During a recent interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis suggested that crime would go up if the lockout continues and there’s no NFL season this year.
“Do this research if we don’t have a season,” Lewis said. “Watch how much evil — which we call it a crime — watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. There’s nothing else to do, Sal.”
The crime will pick up for whom? If Lewis was referring to the fans, then I would tend to disagree with him. If he’s talking about the players, then I think he’s right on the money.
With Garrett Wolfe's arrest in South Beach over the weekend, there have now been 13 NFL players arrested or indicted since the lockout began in mid-March. That was roughly 75 days ago, which means an NFL player has been, on average, arrested every six days since that point. (And I’m even rounding up.)
Lewis is right when he suggests, “there’s nothing else to do” for players. Without football they have plenty of disposable income (or what they think is disposable income) and all of this free time on their hands with no structure or organization when it comes to their lives. I apologize if this sounds crass, but some players simply don’t know what to do with themselves without having to report to team headquarters every day.
That said, there are plenty of players who continue to work out on their own or with teammates in preparation for an upcoming season. These are hard-working guys and I don’t want to make it sound like every player is out there committing crimes when it’s just a percentage of these boneheads. But 13 arrests in 75 days? That’s ridiculous. The union formerly known as the NFLPA should be ashamed of its defunct-self.
Again, I’m not clear on whom exactly Lewis was directing his comments at. Maybe he meant everyone — players and fans — would be out there wreaking havoc. If he did, then again, I would have to respectfully disagree. The folks who are working 8-5 in their cubicles, outside at construction sites or putting out fires have too much to worry about (their family, their bills, their mortgage, their leaky sink that just ruined all of the tile in the bathroom) than to be out assaulting police officers, speeding with a suspended license or getting into a car chases with cops.
Granted, I realize this is all very subjective. If someone were to conduct an actual study to figure out whether or not players or fans would commit more crime if there weren’t a NFL season, then they’d probably find out that fans got into more trouble. And besides, we only hear about athletes because they’re public figures. We’re not hearing about Joey Eagle fan being arrested for robbery. (Of course, there are more fans than there are players so that would have to be factored into the study as well and...I’m nauseous.)
But in this realm of subjectivity, I think Ray Lewis should be more worried about his fellow NFL brethren when it comes to crime than he is about Raven fans.