By Jason Carroll (CNN)-Aaron Hernandez' arrest on murder charges is the latest brush with the law associated with NFL players.
THESE PICTURES MAY LOOK LIKE A TEAM'S ROSTER. BUT IT ACTUALLY SHOWS MORE THAN TWO DOZEN PLAYERS ARRESTED FOR VARIOUS CRIMES, RANGING FROM D-U-I TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT, OVER THE PAST YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE NFL.
We don't know if there are convictions in any of these arrests and secondly its still a relatively small percent of all NFL players.
THE PERCENTAGE MAY BE SMALL BUT THE ARRESTS ATTRACT A SPOTLIGHT.
LIKE WHEN POLICE CHARGED ROOKIE LINEBACKER AUSAR WALCOTT WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER FOR BEATING A MAN OUTSIDE A NEW JERSEY CLUB THIS WEEK.
ALTHOUGH THEY BOTH PLEAD NOT GUILTY, WALCOTT AND HERNANDEZ BOTH HAD PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS WITH THE LAW.
The league finding themselves in a situation like not the least of which is at the team level, team player personnel executives looking past a players very public history especially in the case of aaron hernandez for the sake of what they can do for the team on the field.
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL TOUGHENED THE LEAGUE'S CONDUCT POLICY SIX YEARS AGO MAKING IT EASIER TO SANCTION PLAYERS FOR INFRACTIONS. GOODELL DECLINED OUR REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW.
BUT AN NFL SPOKESMAN TOLD CNN, "THE AVERAGE ARREST RATE PER YEAR OF NFL PLAYERS IS CONSISTENTLY LOWER THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION."
A few players can make the whole league look a certain way.
LIKE THE VAST MAJORITY OF NFL PLAYERS, CLEVELAND BROWNS SAFETY, TJ WARD, SAYS HE HAS NOT BEEN IN TROUBLE, BUT UNDERSTANDS HOW POWERFUL PERCEPTION CAN BE.
A couple issues can make you you know the whole league look a certain way. its all about perception especially in our society, it's all about what people see, it's not necessarily about what's true.
IF THE TRUTH LIES IN NUMBERS, CONSIDER THIS. NIELSEN RATINGS FOR THE PAST NFL REGULAR SEASON WERE THE HIGHEST IN A DECADE. DESPITE EVERYTHING, FANS KEEP WATCHING.
I sort of made a decision a long time ago to respect athletes for their performance on the field more so than for their behavior off the field.
I love football, so I'll probably be following, but we'll see.
JASON CARROLL, CNN, NEW YORK
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