Crunching the Numbers on NFL Arrests

The NFL made it through the month of September without a single player arrested.  Good for them!  If that doesn’t seem newsworthy I should note that it’s the first time this has happened since 2009.  This might seem like nothing to be proud of, but I think the League tends to get a bad rap as a collective of criminals.

There are just under 1,700 players in the NFL.  In a country where about .8% of adults are incarcerated, an arrest rate of 1 in 1,700 per month seems standard.  According to the Wall Street Journal, just over half of adult men in the United States will be arrested at some point in their lives.

An American man’s life expectancy is 76.4, or about 917 months.  So, doing some very rough math, half of American men have a 1 in 917 chance of being arrested in any given month.  So the average American man has half that chance, or 1 in 1,834.  (That’s not accounting for the presumed fact that there are certain times in a person’s life when they are far less likely to be arrested, such as in infancy or old age.  We can assume those numbers would support the finding that men in their 20’s and 30’s are more likely to be arrested than most other age groups.)

So, based purely on the numbers, from a random sampling of 1,700 American men we can expect to see an arrest in almost every month.  That means the NFL is essentially on par with the nation as a whole.  Then again, I haven’t looked at arrest statistics for Americans with a minimum salary of $420,000 a year…

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