Offseason arrests in NFL up 75 percent from last year

Richard Thompson Contributor
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The NFL has seen a 75 percent increase in player arrests this offseason, according to an analysis of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s NFL arrests database.

The most recent arrest, which has not yet been included in the Tribune’s database, came Saturday when New York Giants linebacker Dan Connor was cuffed at Philadelphia International Airport for carrying a switchblade in his luggage. This brings the grand total of NFL incarcerations to 35 since Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl.

Labor economist Stephen Bronars analyzed the database and found that 0.78 players per team are arrested each offseason.

Bronars also broke down arrests by position, pointing out that one out of every six players arrested are wide receivers, while one out of seven are cornerbacks and one of out eight are linebackers.

The Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans were among the teams with the highest arrest rates, doubling the NFL average. Several of these teams had players with multiple arrests records such as Kenny Britt and Adam “Pacman” Jones of the Titans, who each have been arrested seven times, and Chris Henry of the Bengals, who has been arrested six times. Sixteen other players have also been arrested three or more times since 2003.

The notable increase in offseason arrests is particularly troubling, considering the arrest rate steadily declined from 32 arrests during the 2006 offseason to 20 in 2012 under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Arrests are substantially more prevalent during the offseason, with a 36 percent higher rate.

Though Bronars noted that 534 NFL players have been arrested in the past 10-and-a-half years, he clarified that arrests did not necessarily establish conviction and that many of the charges had been dropped.

He also held that the majority of crimes committed by NFL players are relatively minor such as illegal substance possession and drunk driving.

Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, has been the current face of the NFL’s crime problem for his alleged involvement in the murder of Odin Lloyd as well as his link to a related double homicide. The high-profile case is still ongoing.

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