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Arrest rate drops significantly for NFL

As the PFT “days without an arrest” meter continues to climb toward 70, a record that is getting extended every day, the big picture confirms the significant drop in criminal allegations against NFL players and league/team employees.

According to a report obtained by Jane McManus of ESPN.com, arrests have dropped by 39 percent since January 1, 2015, in comparison to the same period of 2014. It’s also a 44-percent reduction in comparison to the yearly average from 2007 through 2014.

“I think we will have a much better idea with a few more years of data, but that’s a significant decrease,” said Lisa Friel, hired last year by the NFL to oversee investigations regarding off-field misconduct. “A 39-percent decrease is really significant, and I think that’s a result of all the education we have done, and that education has been reinforced by the clubs.”

And so the embarrassments of 2014 -- from the Greg Hardy case to the Ray Rice case to the Adrian Peterson case -- have resulted in the kind of change that happens only if the situation becomes so dire that it forces an organization to respond in a meaningful way. For the players generally, the changes made to the Personal Conduct Policy have served as a clear warning regarding the increased consequences of breaking the law and/or simply being accused of it.

It’s working for now; the challenge becomes ensuring compliance with the Personal Conduct Policy in the offseason, when players are left to their own devices, beyond the structure that comes from having access to the players on a continuous basis.