More than a few pundits have condemned miscreants in pro football, but the truth hurts their argument: NFL players are actually incarcerated less than the average citizen.
The numbers don't lie. One in every 45 National Football League players (2.2 percent) is arrested. The national arrest rate is 1 in 23 (4.2 percent), according to the FBI in 2010.
What does that mean? Technically, NFL players get in 47.6 percent less trouble than your average Joe.
When Mike the butcher gets a DUI, it's not news. But when Steve the cornerback gets busted for public intoxication, it becomes a story.
WCCO Minnesota's Jason DeRusha reports that in 2010, the NBA had by far the highest arrest rate (5.1 percent) of the major professional sports leagues in America. Major League Baseball is second with an arrest rate of 2.1 percent last year. Believe it or not, the NFL is last with (2.0 percent) of its players in trouble.
Each NBA team can have a maximum of 15 players on its roster, with 12 dressing for each game. With 30 teams, that equates to 450 players. Only 23 were arrested in 2010.
NFL teams are allowed 53 players on their rosters (plus five man practice squad). With 32 teams, that calculates to a total of 1,696 players. The League saw only 34 players arrested a year ago.
In Major League Baseball, there are 750 players -- 30 teams with 25 players each. That doesn't include the 40-man roster, which if included, would up the total players to 1,200. Sixteen baseball players were arrested for major drug and violent crimes in 2010.
Within the NFL, Minnesota Vikings players are actually 66 percent more likely to be arrested than players on an average NFL team.
WCCO Minnesota took a look at the pattern of National Football League players getting into trouble after Vikes
cornerback Chris Cook was arrested over the weekend for felony domestic assault. Cook's transgressions gave the Vikings the NFL lead with 36 players arrested since 2000.
The perception is that the Cincinnati Bengals are the problem children of the criminal justice system, but the "Bungles" are now second with 35 arrests, while the Denver Broncos take home the unwanted bronze medal with 32 arrests. (This is according to the NFL arrest database maintained by the San Diego Union-Tribune over of the past 11 years.)
One in 15 Vikings players have been arrested (6.6 percent) over that period of time, from Randy Moss to Fred Smoot. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.
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