Over the past few weeks, the sports press has been reporting a bizarre story concerning a promising young football player named Adam Muema.
Muema, 21, had amassed an impressive record as a running back at San Diego State University, and had decided to leave college after his junior year, foregoing his senior year of eligibility, and put himself up for this year’s NFL draft.
Experts said his prospects were only somewhat promising — if he did well at the February workouts known as the scouting “combine,” he might be selected in the middle or later rounds of the draft. It wasn’t a guaranteed road to professional success, but there was at least some chance of a lucrative contract.
To everyone’s surprise, however, Muema pulled out of the combine, and his excuses were simply bizarre. Muema said his reasons were religious, and that he was taking directions from a “Lord RayEl,” whom Muema described on his Facebook page as “The Returned Christ, Lord RayEl, also known as The Messiah, Yeshua to the Jews, Isa to the Muslims, and Jesus to the Christians.”
The Los Angeles Times, Fox Sports, and other outlets have said Muema’s chances of being drafted have now vanished — NFL teams won’t want to touch a guy who behaves so erratically.
But who is Lord RayEl, and how could he wield so much influence over Muema that the young athlete would squander what appeared to be at least a decent shot at the NFL and its lucrative fields of glory?
This is where the story gets even more depressing, because Lord RayEl, a/k/a Raymond Elwood Howard-Lear, originally of Lynwood, Illinois, is just about the most pathetic excuse for a guru that we’ve ever seen — and we’ve covered quite a few.
We’ll start at the beginning — Lord RayEl’s website. Its address is “ra-el.org” and it proclaims “The Messiah Has Arrived.”
The site features videos and “proof” that RayEl is the returned Jesus Christ, and it urges readers to prepare for his coming. “What purpose would it serve to follow a dead church,” he explains in his Frequently Asked Questions section, “when you could instead follow the living Christ?”
The website was created in 2011 and was at that time registered to a woman named Ruth Howard-Lear. (“Ra-el” is “Lear” backwards, one notes.) The street address listed in the registration is the location of an Illinois “vein treatment and cosmetic center,” but most importantly, the contact e-mail was listed as [email protected]
There is only one Ruth Howard-Lear listed in the United States. She is 77 and lives in Lynwood, Illinois and is a widow. Her husband was Raymond Elwood Howard-Lear, Sr.