There is a difference in making excuses and pointing out the obvious. I think it was pretty obvious that Lee's ACL injury had an impact on his loss to Bresser at the Midlands. I do no think it had an impact in his loss to NaTo. I think if somebody points out that there was something obviously wrong with Lee this year they aren't making excuses for him. Just pointing out what should have been obvious. I don't see how a person can look at 2018 Lee and 2019 Lee and not think there was something wrong with him. Now, with that said, if you step on the mat less than 100% then be prepared to deal with the consequences. Lee lost 2x to Rivera and got pinned by Picc. There won't be an * next to those results just because a lot of people acknowledge that Lee was less than 100%. They beat him fair and square.
It also puts into perspective how impressive Cael's run was.