That celebrity aspect is critical when you’re trying to put such stories into perspective, according to Dan Lebowitz, the executive director for the Sports in Society center at Boston’s Northeastern University.
Because “celebrity culture drives the news cycle” and because star athletes are celebrities, he says, these kinds of stories are read and spread everywhere. Yet even if it might seem that way, it doesn’t change the fact that — when compared with crime rates for all adult males — professional athletes are no more likely to kill someone, get arrested for a gun crime or be convicted of domestic violence.
“It’s upsetting, and it stands out,” Lebowitz says of news about alleged killings, rapes, abuse and other horrific acts involving athletes. “But that doesn’t mean it’s (endemic).”