As the NFL lockout is about to enter its fourth month, some players seem to be getting a bit giddy.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is a case in point. Lewis recently said that not having the NFL this year would increase the crime rate.
Most of the games, I believe, start at either 1 or 4 p.m. on Sundays. There aren't any liquor stores open to be robbed at those times. Most people that are capable of committing crimes are sleeping off a rough Saturday night on the streets.
If anything, if the lockout continues into September, there will be a reduction in crime. No one will be drinking heavily before and during games at stadiums, which means less rowdy behavior in the stands, more sober drivers and fewer handcuffed-restrained fans.
Lewis' wayward comments are strangely appropriate for a labor situation that remains baffling to fans everywhere. Nothing seems to make sense coming out of the mouths of negotiators and mouthpieces on both sides.
Players are blaming the owners for not being able to find a way to spread $9 billion of annual profits. Owners don't understand why players would have a problem extending the regular season by two games.
Stuck in the middle are the most loyal and rabid fans of any professional sports league this side of the Premier Soccer League in England. Some of them might say they could live without the NFL, but let's see what they say when withdrawal sets in the first weekend after Labor Day.
The pain for fans has already started. Although June is the slowest month of the year for NFL talk, minicamps serve as a primer for the start of training camps in late July.
This is the time when the preseason magazines hit the newsstands. Zealots devour depth charts down to the second-string holder. Cheatsheets for fantasy leagues litter coffee tables in homes that are otherwise well-kept.
Those of us that participate in fantasy leagues will be hurt the most. Can you imagine not checking the Internet every few minutes to see how your team is doing? It would seem strange not sitting up to the early morning hours on Mondays to find out if your kicker can convert the extra point you need for a win.
Do the players and owners know what they're doing to fans? Are NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, president of the NFLPA, that insensitive to the people that spend thousands of dollars on PSLs, parking spots, beer and hot dogs?
The answer is obviously yes. It was that way when labor problems disrupted play in the 1982 and 1987 seasons, leading to the use of replacement players for three games in '87, and it's that way now.
No one wants to see bad, boring football - that's why there's the Arena Football League. Fans simply want quality NFL football, and they want it starting in September.
It's just a matter of the owners and players' union ending the cold war and getting down to business. Both sides know there will be concessions that will lead to a settlement. Why not fast forward to that stage now and clean up the mess that has been made.
Ending the lockout is important for several reasons. It will stop Lewis from making stupid comments. It will sustain sanity and keep marriages safe in households across the country. It will give fans that need more than Friday night high school and Saturday college games extended pigskin pleasure.
Did I mention that my fantasy team needs to defend its title?