Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Do Pro Athletes Commit Crimes at Unusually High Rates?

Lawrence Delevingne of The Business Insider explores athletes and crime in a recent piece. He interviews Geoff, Duke Law Prof Lisa Kern Griffin, and me. Here's an excerpt:
But pro athletes aren't actually more likely to commit crimes that the average citizen. It just seems that way because of all the attention their cases get.

"I don't think there's any empirical evidence showing that professional athletes are more likely to commit crimes than the typical person," says Michael McCann, a sports law expert at Vermont Law School.

Most players are "just regular citizens that follow the law and are as good or as bad as the rest of us," McCann says. "We're definitely skewed...because a handful of players get in trouble repeatedly."

Geoffrey Rapp, a law professor at University of Toledo, says he hasn't seen evidence to show there's more criminality among athletes, but the cases that arise make sense. "We're talking about people who their whole lives have been praised...for being violent."

"It's possible that athletes become a bit de-sensitized to the consequences of their actions," says Rapp. Plus, when people are wealthy, they "tend to think they can get away with murder."

But it's wrong to assume pros get off easy.

Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor at Duke Law, says that while sports stars may be better represented because of their wealth, "I don't think that athletes are treated differently in the courtroom." Plus, all the attention can mean they don't get off with small infractions that others may not be prosecuted for, says Griffin.

For the rest, click here.


I think pro athletes and their relationship to crime is a result of, at least, their high profile lives and professions and the media. Fortunately for most of us, we are not under the constant scrutiny of the external population which includes media as well as its viewers. Athletes are also subject to unique brands of employment where restrictions on diet, sleeping patterns and relationships. More akin to military service than a civil service job, athletes are more likely to commit crimes that we hear about because, unfortunately, a large population of people are watching and listening to their lives.

Blogger The Jesus Formerly Known as AC Green -- 10/30/2009 9:06 AM  

I just wonder which side Prof. Griffin took when several of her school's lacrosse team were falsely accused--and whether she was one of the 88 faculty members...?? And did she say anything in their defense or not?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 11/08/2009 2:41 AM  

Post a Comment