Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Rate of Domestic Violence Arrests by NFL Players

(Some of these thoughts are from my friend HK)

As the media vultures swarm around what has officially been termed a "crisis," I am reminded of the media portrayal around the Catholic sex abuse scandals and my skepticism about media coverage more generally.  Horrible as these cases were in the Catholic church, rates at Protestant churches and among school teachers are similar statistically from what I've found, and the actual cases of pedophilia (defined as prepubescent sex) were about 5% of all priest sex abuse cases.  But one wouldn't know that from the media coverage.

Which brings us to the NFL media coverage.  According to Five-Thirty-Eight Sports the NFL arrest rate for sex abuse crimes is lower than the national average and the overall crime rate is much lower (see the first chart above).  The article seems to attribute the overall crime rate being lower to the affluence of NFL players, but there's reason for a healthy dose of skepticism that a lack of wealth is a major cause of crime. 

Still, among NFL crimes, sexual and domestic abuse crimes are quite high (as can be seen in the second chart above).  What then is the reason why sex/domestic abuse crimes are higher in the NFL than one would expect from another randomly chosen group?  Does it have anything to do with football or the violent collisions therein?  Or is it because more players in the NFL come from backgrounds where sex outside of marriage is the norm, where fathers are largely absent, where women are often referred to as "bitches and ho's", etc.?  (Or do you have some better explanation?)

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