammates intend to get things back on track.