"Do this research, if we don't have a season...watch how much evil, which we call the crime...watch how much crime goes up, if they take away our game..." -- Ray Lewis to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio during the 2011 lockout
We all remember this famous Ray Lewis rant, right? Where he implied that the absence of football would essentially turn the streets into the last 45 minutes of any of the Transformers movies, where roads and buildings are getting torn to smithereens for no real reason?
Of course, the money shot in the interview was when Paolantonio asked "Why [it would be this way]?" and Lewis famously said, "There's nothing else to do, Sal..."
As if the second choice for most of society after watching NFL Sunday Ticket each week is to rob convenience stores or sell crack on the streets. (I'm pretty sure Ray knows there are eight months out of the year with no football, and crime doesn't spike in those eight months. Pretty sure.)
Damn, that interview was too good not to post here, so here it is:
Now, to be clear, Lewis was actually talking about the fans, the workers at the stadium, pretty much everyone except NFL players, which is a tad ironic because if there is any cross section of society that has shown a proclivity for disproportionate deviant activity with idle time on their hands, it's NFL players.
Hell, I created an entire off-season meme, award, and fantasy league dedicated to off-season crime. So all due respect, Ray, but when "there's nothing else to do," your NFL brethren are leading the way in criminal activity.
And oh, by the way, didn't you stab two people or something back in the day?
Hell, if this past week is any indication, the NFL players (and fired analysts, and owners) are among the best compartmentalizers in all of the free world, because their crime game is tight even when they have a shit ton of stuff to do!
Like play football (or get fired from commenting on football, or own a football team).
The crime comes in all shapes and sizes, too.
There was San Francisco outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who was arrested last Friday morning just a couple hours before practice for suspicion of DUI, after crashing his vehicle into a tree and being found passed out with his foot still on the gas pedal (the DUI equivalent of sitting at a murder crime scene, splattered in blood, with the gun in hand still pointed at the corpse).
Clearly, Smith has a problem. He recognized it, the team recognized it, and they agreed that he needed to get checked into rehab urgently....just as soon as he finished playing a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon.
(Call me crazy, but rehab has always felt like one of those "sense of urgency" deals, like when you decide to go, YOU GO. You don't hang out for a couple days, play in an NFL game, and then go. But what do I know? My entire perspective on rehab is pretty much derived from the "Christopher's intervention" scene from The Sopranos.)
Now, Aldon Smith needs to check himself, because that crime could have been awfully dangerous. Someone could have really gotten hurt. He should know that if you're going to drink, get a ride.
Hell, get a party bus!
That's what Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie did for his birthday. Just hours after taking the Texans to the woodshed by a score of 30-9, McKinnie and several of his teammates celebrated the big man's birthday in a positively McKinnie-an fashion -- with booze, with strippers, and with the party ending up on the 6:00 news the next day.
For it was in said party bus, that injured wide receiver Jacoby Jones got into his TMZ-publicized tiff with, ahem, scantily clad performer Sweet Pea (pretty sure not her real name), a tiff that wound up with Pea using Jacoby Jones' face as a bottle opener. No charges were filed, but I'm pretty sure crimes were committed that night.
I'm almost positive.
Now, there are criminals, there are pathological criminals, and then there's Adam "Pac Man" Jones, so perhaps to remind all of us that guys like Smith, McKinnie, Jacoby, and Sweet Pea are mere lightweights compared to him, Pac Man sought out some trouble of his own on Sunday night (early Monday morning, really) when he picked up a disorderly conduct charge during a field sobriety test being conducted on somebody else!
Apparently, the woman driving the car was asked to step out and do the standard field tests (which she failed) and Pac Man took exception. I'd like to believe that Pac Man actually got a notification on his phone about the Baltimore party bus incident and just wanted to make sure people knew who the real King of Deviant Behavior is in this league. Pac Man was eventually released, but confirmed with the cops on his way out that this one does indeed count and his league lead in arrests for an active player grew with arrest number eight! (I'm kidding about his confirming with the cops. I mean he may have, but I'm not entirely sure he did.)
The crime spree didn't stop with current players, though. Oh no, no, no...
Hugh Douglas, former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and recently terminated ESPN on-air personality (terminated for screaming racial epithets at his co-host Michael Smith at, of all places, the National Association of Black Journalists convention), got his name onto the crime scoreboard with this neat little story in Connecticut:
Douglas was arrested in downtown Hartford after police said he violently attacked a woman at a hotel.
Police said Douglas got into a fight at a woman at the Marriott Hotel at Adriaen's Landing.
According to court documents, Douglas "grabbed her by the neck" and "slammed her into the walls several times." The court papers go on to say that Douglas told investigators the victim's injuries happened during rough sex.
Douglas was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree strangulation. Douglas was arraigned on Tuesday and his next court appearance is Oct. 21.
You know the old saying -- one man's rough sex is another man's strangulation.
Douglas was living in the Hartford area because of his employment at ESPN, and had been very vocal on Twitter about the lack of nightlife:
Did not anticipate the stores closing early.. I need someone to go to the adult beverage store for ya boy!! #hartfordlife
— Hugh Douglas (@Bighugh53) February 8, 2013
Wait! I just saw a dating commercial ..... For Farmers! What in the hell have I signed on for?? #hartfordlife
— Hugh Douglas (@Bighugh53) February 3, 2013
At a country bar in Hartford.. Because there's not a whole lot yo do in Hartford .... #Hartfordlife
— Hugh Douglas (@Bighugh53) December 1, 2012
I would say this is probably not the way to go about filling the void of boredom that Hartford has carved into your life, Hugh. My two cents.
By the way, here is perhaps the most ironic tweet on Douglas' Twitter feed:
— Hugh Douglas (@Bighugh53) March 1, 2013
And finally, it wouldn't be a crime spree if we didn't involve upper management in some way, and it doesn't get any more "upper" in management than team owners.
In Minnesota, they're dealing with news that their owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf, were slapped with an $84.5 million judgment in a case where they are accused of massive fraud:
A judge in New Jersey on Monday ordered Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and their cousin Leonard Wilf to pay $84.5 million to two former business partners who she previously ruled they had defrauded in a 1980s real estate deal.
The ruling from Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson covered compensatory and punitive damages to plaintiffs Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann. It also includes a redistribution of real estate profits dating to the lawsuit's initial filing, in 1992. Attorneys for the Wilfs promised an appeal.
Wilson ruled last month that the Wilfs had committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and violated the state's civil racketeering laws. In a stinging rebuke, Wilson said then that Zygi Wilf demonstrated "bad faith and evil motive" in his trial testimony.
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So why do you care about this? Well, for one, any case involving RICO statutes in New Jersey is an immediate homage to The Sopranos. I'll always care about that. Secondly, the Vikings have a $477 million commitment to a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis, and while the owners say that this little $84.5 million parking ticket won't effect their ability to meet that commitment, by definition of being guilty of fraud, the Wilfs are fucking liars.
So there's that.
All of this has me fired up for the upcoming NFL offseason -- what Ray Lewis might call the EVIL season, the season of CRIME. If the last week is any indicator, CRIME'S preseason (the NFL regular season) is going to be pretty damn compelling itself.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.