The Corner

Domestic Violence in NFL Has Decreased under Goodell

You won’t hear this from the media too busy calling for Roger Goodell’s head, but the facts show that, under Goodell’s tenure, the domestic-violence rate among NFL players has actually decreased. He should be commended rather than attacked.

A Think Progress article on Thursday claimed that “57 players [have been] arrested for domestic-violence incidents since 2006.” Why does Think Progress measure since 2006? Presumably because that’s the year Goodell became commissioner. The inference the reader is supposed to make is: that dastardly Goodell!

But I did some digging. Think Progress links to an ABC News article for this “fact” which states: “Since Goodell took over as commissioner in August 2006, USA Today reports that there have been 57 cases of alleged domestic-violence incidents.” That article, in turn, links to a now non-existent USA Today article. The liberal Think Progress apparently does not bother to confirm an inflammatory, serious statistic such as this — but rather just repeats what it saw online.

Nonetheless, the helpful USA Today compilation of all NFL player arrests, dating back to 2000, is online for any to see.

Were there really 57 NFL players arrested for alleged domestic violence since Goodell took the helm? No.

Goodell came into office September 1, 2006 (not August, as reported above). From September 1, 2006, to the present day, there were 48 domestic-violence arrests of NFL players (five of those involved the same two players, but let’s discuss arrests, as individual incidents are a better barometer of the problem). Since it’s impossible to change or affect an organization’s culture immediately, let’s judge Goodell after giving him a reasonable four months to settle into the role and effect change — i.e., let’s take a look at his record starting from January 1, 2007. From that date to the present, we have 45 domestic-violence arrests under Goodell’s tenure.

Sure, that number still seems a cause for concern. But, let’s look at the average per year. Forty-five domestic-violence arrests spread across Goodell’s eight years (assuming no further arrests in the next three months) equals an average of 5.6 arrests per year.

Nonetheless, we need a comparison point. Since Goodell is the problem, we are told by the media, surely NFL statistics on this were superior prior to Goodell . . .?

Wrong! I took a look at the domestic-violence arrests from the year 2000 through the year 2006, the pre-Goodell era. For that period, we have 43 domestic-violence arrests. Spread out over seven years, that equals an average of 6.1 arrests per year. Hence, the amount of domestic violence actually decreased under Roger Goodell.

If an average of 5.6 domestic-violence arrests per year, out of roughly 2,000 players in a league, nonetheless still seems high to you, take a look at the national averages for men in the age range of NFL players. NFL players’ arrest rate is drastically lower than that of the general public. (Also worth noting: Many of these arrests are questionable. For instance, one player was arrested for domestic violence because he was accused of breaking a sliding glass door and criminally trespassing in a dispute with his wife. Another arrest was for “getting into a heated argument with his wife, who locked herself in the car to get away from him.” That’s violence? You bet, under our ridiculously written laws.)

Instead of keeping busy with hysterical calls for Roger Goodell’s head, people should stop and employ statistical science. Unlike the leftist media intent on smearing Goodell as a domestic-violence enabler, numbers don’t lie.

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