Athlete Arrests Highlight Larger African-American Issue


The focus of the sports world has been on former Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Titus Young for the past week. His staggering 4 arrests in May have brought light to a problem that the NFL and society as a whole shares. Impoverished Americans, specifically African-Amercans for the purpose of this article, make up a large percentage of the NFL. Black athletes comprise 67% of the NFL and the majority come from rough upbringings.

That mentality, coupled with these athletes’ childhood peers and expendable income, is a volatile mixture. The 19 NFL players have been arrested since the start of 2013. Of those players 4 were arrested multiple times and only two weren’t African-American.

According to‘s research on African American incarcaration the NFL isn’t far off from the National average.

The incarceration rate for African-Americans is about 3,074 per 100,000 residents, which is more than six times as high as the national average.

We can assume from the given data that the national average of black men in jail at a given time is 3%. The NFL has 1,696 active players during the season, 32 teams x 53 man-roster. 67% of the 1,696 would give us a rough number of Black athletes in the NFL.

The league is then comprised of 1,136 Black players. Using our earlier number of 17 Black players, two were non-black and thus aren’t being calculated,that have been arrested already in 2013 we will double that to represent the rest of the year. Now we have 34 of the 1,136 African-American players in the NFL incarcerated during the calendar year. That give us an average of .0299, which rounded up is exactly the same as the National average.

Stories such as Young’s seem to get more attention because of the popularity of the NFL, but it’s important to remember that the problem is much larger than just the NFL. It is a cultural problem that effects all African-Americans and until the youth is properly educated the percentage will only grow.

Sadly, Titus Young isn’t out of the norm and he is just another drop in a sea of bad decisions.

5 thoughts on “Athlete Arrests Highlight Larger African-American Issue

  • this is weird, although i want more info. white players are covered differently. jonny manziel, marshall henderson have “personality”, ben rothlisberger has had “incidents”, tom brady got two women pregnant never mentioned, larry bird had an illegitimate daughter forgotten, two yankees swife swapped in the 70’s i heard about it 2013, when two italians commit a crime what is it? what about two mexicans? two australians? but black people get a special term black on black crime

  • 17 or 19 arrests? 3.3%

  • The root of the problem, for black pro athletes and black men in general, lies in HOW and WHERE these young men were raised. It’s no secret that 70% of black people in this country are born to single mothers and a majority of those mothers reared these children while poor and living in the ghetto. Often times the fathers are absent and the mothers are barely fit to raise their children properly. Couple that with the fact that these kids are growing up surrounded by a culture of high-crime and bad behavior which has much more influence on them than their subpar parents and you have the perfect recipe for high incarceration of young black males.

    If we ever want to seriously address this issue we need to start addressing the elephant in the room: too many broken and/or un-fit families raising our black youth.

    • Her ye, hear ye!

  • Comparing NFL players, who’ve essentially “hit the lottery,” with the “average” African-American male, is farcical. Blaming their adult behavior choices as millionaires on their ghetto upbringing sends the wrong message; likewise, the endless second chances the NFL (and other pro sports leagues) provides teaches young brothers that consequences are minimal or non-existent. No wonder they tell their mommas and teachers and police to f**k off.

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