Sometimes, perception doesn’t mirror reality.
The perception is the NFL has an issue with its players and arrests. However, new research suggests otherwise.
A study done by the University of Texas at Dallas looked at arrest rates of NFL players compared to men ages 20 to 39, and it concluded that those in the general population are arrested almost twice as much.
“There’s a perception that the NFL has this huge crime problem and that it’s longstanding,” Dr. Alex Piquero told CNN.com’s Jill Martin. “That’s what everybody believes. The data show that it’s not true.”
Piquero, who is a professor at UT Dallas, was one of the authors of the study — titled “The National Felon League? A Comparison of NFL Arrests to General Population Arrests” — along with Wanda Leal and Dr. Marc Gertz from Florida State University. Their research looked at arrest rates from 2000 to 2013, and it produced encouraging results for the NFL.
“We have long recognized that arrest rates of NFL players are far below the general population,” NFL Vice President of Player Engagement Charles Way said in a statement, via CNN.com. “NFL players are highly visible members of their community who are all expected to conduct themselves properly.
“Everyone in the league — coaches, players and executives — is held to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be associated with the NFL. We have long-standing policies and programs designed to encourage responsible behavior, and have evolved them to ensure that everyone meets that standard and embodies our values.”
However, since the study stops at 2013, it doesn’t include the multiple domestic violence cases — Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald — that engulfed the NFL recently.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy on the sideline during the game against the San Diego Chargers.