NFL player arrests are a massive topic among fans. It feels like every other day you hear about an athlete getting into trouble. It makes the players look bad, as well as the league, and the sport as a whole. When you get into it, you may be surprised to find out that NFL player arrests are quite a bit lower than the average for the general population. There have been quite a few researchers have looked into the topic. One of them is Benjamin Morris of FiveThirtyEight.com, who compared the arrest rates of specific crimes between NFLers and the rates among men aged 25 - 29.
He found that arrest rates for more common crimes, such as DUIs and drug related offenses, are significantly lower among NFLers. Whereas less common crimes, murder in particular, are much closer; but are still committed less frequently by NFLers.
Of course, this isn't to say that NFLers are a beacon of light in a world filled with darkness and chaos. As socioeconomic status improves, you can expect arrest rates to decline. NFL players make quite a bit more than your average 20 year old, so naturally you'd expect them to have a lower arrest rate. The point of all this is to show that NFLers get arrested about as much as you'd expect.
The statistics themselves really aren't that special. However, the individual cases most definitely are. It feels like the NFL has the market cornered on weird arrests. After reading them you have absolutely no idea what was going through their head. It's nearly impossible to see it from their point of view.
If you look through your local news stories you can usually find a head scratching case here and there. If you look through stories on NFL player arrests, you'll find a seemingly endless steam of crazy cases. But, instead of pouring through all of them, here are the 15 strangest and most absurd.
15 Nate Newton - Arrested for Marijuana
An NFLer being arrested for marijuana is likely the least surprising story anyone could ever read. But this one is special, for a few reasons.
First of all, Nate Newton, a three-time Superbowl champion and six-time Pro Bowler, was caught with over 200 lbs of marijuana in his car. Of course, at that point it isn't for recreational use. Newton was intending to distribute it (which he pleaded guilty to). That leads into the second strange part, why did the former NFL star turn to dealing drugs? NFL players quickly becoming broke after they retire is hardly a rare occurrence. But resorting to something like this is something only a desperate man would do. The third and final part of this absurd story is that it happened twice. Just six weeks later, Newton was caught with 175 lbs. After you get caught once, it's probably a good time to stop. Afterwards, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison.
14 Titus Young - Arrested Twice in One Day
Titus Young is well known by fans as one of the most troubled NFLers in recent memory. Young was constantly in legal trouble and never seemed to get it worked out. He only played two seasons and has been out of the NFL since 2013.
For those who aren't as familiar with Young, we can look back a few years to get a glimpse of some of the trouble he got in. On one occasion, he was arrested for suspicion of DUI. It's a very dangerous and reckless thing to do, but not a charge that is really that uncommon.
The trouble is, when his car was impounded, he attempted to steal it back. He was promptly arrested again, for burglary this time. That's two arrests in less than 24 hours.
13 Fred Smoot - Love Boat Scandal
This was a massive scandal that involved several members of the Minnesota Vikings. Basically, Fred Smoot organized a party on two yachts that were owned by a strip club. But that of course, wasn't all. The party involved many women who were paid for more than just stripping.
More than that, crew members who worked for the company were offered money in exchange for sex. It was out of control and the employees quickly became concerned for their safety. The planned 3.5 hour trip was cut short and returned back only 40 minutes once the management found out what was going on. Strangely, when it was all said and done, only four players ended up getting charged.
12 Kenyatta Jones - Attempting to Urinate on a Dance Floor
Kenyatta Jones, formerly a member of the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins, was arrested in 2008 after apparently attempting to urinate on a dance floor and for shoving a police officer. Attempting to urinate on a dance floor is incredibly weird. But unfortunately, no one has gone into the details regarding this incident. Personally, I'm incredibly curious and confused as to how exactly that went down. The best explanation I can come up with is that there was probably a lot of alcohol involved. Way more than there ever should be.
11 Randy Moss - Hit an Officer With his Car
When you hear that Moss hit an officer with his car, it doesn't sound like that big of a deal. Fender benders happen all the time, right? Well that isn't what happened here. Moss attempted to make an illegal turn when a traffic control officer tried to stop him. He very slowly pushed her for half a block before knocking her down with his Lexus. This isn't a case of him turning without properly checking (which would have been bad enough). He attempted to frighten her into moving. He was well aware of what he was doing, it wasn't a mistake.
10 John Boyett - "You Can't Arrest me; I'm a Colts Player"
Most people are very familiar with how often NFL players get arrested because it comes up so much. Most players have had that as a goal since high school, if not before. Surely at some point the topic of NFL player arrests has come up, right?
Not for John Boyett. The Colts rookie was arrested on charges of disorderly public intoxication. After being caught he repeatedly told police that they couldn't arrest him because he was a Colts player. Unsurprisingly, that arrogant defense didn't work and he was soon let go by the team.
