Let me begin with two bits of information:
- If I made the rules, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson would be out of the NFL and probably both of them would be doing some time for assault and child abuse.
- I really don’t care about NFL football. My sports seasons are MLB and NHL. I watch the NFL for about 2 weeks before hockey starts. Remember, I live in St. Louis, home of one of the most irrelevant NFL teams in the league. So the long-term viability of the NFL, both locally and as an institution is pretty much meaningless to me.
That said…most of us probably didn’t bat an eyelash when we heard about the Rice KO of his then-fiancee. After all, the conventional wisdom is that the NFL is full of criminals…wife-beaters, sexual abusers, murderers, rapists, etc. And the leftists are going to remind us of this every time some sort of offensive act occurs. But is this true?
The truth of the matter is that the rate of criminality in the NFL is lower than that of the general public. No, the NFL does not have a “violence against women problem”, or at least not one that is worse than the public in general. As Jim Picht of Communities Digital News shows us, the incidence of domestic violence by NFL players is actually around half that of the same age group in the general United States population. He cites two different studies that show similar results…one done in 1999 by Alfred Blumstein & Jeff Benedict, and another published back in July by Benjamin Morris at fivethirtyeight.com. Picht writes:
Blumstein and Benedict found that of the 342 black players in their sample, 97 of them, or 28 percent, had an arrest for one of these crimes. There were 77 whites in the sample; seven of them, or 9 percent, had an arrest
Those numbers appear high until we compare them with arrest numbers for the general population. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports provided the arrest data. For the general population, the arrest rate for assault for black men was 6,990 per 100,00, and for whites, 2,209.
The corresponding rate for NFL players, black and white, was less than half the rate for the general population.