APR 29, 2015 12:43 PM PDT

Mildly Misbehaved: NFL's Top Players Arrested but Not Charged

WRITTEN BY: Will Hector
Hamilton College Professor of Economics Steve Wu and 2012 grad Kendall Weir analyzed five years of NFL draft data and discovered that the performance of NFL players who had an arrest record but no charges was better than those without an arrest and those arrested and charged performed as well as those with clean records -- but they cost less. Those who had been suspended for another reason (violation of team rules, conflicts with coaches, etc.) performed significantly worse than those who had been arrested, whether charged or not. The study was published in the Journal of Sports Economics.

The pair's research finds that players with criminal records are being downgraded too much in the draft, and end up being a good value for the team because they outperform expectations. Weir and Wu collected data on more than 1,200 players and tracked their performance through the 2011-12 season. The results showed that players with "character concerns" were picked significantly later in the draft than otherwise similar players with no history of suspensions or run-ins with the law. In particular, players charged with a crime are picked about 15 spots (nearly half a round) later than similarly qualified players (measured by college career statistics and NFL combine results) who have no history of suspensions or legal problems. Players who were suspended for at least one game during their college career for violations of team or university rules are drafted roughly 25 spots later than otherwise similar players with clean histories.

Weir and Wu studied three categories of "character/behavior" issues:

1. Players who were arrested but not charged.

2. Players who were arrested and charged.

3. Players who were suspended for another reason (but not arrested -- these are primarily due to violation of team rules, conflicts with coaches, etc.)

These were all measured against players with a "clean" record -- i.e., no arrests, charges or suspensions.

"From the years we studied, the effect of categories 2 and 3 is that they are strongly downgraded in the draft, while those in category 1 are not significantly downgraded," says Wu. "The primary measure of 'performance' is average games started, and using this measure, those who have been arrested but not charged perform better than those with no arrests, charges or suspensions. Players who were arrested and charged perform no better or worse than 'clean' players. And those who have been suspended for another reason perform significantly worse than the 'clean' group."

Wu says the bottom line is that if a GM is on the fence about drafting a player who has been in trouble with the law, it's worth taking a chance on him because the statistics show he's likely to outperform players with no prior problems.

Follow Will Hector: @WriterWithHeart

(Sources: Hamilton College; Science Daily)
About the Author
  • Will Hector practices psychotherapy at Heart in Balance Counseling Center in Oakland, California. He has substantial training in Attachment Theory, Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Psycho-Physical Therapy, and Formative Psychology. To learn more about his practice, click here: http://www.heartinbalancetherapy.com/will-hector.html
You May Also Like
OCT 08, 2020
Cardiology
Omega-3 Enriched Chicken as a Fish Alternative for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
OCT 08, 2020
Omega-3 Enriched Chicken as a Fish Alternative for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We have all seen those articles telling us to get more omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. Many studies point to these spec ...
OCT 05, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Gaining Insight Into the Connection Between Depression and Stress
OCT 05, 2020
Gaining Insight Into the Connection Between Depression and Stress
Depression is a common mental illness, and stress is known to be an environmental influence that can increase the risk o ...
OCT 05, 2020
Microbiology
Deadly Microbe Linked to Childhood Brain Disorder
OCT 05, 2020
Deadly Microbe Linked to Childhood Brain Disorder
Pediatric hydrocephalus - excessive fluid on the brain of a child - has been connected to a bacterial pathogen.
OCT 05, 2020
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Chemotherapy Trial Shows Encouraging Phase II Results
OCT 05, 2020
Cannabis Chemotherapy Trial Shows Encouraging Phase II Results
Even with the best anti-nausea medications one in three patients receiving chemotherapy experiences vomiting, and about ...
OCT 22, 2020
Health & Medicine
Vaping of Nicotine and Cannabis Mirror Each Other in Young People
OCT 22, 2020
Vaping of Nicotine and Cannabis Mirror Each Other in Young People
A new study has looked at whether nicotine and cannabis vaping follow similar trajectories from adolescence through to y ...
OCT 25, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
OCT 25, 2020
Revealing More About the Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma
Ewing sarcoma is a rare kind of cancer that tends to impact young people and occurs in bones or the tissue around them. ...
Loading Comments...