There have been 38 arrests of NFL players this year. The most severe charges were two murder arrests on Wednesday, June 26, and the rest of the charges range from disorderly conduct and DUI to domestic violence and assault, to gun charges.
It really does seem like there is an inordinate number of arrests of NFL players versus the general population of America. Does the media attention surrounding these arrests make it only seem as though NFL arrest rates are higher than the general U.S. population or are the NFL arrest rates truly higher than the general U.S. population?
For 2011, the FBI estimated the arrest rate at just under 4 percent which means that approximately four people for every 100 were arrested that year. In the NFL, in 2011, just 2.8 percent of active NFL players were arrested, 48 of about 1,700 players. This translates to just under three players arrested for every 100 players.
This shows us that, yes, the media attention surrounding NFL arrests does make it seem as though that NFL arrest rates are higher than the general population.
In this age of hyper-media, protecting the image of the NFL is a big challenge. The only way to do this is to create stronger NFL Player Engagement programs. Currently, the NFL has a mandatory week long rookie transition program called the Rookie Symposium and three mandatory 90-minute seminars each year. Considering that the NFL arrest rate is lower than the general population arrest rate I believe we can conclude that these programs are quite successful. I don’t think this is enough though. To protect the NFL’s image they will have to continue their work addressing societal issues and self-defeating attitudes that players bring into the league with them and help players separate themselves from the influence of less-than-desirable associates.
The range of NFL Player Engagement programs is quite impressive and I recommend that all readers take a look at what is offered. There is wide range of programs for student athletes, current NFL players, past NFL players, and women in the NFL community.
I commend the NFL on their efforts to improve the off-field lives of NFL players and their families.