Call it an oversight, but it appears the media has not chosen to focus on the many arrests that have been made to NFL players lately. It also makes one wonder if Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken notice of the unfortunate pattern of unlawful behavior by his own players.
According to the NFL Arrests Database, there have been 23 arrests since the start of this year, and that list is actually excluding the widely publicized arrest of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, and the most recent arrest of Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil.
The charges include assault, marijuana possession, and most frequently, DUI. Of the 23 listed by the NFL Arrests Database from 2012, 9 of them are on suspicion of drunk driving or DUI. Nick Fairley managed to make the list twice in less than two months on charges of both DUI and marijuana possession. Peterson’s arrest remains questionable, having been charged with resisting arrest. Yet it has not been revealed what Peterson did to be able to resist arrest in the first place.
With Bountygate and other scandals surrounding the New Orleans Saints this offseason, they are viewed as the NFL’s bad boys right now. Ironically they have no arrests listed since 2010 when DE Will Smith was arrested on domestic abuse charges. So who’s the winning team so far this year for off-field illegal activity? If you guessed the Detroit Lions, you are absolutely correct. Lions players have been arrested six times so far in 2012. Watch out Vikings, Detroit is giving you a run for your money.
Naturally the question arises on whether the commish known to rule his league with an iron fist should crack down more severely on players in legal trouble. For many of the players in the database, no disciplinary action by their respective teams is listed. There is the matter of the player-conduct policy that exists to, well, prevent behavior like this.
Players have been criticized (especially since Braylon Edward’s 2010 arrest) for not utilizing the league’s free car service program. However the players themselves have their own criticisms of the Safe Rides Program, saying that it is untrustworthy. Some think the drivers are spies or are weary that the number of times they use the program will be counted and used against them come contract negotiating time. Still, no excuse for a wealthy athlete to drive under the influence. Surely they can afford their own car service among so many other options available to remain safe. You would think Donte’ Stallworth’s accident and jail time would have made more athletes wise up.
I do think if the arrest pattern continues as is that harsher penalties should be involved. Show them that breaking the law weighs more heavily than breaking the NFL on field rules. The NBA already holds a title of employing the “bad boy” athletes. I’d hate to see the NFL go that route as well.