Nader Here Nor There

Nader Here Nor There: Why Do Athletes Keep Committing Crimes? Who Knows

Fans shouldn’t be so quick to give athletes the benefit of the doubt, because given how much money fans pay to support them, they should expect more in return. Anders Henrikson//Flickr

nader-here-nor-thereEvery time it happens, we’re shocked. Every time it happens, we think everyone following the story learned a lesson. But for some reason, every time it happens, there’s a next time. And every time it happens, fans have the same question: why?

Why don’t athletes take advantage of their fortunate circumstances and stay out of trouble? Why do they keep committing violent crimes? It seems as if stories about athletes getting in trouble with the law pop up in the news more often than naked pictures of Kim Kardashian, which means it happens at an alarming rate.

Just like Kim K, though, the majority of these athletes are millionaires. Why is that important? Well, because crime rates tend to decrease when income increases, according to a 2002 study by World Bank economists. But with athletes, the increase in income doesn’t seem to impact the crime rate.

Take the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane. He’s one of the NHL’s golden boys and biggest superstars, and he’s about to be the highest-paid player in the league when his new eight-year deal kicks in this season; yet he’s being investigated for allegedly raping a woman in his Buffalo-area home.

There’s also Ray McDonald, a former Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, who has a long list of arrests and indictments. McDonald was arrested and charged with rape in 2014. The 49ers released him from his contract, but the Chicago Bears gave him a second chance in March. McDonald signed what was considered a small contract for a player of his caliber when he agreed to a one-year deal worth just more than $1 million.

But of course, he only lasted two months with the Bears before he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment in May. The Bears released him within hours of his arrest. McDonald was arrested again two days later and indicted for violating a domestic violence restraining order. Then, in August, McDonald was also indicted by a grand jury on the 2014 rape charge. McDonald faces a maximum of eight years in prison for his crimes.

That might seem like it’s just one idiot making millions of dollars who doesn’t know how to control himself, but that’s not the case. WNBA star Brittney Griner, former NBA MVP Derrick Rose and U.S. soccer star Hope Solo have all faced allegations or been indicted for violent crimes in the past year.

Aren’t fans tired of putting in so much time, money and effort to supporting these athletes while getting so little in return from some of them? Because I sure am. I don’t care who the athletes are, if they commit a violent crime, they need to go.

I know athletes are people too, and we sometimes forget that when we talk about their personal lives. But people rarely get second chances in the real world after rape or domestic violence charges. Most employers ask potential employees if they’ve been charged with a felony, and some are immediately taken out of consideration if they have a felony on their record. Why isn’t criminal history taken as seriously with professional athletes?

Well, because professional athletes are in their own world, and they play by their own rules. Maybe it’s time we stop being shocked every time an athlete is arrested for a violent crime, and maybe it’s time we stop thinking a lesson has been learned. Because based on recent history, this isn’t a problem that’s going to be fixed any time soon.

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Nader is a senior pursuing dual degrees in broadcast journalism and sport management. He grew up in Lombard, IL, meaning he has suffered through being a Chicago sports fan his entire life. But hey, the Cubs just won the World Series, so it was worth it.

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