Shall We Have a Conversation About Arrest Statistics for Those Privileged NFL Players?

An NFL player is arrested, on average, every seven days.

Did you know, that as of this writing, it’s been 24 days since an NFL player was arrested? The odds that we would go that long in between player arrests are 25 to 1! In case you were wondering, there’s an entire website dedicated to tracking all the NFL players who have been arrested.

Oops. I just checked again. It’s now been zero days since an NFL player was arrested. Thanks, Los Angeles Ram Ethan Westbrooks! Westbrooks was arrested this weekend for speeding and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm. This is the second time in bracelets this year for Westbrooks, who was arrested in March on suspicion of domestic violence (the charges were later dropped).

According to, the record span between arrests is 65 days. The average span between player arrests is seven days. The site has been tracking player arrests since 2000 and has an interactive breakdown of all the data. You can track arrests by team, date, day of the week (unsurprisingly, Saturday is most popular), player position, or type of crime.

The NFL has been in the national spotlight for several years in relation to its personal conduct policy. High-profile cases involving domestic violence, in particular, have caused the NFL a great measure of embarrassment as the league has struggled to determine the appropriate level of punishment. According to its written policy:

The policy states that anyone associated with the NFL can be disciplined under this policy regardless of whether they are convicted of a crime. Players who have been arrested are routinely suspended by the league. It’s become almost routine to view the police blotter as a normal aspect of reporting on the NFL.

Arrest rates for NFL players had trended downward from 2013 to 2016, but have spiked again this year. For all of 2016, there were 28 arrests of NFL players. Through about three-quarters of 2017, there have been 33 arrests. That’s still a far cry from 2006, when there were 72 arrests, but the trend is not going in the right direction.

It is important to note, as states, that NFL players are arrested at a slightly lower rate than Americans in general. One would hope, however, that the arrest rate would be significantly lower than for the general public. Given the high-profile nature of the job, the greatly heightened socioeconomic class of NFL employees, and league expectations that go along with the privilege of playing a game for a living, it is only natural to think that crime rates would drop precipitously.

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