WASHINGTON: NFL player arrests and citations beyond speeding tickets are at their lowest for any year since 2000, according to newspaper databases tracking those figures, after a revised personal-conduct policy.
Only 35 NFL players have run afoul of the law in 2015, according to USA Today and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and just two since the NFL season began in September. That’s less than half the 71 players from 2006 and below the lows of 39 from 2000 and 2004.
“We’re encouraged by this progress but understand we have more work to do,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today. “It is a positive reflection on the players and our educational, preventative and deterrence programs.”
Changes came in the wake of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his future wife, Janay, in an Atlantic City casino elevator, the video of which became a sports news staple and led to Rice being dropped and unsigned by any team in the NFL although many could use a talented, rested and experienced 29-year-old rusher.
“I went to a real dark place,” Rice said on the Dan Patrick radio show Thursday, calling it a “nightmare.”
“We had been drinking. It was a long night. It just was one of those situations… I’m a better man than that. It was the worst decision of my life.”
Rice said he mentors in New Jersey but wants to return to the NFL, saying he sensed there might be a chance earlier in the season but as the campaign has run to its final weeks, he sees less chance.
“You feel ashamed, you feel embarrassed. There were people out there that took a different approach, like I was a different person. It gave me hope,” Rice said.
Rice’s fate might also have provided NFL players with an object lesson about what will not be tolerated.
“My wife and I still have to live the rest of our life. In February, we’ll be two years removed from the incident. It feels like yesterday.”