Ray Lewis is one of the most influential players in the league and unquestionably one of the most fierce players in NFL history. But that same passion that has fueled the 12-time Pro Bowlers' career is clouding his judgement and perception right now.
In an interview with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Lewis had this to say about the lockout and its effect on fans.
"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"
Lewis thinks that crime will rise if the lockout stays and takes away part of the NFL season. When asked exactly what he meant in regards to why there would be a rise in crime he had this to say,
"There's nothing else to do Sal."
Does Lewis really think that players and fans have so little to do that they would resort to breaking the law if they didn't have football during the fall? There is an off-season every year where we have to find things to do that aren't revolving around watching and playing football and that doesn't seem to bother him in this regard. He might just be bringing attention to some other negatives about the lockout and a very loose correlation on what could happen. But this attention is not something that Lewis envisioned when he made those comments.
If someone was going to build an all-time defense with players all throughout NFL history, Lewis would be one of the players that would be mentioned. He is the epitome of a leader and brings enough passion and honor to the game and to his teammates that everyone in the stadium knows that he is in his element when he steps on that field. Lewis is a strong enough figure that his opinion will and should matter in this labor dispute. He has the kind of pull that might be able to make some kind of a difference with the players. When Ray talks, people listen. But this is one of those times that Ray should not have talked, or at least not made the statement that he did.
It's a statement that will never be possible to prove, or disprove to anyone. Maybe that's the beauty in the whole statement itself from Lewis' point of view. Nobody will be able to go out there and find enough facts that directly correlate crime rising to lack of football and prove Lewis wrong.
The biggest problem with what Lewis is saying is that he is saying these things to the fans directly. He's basically saying without football, we'll go and break the law. That's probably not the point of view that Lewis wants these comments to be viewed, but that's one way that fans can take what is saying and question the motives. He's right when he talks about most fans living vicariously through their favorite teams, but that doesn't mean fans will have their lives fall apart if the millionaires and billionaires can't figure out how to divvy up the thousandaires hard-earned paychecks.