When people talk about the impact that the NFL lockout would have on society if it extends into the regular season and causes games to be missed, they usually think about financial losses for the players, owners, team employees and those who, in one way or another, have money invested in the NFL.
Ray Lewis sees the potential impact in different terms.
In an interview with ESPN, the Ravens’ All-Pro linebacker says that he thinks that if NFL games are missed because of the lockout, the level of crime across the country will rise.
“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 told ESPN. “What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us. There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us. Walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.”
Asked why a lack of football would make such a direct impact on the level of crime, Lewis passionately replied: “There’s nothing else to do.”
As for the labor negotiations themselves, Lewis sees the egos on both sides as the key issue preventing an agreement.
“We’ve really got to remove pride,” Lewis said. “There’s no other reason the issue is going on.”
While NFL stars like Drew Brees and Mike Vrabel have sat on the players’ side of the negotiating table and publicly lobbied for the union’s cause, Lewis hasn’t been a prominent figure in the labor negotiations to this point.
But Lewis did say that he has texted NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and told him that he’s ready to come and speak for the players whenever Smith wants him to.
Does Lewis expect Smith to take him up on his offer?
“Oh, the time (is) coming,” he said.