Pardon Me While I Rant: Ray Lewis’s Crime Rate Statement

Well well well….Ray Lewis has seemed to stir up much more than he planned to yesterday during his SportsCenter interview. His talks of crime rates rising without football this year was interpreted in multiple different ways. Without a real explanation, he left many listeners confused. If you haven’t seen the Ray Lewis interview about the lockout, I suggest you look at the post from yesterday before reading further.

I awoke this morning and turned on the radio, only to hear people dissecting and bashing Ray Lewis’s statement from yesterday. Everywhere from forums to talk shows had people trashing his comments. When I recalled back to watching the interview, I didn’t remember hearing anything odd or unusual. Upon further research, many were questioning what he meant when he said “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.”  When I heard this, I knew exactly what he meant. But obviously, some people didn’t get the memo.

Given Ray Lewis’s difficult past (more specifically his murder allegation in 2000), he knows what it is like to grow up in a crime ridden area, as well as the adversity faced by many young athletes in the NFL. I think he can relate to what younger players are going through when facing characters from their past. The point Ray is trying to make is that, football serves as an escape and distraction for those who would normally turn to a life of crime. Ray knows this better than anyone given what he’s seen in his personal experiences and the people he’s mentored throughout his career. Look at Mike Vick for example. When he started making millions of dollars, he began hanging out with shady people from his adolescence. Except this time he was no longer an average kid living in a bad neighborhood. He was a superstar that was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Ray is alluding to the fact that for those who use football as a motivation, may feel less determined or be unable to participate in their normal activities. Therefore they’ll turn to other solutions, some being crime. You may think it’s crazy logic, but it happens all the time. To players in the NFL, playing football is their job. When people lose their job they tend to resort to drastic measures. Some of which may be illegal.

Am I the only one that got this? After reading some comments on’s article about the topic, I sure do feel like it. Some think he is talking about fans committing crimes which makes no sense whatsoever. If that was the case than I would have sold drugs and murdered people from February to August during the past few years. Others felt the need to pull the Ray Lewis murder card stating “Does this mean Ray Lewis is threatening to kill people again?” Come on people! Was it that hard to understand? Then again, maybe I’m completely wrong.

On Pardon the Interruption, Michael Wilbon said that he thinks people are looking in to it too much. I agree with him to a point. It seems that with such a lack of topics to talk about during the offseason (especially during a lockout) people are deeply analyzing whatever tweets or comments they can. Sometimes you just got to take if for what it is…

What did you think about his comments? Please discuss as I’m interested to what other peoples takes were.


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  • heapheaphooray

    I understand the author’s take on the interview, however I don’t know if Ray means players as explicitly as you said. I read an article a few years back at the height of the Vick trial. It mentioned Lewis, Vick and a few other players who have struggled with silencing their demons from the past. Your friends from when you were growing might change after you receive the fame and money that come from an NFL contract. They might expect you to spread the wealth in a sense and not to forgot them now that you are on your way. This was the case for Vick and Lewis and unfortunately for them, their friends hadn’t given up the illegal nature of their ways. While that is definitely a plausible concern for some players, I feel Ray’s comments were directed in a different way. You look at the poorer areas of cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Philadelphia, and sports, namely the NFL, possess a large fan base in such areas. It’s a way to break free from the hardships of poverty. Without an outlet like pro football. You have an indirect effect on those areas. Now you don’t have a direct correlation, like “no football? I’m going to because I’m so pissed off.” It affects certain areas as there is no longer that outlet and sense of fandom, so more time can be given to the already existing criminal activities in those areas. The dumb comments of bringing up something that took place 11 years ago is ignorant and the comments of “AW man no football this sunday? let’s go on a shooting spree. lololololololol, no i’m just gonna hang with my family and watch baseball, dumb Ray Lewis” are just so stupid. I do like what Michael Wilbon had to say and I also heard Stuart Scott say that everyone waits to hear the opinions and comments of these superstars and when they don’t get them, they get angry. Then when a comment IS made, they get dissected ad nauseum and trashed like right now. It’s just one man’s opinion, and if you watch the ENTIRE interview, it’s actually really insightful when it comes to the lockout.

    • Riley B

      I couldn’t agree more. Ray is very passionate about his ideals. Not to quote Randy Moss but I will…”He’s gonna say what he wants to say, and do what he wants to do.” While what Ray says most of the time is very meaningful as well as insightful, somethings can and should be overlooked. I believe this is one of those times. Although the comment is not the most rational, I can at least recognize the point he’s trying to make. All in all, he’s upset about the lockout and believes that nothing good will come from it. No matter how you say or look at it, I think we all can agree upon that. But to simply bash a man for his opinion is shameful and ignorant. Opinions should be respected not insulted