It seems like every time you turn on ESPN or open the newspaper up to the sports page, there is another story about a professional athlete who has run into trouble with law enforcement. One of the most common headlines seems to be over drunk driving charges. But how common are those charges?
A recent study of DUI-related data collected between June 5, 2011 and June 5, 2012 showed that the average driver is more likely to get arrested than a professional athlete. According to the data, one in every 149 licensed drivers will be arrested for a DUI/DWI offense. Each year, one in 160 NFL players, one in 237.5 NBA players and only one in every 325 MLB ballplayers will be taken into custody for an alcohol-related offense.
Now, while this study included every known arrest of an NFL, NBA or MLB athlete, it did not include other controlling factors. For instance, we all know that professional athletes on average tend to make a little more money than the average Seattle resident -- or most Americans for that matter. Their ability to hire private drivers, stay in the hotel for the night and other driving-avoiding solutions may play a role in the lowered arrest rate.
But why does this data even matter? Who cares? Does it mean that we should see professional athletes in a different light? While the data probably won't change the perception of professional athletes in many of our readers' minds, what is important to note is that more drivers are arrested under suspicion of drunk driving than one might think.
Law enforcement officials do not hesitate to make an arrest for a blood alcohol level even 0.01 over the legal limit. An arrest can mean license suspension, fines or even jail time, which is why it is also important for those arrested to provide a meaningful defense to the charges.
Source: SB Nation, "Are Pro Athletes More Likely To Get Arrested For DUI?" Jon Bois, June 6, 2012