Three Yards and a Cloud of Misconduct

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Photo by Paige Foster

With the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers set to square off in San Jose in two weeks for Super Bowl 50, I think it is time we talk about the issues revolving around the NFL’s image.

Recently, a former player was found dead in jail in what investigators are calling a suspected suicide. Leading up to his death, Lawrence Phillips had a history of violence and criminal activity. It is another unfortunate event for a league that continually finds itself engrossed in these types of issues.

Just last month, the NFL celebrated its longest arrest-free streak in 11 years when the league had no reported arrests of an active player in a whopping 67 days. That streak would come to an end four days later, when, on Christmas morning, two Cleveland Browns players were taken in following a traffic stop that uncovered a gun and Adderall in the car. The NFL doesn’t seem to comment on these types of issues and leaves public responses up to the franchises to handle individually.

As a matter of fact, the NFL would gladly trot out an August study that found NFL players were arrested at lower rates than the general population in their age bracket. I think that this study is entirely too broad and severely lacks economic logic behind its conclusion. NFL players make at least hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the average player income last reported at $2.11 million per year. I think it would be much more telling to compare the numbers between tax brackets.

Alas, a sport as violent as the NFL will continue to harbor aggressive personalities and arrests will continue to happen. For the time being, the NFL is more concerned with the direct implications being made by Hollywood at the moment. It would be a shame if the public knew just how common that beast was.

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