Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and current ESPN analyst Bart Scott had a take that turned heads during the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.
In order to be a successful NFL team, he said on ESPN Radio’s “Freddie and Fitzsimmons,” teams need at least a few players with criminal records.
"You have to get some tough guys and everyone can't be choir boys," Scott said on the show, via USA Today’s Scooby Axson. "When I was with the Ravens we had to make sure that we had at least two people on the team with a couple of felonies, just to make sure our street cred was right, when we had to go in these back alleys and have some of these dog fights.
“Sometimes you have to have some people that's not no choir boys. That's why you have a strong locker room to hold them in check."
Naturally, that take didn’t sit very well with others on the show — who even tried to give him a chance to walk the comments back.
Scott just kept on going.
"The funniest sign I ever saw in my life was 52 plus 31 equals 10 to 20. It was Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis equals 10 to 20 in prison," Scott said. "Terrell Suggs beat a dude with a stop sign coming out of Arizona State. You gotta have a couple of guys like that. We can clean them up and get them counseling, but you got to have a couple of goons and you definitely have some goblins."
Scott played in the league from 2002-2012, and spent seven seasons with the Ravens before finishing with the New York Jets.
He referenced multiple former teammates who were accused of serious crimes. Ray Lewis was charged with murder in 2000, but he later reached a plea deal and pled guilty to obstruction of justice. Jamal Lewis was sentenced to four months in prison in 2005 after he pled guilty to trying to set up a drug deal for a friend. Terrell Suggs was repeatedly accused of domestic violence. Ray Rice, another teammate whom Scott didn’t mention, was seen on video assaulting his former fiancee in an elevator in 2014.
Obviously, someone having a criminal record — or even just criminal accusations — doesn’t have any positive impact on a team. More than likely, it would do just the opposite. Just look at the Houston Texans, who didn’t play quarterback Deshaun Watson at all last season amid multiple sexual assault and misconduct accusations against him.
Glorifying violence or criminal activity isn’t a great look for Scott, even if he’s trying to make a joke. His point, also, just isn't accurate.