It feels like a lot of NFL players have been arrested during the lockout-plagued 2011 offseason. But as Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com points out, that actually hasn’t been the case at all.
Citing the San Diego Union-Tribune’s fantastic arrest database, Marvez notes that while 16 players have been involved in legal scrapes during this inactive offseason, 17 ran into legal issues during the same time period in 2010.
So why does it feel as though bored players have acted out this year more than ever before? That’s probably just what happens when we have nothing better to talk about. You’d have stories on player arrests in previous springs and summers, but they’d be joined by stories of free-agent signings, trades and minicamp performances.
This offseason, verbose rumors and off-field transgressions are all we have to fill the always attractive pro football news cycle.
And here’s the best part of Marvez’s report:
To further put these numbers in perspective, only one of every 160 players on NFL rosters at the time of the lockout has had a subsequent arrest or citation. That translates to less than one percent in a league with 2,560 active players.
Such a figure is lower than what the general populace averaged in the most recent set of complete crime data compiled by the FBI. With the exception of 35-year-old Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel — who is charged with stealing eight bottles of beer from an Indiana casino — the ages of NFL players cited this offseason ranges from 22 to 29. The overall number of US males arrested in that same bracket stood at 3.2 percent for 2009.
This is why I constantly defend NFL players when they’re lambasted by casual or less-than-casual sports fans who claim the league is riddled with thugs. Young men get arrested, regardless of what they do for a living. Every year, 2,000-plus NFL players live their lives as healthy, happy, law-abiding citizens.
Judging an entire group based on the acts of an extremely small minority is something simpletons do.