In 2006, National Football League players were arrested or cited at least 71 times for various alleged crimes. The problem got so bad that the league cracked down after hiring Roger Goodell as commissioner that August. Another surge of criminal cases disrupted the league in 2013 and 2014.
Since new policies were adopted in 2015, player arrests and criminal citations have dropped to about 38 per year since then, compared to about 57 per year in the 10 previous years, reports USA Today.
Drunk driving arrests are down to about nine per year since January 2015, compared to 15 per year from 2005-2014. Domestic abuse arrests dipped from about seven per year from 2005-2014 to about five per year since 2015.
“I think we’re a much more enlightened population, and that makes us stronger and better and I think also has an impact on actions,” said Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president for social responsibility. “I think you see the results in actions by incidents going down.”
The league still considers one arrest to be too many. At the same time, the data shows that the league experienced a watershed year in 2014, leading to changes that seem to be lasting. Isaacson said the league has beefed-up educational programs to help players and staff gain broader understanding of sexual assault and domestic violence beyond just “how to stay out of trouble.”
The NFL also has increased the discipline for first-time domestic violence offenses to six-game suspensions. See Also ‘Off-Field Violence by NFL Players Not the Norm’