Story highlights

A new study shows that the arrest rate for the general population was nearly twice as high compared to NFL players from 2000 to 2013

The study compared arrest rates among 1,952 NFL players to arrest rates among males between ages 20-39 in the general population from 2000 to 2013

NFL: "We have long recognized that arrest rates of NFL players are far below the general population"

(CNN) —  

Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. Greg Hardy. Ray McDonald. All of them are current or former NFL players that generated numerous headlines for their run-ins with the law.

Go back further, and more names surface, like Michael Vick for dogfighting. The numerous arrests of Adam “Pacman” Jones. Or Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself in a nightclub.

In the last decade, the headlines and coverage generated from stories about NFL player arrests can make it sound like the NFL is full of criminals.

But is it? According to a new study, the numbers don’t support that narrative.

Research done by the University of Texas at Dallas shows that the arrest rate for all men of the same general age group was nearly twice as high than as that of NFL players from 2000 to 2013.

“There’s a perception that the NFL has this huge crime problem and that it’s longstanding,” said Dr. Alex Piquero, a professor of criminology at UT Dallas who was one of the authors of the study. “That’s what everybody believes. The data show that it’s not true.”