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WVU Sports Economist: Does crime pay in the NFL?

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  A paper co-authored by sports economist Dr. Brad Humphreys at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics shows that NFL players who were arrested actually earned more than those who were not. Humphreys, an associate professor of Economics, presented a paper earlier this year analyzing NFL players who were arrested between 2000 and 2009:

… “The NFL’s core product involves some activities that would not be acceptable off the football field,” he said. “Successful football players take extreme risks and dish out punishment to their opponents, and earn higher salaries because of this behavior. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make a successful NFL player may be associated with poor decisions off the field. The results in this paper are consistent with the idea that the NFL values on-field behavior more highly than off-field behavior.”

In other words, this research on the relationship between arrests and earnings tell us that players in the NFL did not suffer diminished earnings as the result of their arrests. In fact, those who were arrested actually earned more.

“We find arrests in the observed years positively impact both a player’s base salary and cap value,” the study said. “It did not impact a player’s total compensation.” …

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