Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis found a different way to make the news recently by sitting down with Sal Palantonio of ESPN and making some interesting comments about the population's behavior during the lockout.
His principal comments that caused a stir were, "Do this research if we don't have a season. Watch how much evil, which we call crime, picks up if we don't have a season. There is nothing else to do."
Now it should be noted that in context, Lewis was talking at least partially about everyday people who rely so heavily on football for entertainment and their livelihoods (e.g., the stadium workers, etc.) and not players.
Here is the thing. I don't necessarily disagree with the general premise of what Lewis had to say. But, what does that say about society?
Look, if the general population, in the absence of football, has nothing better to do than commit violent acts maybe the apocalypse really did occur on Saturday and I missed it.
Regardless, I can think of three important things that both the average Joe and the million dollar athlete should do if there is no football:
1. Connect with family.
I don't remember ever hearing someone say, "I really regret spending time with my six-year-old son or daughter last night." There might have been aggravating, frustrating moments, but would you trade the experience?
You want to know why people constant warn you to enjoy the time with your loved ones, especially children? It's because the time really does fly. How many times do you hear about the burden of professional athletes who have to be away from their families? Well, now is the time to address that, guys.
2. Improve yourself, starting with an alternate vocation and/or education.
Okay, as an educator I am biased. But, here are the facts.
Depending on whether an NFL player makes an opening day roster as a rookie, the average NFL career is somewhere between three to six years.
Even a six-year NFL shelf life means that you better figure out what are going to do for the vast majority of your professional life because it’s not going to be football.
As for the average Joe, last time I checked the economy was in shambles, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2002 American Community Survey, 52.7 percent of Americans have some college education, but only 27.2 percent have actually obtained a degree. Recent figures are only better by a percentage point or two. Start by just taking a course or two. Most colleges have accelerated courses and programs that should interest you.
3. Help other people.
Kudos to Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel. According to a tweet from Jason La Canfora, he built a house for a single mom in Liberty City this past weekend.
One thing notable about this is that Samuel didn't just cut a check; he actually spent the time and labored to help somebody else. Most of us don't have Samuel's financial resources, but we more likely have the physical ability and yes, time, to make a difference in someone else's life.
Which leads me to the next observation.