When I first heard Ray Lewis predict a crime wave if the NFL season gets canceled, I wondered at first if Lewis worried about the fans or the players. In this ESPN interview, it sounds like Lewis means the fans, but in professional sports, it’s hard to tell — a subject about which Ray Lewis has significant first-hand knowledge. After being introduced as one of the highest profile players in the game, Lewis insists that the standoff is about egos rather actual economic interests, and again one has to wonder whether Lewis means the owners or the players. (He never actually specifies, but since Lewis is representing the players in this dispute, one can take an educated guess.) The highlight of this clip is Lewis’ dire warning of the massive criminality about to ensue because so many people “live through” NFL players, as the Daily Caller notes:
“What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us,” he said. “Too many people live through us. People live through us. Walk in the streets the way I walk in the streets.”
And according to Lewis, one of the major results of lockout would be an increase of evil, which he says will come in the form of more crime.
“Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime — watch how much crime picks up if you take away our game.”
In other words, give us the football and no one gets hurt. I’ve seen some pretty absurd arguments on both sides in sports labor disputes, but this one takes the cake, especially since most of the criminal news attached to pro sports either comes from the players, or from the drunken fans who show up to the games.
An NFL lockout is not a public safety risk, no matter what Ray Lewis claims. It is a symptom of a dysfunctional labor-management relationship, which is all the more absurd given the ridiculous amounts of compensation both sides receive. But if Lewis really is concerned that people live far too much through the NFL and its players, then the league is well on the way to solving that particular problem.