Domestic violence is a problem with professional athletes, but a Kansas City psychologist says it is not worse than the U.S. population as a whole.
Athletes are paid very well to harness their aggressive natures in the arena, so it may seem logical to believe they are more likely to act violently with their wives and children. High profile cases like the ones involving Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice can feed into the stereotype of the violent athlete. Hill and his fiancee both deny harming their young son. Neither has been arrested.
Domestic violence is more likely in homes where an adult has grown up in violent surroundings, said Dr. Linda Moore, psychologist.
“The reason the history is so important, is we can point to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of professional athletes who are not acting out anger in their lives,” Moore said.
Statistics show the National Football League’s arrest rate for domestic violence is only half that of the national average. There have been multiple articles published in recent years on the subject of crime and the NFL, including here and here.
Anger management is not a “one and done” proposition, Moore said. Rage can be deep-seated, and ongoing therapy is usually needed.
“Anger management is necessary, typically, in terms of abuse, however, if it’s not followed up by ongoing therapy, root causes may sometimes go undetected,” Moore said.
Rice, who was caught on surveillance video punching his future wife during an argument on an elevator, now speaks about the remorse he feels for his actions. Rice gives talks for young football players to encourage them to develop into better men.