9 Henry Melton - Sued for Biting Bar Owner
Things got heated in a bar that defensive lineman Henry Melton was at and he was asked to leave. That ended up leading to a fight, where four men attempted to remove Melton. In the process, the owner of the bar was bitten near the kidney. To be fair, there were two sides to this. following the event, both sides had planned to sue, but the bar owner was the first to the punch. As a result, all the headlines were from his perspective. Melton claimed he was attacked by the employees of the bar and that the lawsuit was nothing but a "money grab." In the end though, Melton ended up settling out of court rather than seeing everything play out.
8 Onterrio Smith - Whizzinator
Onterrio Smith was stopped at an airport because he had a suspicious substance. It turned out to be dried urine. As weird as that is, there's more. He was also caught with a device called "The Original Whizzinator." Its purpose is to produce a clean urine test, something that pretty much anyone could've guessed. The device is a prosthetic penis that is filled with a mixture of water and dried urine. NFL drug tests require an observer as well as the player to almost completely strip. I doubt using a "Whizzinator" would just slip by.
7 Aldon Smith - Bomb Threat
At this point, you would expect that everyone knows that calling in a bomb threat is not okay. Especially if you're talking about an airport. Aldon Smith is somebody who absolutely knows that it isn't okay. But that's only because he got arrested for it a few years ago. Thankfully for him, after a hearing several months afterwards, it was decided that he wouldn't face charges. Smith is another incredibly talented player who continues to get into legal trouble. After recently being signed by the Raiders, it appears he will have one more shot; likely his last if he can't stay out of trouble.
6 Raheem Brock - Bailed on a $27 Bill
Raheem Brock was arrested outside a Philadelphia night club during the 2011 off season for skipping out on a 27$ bar tab.
Apparently, this was primarily caused by a woman who was with Brock. She wanted something to eat that the restaurant did not offer. So she went across the street, got what she wanted and brought it back. Unfortunately this was against the establishment's rules. She refused when asked to put it away and defiantly kept eating the food (which is something a toddler would do). The server who was waiting on the group described her as being "colorful" and "angry." The general impression was that they had been causing a degree of trouble and inconvenience all night. They were asked to leave and complied. However, the neglected the 27$ bar tab. The restaurant workers, who were clearly and understandably not in a forgiving mood, then called the police.
5 Chad Johnson - 30 Days in Jail for a Butt Slap
Chad Johnson had violated his probation and was facing 30 days in jail. He was working on a plea deal that would get him out of jail time. It was going his way too. However, in a premature celebration, he slapped his male attorney on the butt. The judge was less than thrilled. She rejected the plea negotiations because she didn't like that Johnson was joking around in court. On one hand, it feels like the judge overreacted quite a bit. On the other, court is not the place to joke around and every adult should know that.
4 D.C. Jefferson - DUI
DUIs happen all the time, to NFLers and regular people. So what makes this one special? Jefferson veered into the wrong lane and sideswiped another vehicle. He then drove off. But it wasn't him attempting to flee the scene to avoid a DUI. When the police eventually stopped him, he was reportedly very cooperative. However, they claim the rookie tight end told them he didn't believe he was in a collision. If you're in a car accident and don't realize it, you are way, way, way too drunk.
3 Najeh Davenport - Burglary and Defecation
While a burglary charge isn't too strange, it's a little hard to imagine why an NFL player would bother to break into someone else's place. Given the fact that most often people do that to steal things and money isn't really something NFLers lack. But even still, it's not terribly weird. It's what he did inside that makes this strange. Najeh Davenport broke into a woman's dorm room and defecated in her laundry hamper. Why would anyone do that, you ask? Well, the world will probably (perhaps hopefully) never know.
2 Louis Murphy - Arrested for Viagra
The story here (or at least one side of it) is that Murphy was playing music too loudly from his SUV. Police attempted to pull him over and the receiver refused to comply. When they eventually detained him, it took three officers to do so. Later on, Murphy agreed to have his car searched. A bottle of Viagra with the label torn off was found. He claimed he tore it off because he didn't want his girlfriend to know; a reason that few people would question. But if he gave the police as much trouble as they claim, it's not overly surprising that they weren't feeling very lenient. Among other things, he was charged with drug possession without a valid prescription.
1 Plaxico Burress - Accidentally Shot Himself
Plaxico Burress was the Giants star wideout during their miracle Super Bowl win following the 2007 season. However, the fame didn't last too long for him. Shortly after, Burress had an 'incident' at a nightclub where he accidentally shot himself in the thigh. Usually that would be bad enough on its own. However, the hand gun wasn't licensed in New York. As a result, late in 2009 Burress accepted a plea deal for a lesser firearms charge that resulted in a 2 year prison sentence. Shooting yourself is very embarrassing. Going to jail for shooting yourself is many times worse.