First, I did watch the entire portion of the Ray Lewis interview where he made the comments about crime. That means I heard Ray Lewis’ comments in context. What Ray was saying is that there are people whose livelihood is partially based on income they earn during the NFL season. Such people might include persons who work in the stadiums, or provide some other service that is uniquely tied to the NFL season. If there were no season played, some of these people might become discouraged because of the loss of income and be tempted to do something outside the law to compensate that loss. In that case, there would be a rise in crime that could be associated with no NFL season. Is that a crazy notion? I don’t think so.
Since the downturn of the US economy, I am sure many communities have heard an increase in thefts and burglaries reported by the local news media. This has happened in the community where I live. The local news media has also sometimes reported perpetrators stating after being caught, they did it to feed their family. The US economic downturn has been felt in communities nationwide. Unfortunately, not all persons who have been negatively affected by this downturn have responded positively or with grace. So the forgoing of a 2011-2012 NFL season paralleling a spike in local crime is not a farfetched idea in my mind.
What does bother me about the Ray Lewis commentary issue is how ESPN sports commentators missed the point of what Ray was making. To be fair, I must say Ray could have done a better job articulating his thoughts. However, he did communicate them well enough for me to understand his point.
I heard commentary from two shows on ESPN: Around the Horn and PTI. What I heard from the sports commentators on those shows was appalling. On PTI, a clip of the Ray Lewis interview was played. However, if a viewer heard ONLY that clip, that viewer would completely misunderstand what Ray was saying and come away thinking he is crazy. On Around the Horn, I don’t even remember a clip being played. The commentary was that Ray was auditioning for some acting role, or he was full of himself. How is it that these grown men (sports commentators) did not understand the message Ray was trying to communicate? Could it be that these sports commentators who get paid to hear themselves talk are out of touch with people who struggle day to day financially? I think so.
Before going off on Ray Lewis, guys take the time to really listen to what he as to say. This is a man who gives back to his community and also takes the time to listen to people who, although are not playing on the football field, feel just as much a part of the NFL and would be negatively affected if the NFL owners and players do not resolve their issues. By the way, the “talk” Ray was referring to at the “bargaining table” was probably sharing with NFL owners and players what he learned about how the loss of a football season would negatively affect the NFL supporting community. Maybe if the sports commentators would listen, they might learn something.