Crime Rates in Pro Sports
Achieving the dream of playing in a professional team in the NBA, NFL or MLB does not seem to inspire some people to respect the law. In fact, the opposite seems true for some players, as the statistics of crimes committed by professional sports players reveal. Criminal justice meets the bright lights of fame when these two worlds collide.
Players have been arrested for betting and gambling, using steroids, bribery, violence and murder, theft, fraud, using drugs, DUIs, illegal possession of weapons, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, and sexual assault, solicitation and indecent exposure. For all three leagues, violence/murder and drug use are the most common crimes committed by players.
Steroid use has been a major problem reported by the MLB. In 2003, the MLB reported that between 5 and 7 percent of all anonymous tests on players came back positive for steroid use. Players like Mark Maguire, Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco have admitted to using steroids. Canseco went as far as claiming that 85 percent of the other players also used steroids.
NFL players seem to be the most inclined to break the law. In the last ten years, the Cincinnati Bengals have led the NFL in arrests, at over 30 arrests. They are followed closely by the Minnesota Vikings, with about 30 arrests. The top ten list continues with the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans with about 25 arrests each. It is rounded out by the San Diego Chargers with just over 20 arrests, the Cleveland Browns, with about 20 arrests, and finally the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with just under 20 arrests.
In 2010, the NFL experienced 507 arrests of its players. Since 2000, about 1 in 45 NFL players get arrested each year and many of these arrests are the result of some form of drunken driving. The NFL players with the highest numbers of arrests are Adam “Pacman” Jones, with 6 arrests, Chris Henry and Terry “Tank” Johnson, with 4 arrests each and David Boston with 3 arrests. Since 2000, 8 NFL players have tied for the dubious distinction of having 3 arrests each.
NFL players have also served more time in jail than players in other leagues, though “Fast” Eddie Johnson, a NBA player, is serving life. MLB players have served the least time, with only Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry being convicted, serving 1 year and 11 months respectively.
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