Study: How Frequently Pro Athletes Actually Get Arrested And Which Sports’ Athletes Get Arrested The Most

If you’ve ever wondered how often pro (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) athletes and NCAA athletes actually get arrested then you can stop wondering, because we’ve got those numbers. A lot of you might be quite shocked by these numbers, because we tend to associate pro athletes with reckless abandon. We do that because news outlets like ESPN sensationalize every single arrest by a professional athlete, and give those arrests 24/7/365 coverage when it behooves their ratings.

When we might see hours upon hours of ESPN’s airtime devoted to an athlete’s arrest our mind’s begin to associate athletes with getting arrested much more frequently than the general population, but this is not true. In fact, NFL athletes actually get arrested less often than the general population. Samuel W Bennett of ‘Get Data‘ put together these visualizations of just how often athletes of every sport get arrested, and again I feel the need to emphasize that the numbers might shock you because you’re used to seeing ESPN’s year-round coverage of athletes getting arrested:

That means that the percentage of NBA players getting arrested is 8x more than MLB athletes, which is just a staggering amount. Of course those numbers are only going back five years, so if you were to go back 10, 15, or 25 I’m sure they’d fluctuate some. What I do find interesting though is that he included NCAA athlete arrests. One thing I’d love to see put into graphical representation is this ESPN OTL article, using the same data from 2009 to 2014, showing how the University of Florida Gators LEADS THE NATION IN ATHLETE ARRESTS.

For more on the ‘WHY’ of these athletes getting arrested more in the NBA vs. other pro sports you can CLICK HERE to read up on Get Data’s analysis.