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Will an NFL lockout really cause a crime wave?
All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis tells ESPN that a work stoppage will devastate fans... and even encourage them to commit crimes
 
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, pictured during a 2010 game, says if the NFL lockout short-circuits the season, fans may indulge in criminal behavior.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, pictured during a 2010 game, says if the NFL lockout short-circuits the season, fans may indulge in criminal behavior.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As the NFL lockout drags into its third month — the longest in league history — and the threat of a missed season grows, Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis is worried about the lockout's ripple effects on society. Without the NFL to absorb their attention, says Lewis, more fans will engage in unlawful behavior. "Do this research if we don't have a season... watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game," Lewis told ESPN in an interview Sunday. Just why does Lewis think a dearth of NFL showdowns will cause a spike in criminality? "There's nothing else to do," Lewis explained. Does he have a point?

Certain fans may share his view: If the nation's "favorite game" shuts down, some NFL devotees will be completely lost, says Shane Bacon at Yahoo! Sports. "Lewis is just pointing out facts." With all that extra time at their disposal, it's natural that at least some fans will turn to bad behavior. "Just add it to the growing list of reasons why the NFL lockout would be a bad thing."
"Ray Lewis thinks crime will increase with no NFL season"

No, this is utter nonsense: "Talk about having an overinflated sense of the value of a game," says John Smallwood in the Philadelphia Daily News. By Lewis' logic, criminals now "treat NFL Sundays like the sabbath." Sure, many Americans tune in each Sunday for a slate of games. But it's hardly "one of society's linchpins." We'll all be just as safe without the NFL as we are with it.
"Ray Lewis, a Raven lunatic to think we'll turn to crime without NFL"

Sure, crime will rise — amongst players: Lewis is "correct in assuming that crime will go up, but he's wrong in believing it will be amongst the public," says Clenard Dow at BlackSportsOnline. "It is the crime rate of the NFL players that will rise if there is no season." Without the league's tough rules governing their conduct, players will be missing a motive to play it safe off the field — and will be far more likely to run afoul of the law.
"Ray Lewis says 'crime will increase with no NFL season'"

 

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