Crime Amongst Athletes

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In recent history, the question has been asked, whether crime, at least in the violent sphere can be influenced by particular sports. A sport that is highly criticized for its contribution to crime is football and due to the unusual amount of news stories supporting this connection, the criticism seems to be warranted. But should it?

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On October 30th 2018, Rutgers junior linebacker Izaia Bullock was arrested for intending to murder two of his friend’s family members. It is reported he is now being charged with two counts of attempted murder in the first degree and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. Sadly, this recent case perpetuates the existing stereotype about football and its influence on crime. In addition, it continues the disconcerting trend that is, minorities are overwhelmingly being the perpetrators of these crimes. Furthermore, it is reported that black NFL players are arrested 10 times as often as white NFL players.  From Ray Rice to Aaron Hernandez, the NFL has had many issues with criminals in their ranks and for the most part, racial minorities are the offenders. This shines a bad light on said minorities as well as on contact sports in general. However, jumping to conclusions about contact sport being negative and minorities as being criminals is rather foolish. For one, contact sport being an influencer for a crime happens to be false for the most part and is stated by Jay Coakley and Peter Donnelly’s book Issues and Controversies, Sports in Society. The book reads “Research on U.S. high school students shows that delinquency rates among athletes are usually lower than rates for other students from similar backgrounds.” (166). Furthermore, the fact that minorities are typically the perpetrators of these crimes comes down to a slew of possible reasons. Reasons such as poverty, the fact that the number of minorities in football is much larger than whites and thus exhibits a much larger sample size, and the prevalent terrors of CTE.

There has been much research and thought put into this subject and for good reason, as sports depict in a lot of cases the society in which it is present. Furthermore, getting to the bottom of questions such as, do sports influence criminal behavior? and why do certain races commit more crime than other? is essential. To that token, I invite you the reader to think about these questions and put in your own research. A great resource that can be used to start this is exploration is: A Social Psychological Analysis of Anomie Among National Football League Players.


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