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 RT.com‘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.