High Robbery Rate Gives NBA Players Reason to Carry Arms
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January 10th, 2010 07:45 PM
High Robbery Rate Gives NBA Players Reason to Carry Arms
High Robbery Rate Gives NBA Players Reason to Carry Arms - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com
Some people ask why a man who stands 6-foot-4, weighs 215 pounds and doesn't have an ounce of fat on him needs to carry a gun.
But Gilbert Arenas is not an anonymous physical specimen. He's a player for the NBA's Washington Wizards. And statistics show that the point guard's fame and recognition make him much more likely than the average man on the street to become the victim of a violent crime.
Arenas, who has no previous criminal record, was indefinitely suspended without pay Wednesday by NBA Commissioner David Stern for bringing unloaded guns into his team's locker room. Federal and local authorities are looking into criminal charges, particularly possible violations of the District of Columbia's strict gun laws.
In suspending Arenas, Stern said: "The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us."
While Stern was originally expected to wait for the outcome of the investigations before acting, he reportedly felt compelled to suspend Arenas immediately when the extent of Arenas' actions — and his consequent behavior — became known.
On Tuesday, the day before he was suspended, Arenas pointed his index fingers at an opposing player, purportedly mimicking guns, in a game with the Philadelphia 76ers. Another contributing factor for the quick suspension, some have suggested, was the tone of Arenas' public apology for the gun incident on Twitter:
"I wanna say sorry if I pissed any body off by us havin fun...I'm sorry for anything u need to blame (me) for right now," Arenas wrote on a Twitter account that has since been deactivated.
For some observers, it is hard to comprehend why professional athletes carry guns. The massive size and strength of NBA players would appear to make them unlikely crime victims. But Gary Kleck, a criminology Professor at Florida State University and co-author of "The Great American Gun Debate," says that's hardly the case.
* NBA Star Gilbert Arenas Suspended Indefinitely Over Gun Incident
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* Wizards Player Admits 'Bad Judgment' in Gun Incident
* Washington Wizards Reportedly Failed to Alert NBA of Players' Gun Duel
"Athletes in some respects constitute more attractive targets," Kleck says. "They have a high public profile and are known to have wealth and items that can easily be stolen, such as jewelry."
Statistics support Kleck's case. Five NBA players were robbed during the four years from 2005 to 2008 — a rate of 280 per 100,000 people, compared to 145 per 100,000 for the rest of the U.S. population. In other words, the rate that NBA players are robbed was about twice the rate for the rest of the country.
While "only" five robberies over four years might appear to be too small a number for a fair comparative evaluation, Professor Lloyd Cohen, who teaches statistics to lawyers at George Mason University Law School, says: "This is an appropriate benchmark for determining that the likelihood of an NBA player being a victim of robbery is greater than [that] for the general population. This is not an artificially selected sample. This is looking at all the reported incidents in recent years."
The robberies of the NBA players also were comparatively brutal. Possibly because of the players' physical size, those who rob them generally commit their crimes in groups and appear to engage in more planning. Indeed, all the robberies committed against NBA players from 2005 to 2008 involved at least two robbers, and they averaged 2.6 robbers. By contrast, a single robber commits the overwhelming majority of other robberies.
The NBA players and their families are also much more likely to be assaulted and tied up. While only 40 percent of typical robberies involve guns, all the attacks against the NBA players involved guns. Two of the players were shot at, with one being seriously wounded.
Shelden Williams, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward for the Atlanta Hawks, had his car stolen from him by two men at gunpoint shortly before a game in December 2007. Williams' longtime friend and former college teammate, Luol Deng, told the Chicago Tribune at that time: "It's not like Shelden is a guy who went and looked for trouble. They were after him for some reason."
Four of the five robberies occurred in wealthy, very low crime areas, and three occurred in homes in wealthy residential neighborhoods. One of the robberies occurred in an area with an armed robbery rate of fewer than 4 per 100,000 people; another occurred in a small city with a robbery rate of about 110 per 100,000 people.
The higher victimization rate is not limited to NBA players. National Football League players face a measurably higher risk of being murdered. From 2005 through 2008, the murder rate for NFL players was about six times that of the general U.S. population. Possibly the most memorable death involved the Redskins' Sean Taylor, who was killed by an intruder in his home.
Fortunately, no NBA player was murdered during that time, but there have been plenty of threats of violence. Indiana Pacers' guard Jamaal Tinsley was shot at three times during a 14-month period from late 2006 through December 2007; the last attack left the team's equipment manager wounded. The equipment manager and Tinsley were reportedly just sitting in Tinsley's car talking when the last attacked occurred.
Eddy Curry, the 6-foot-11, 285-pound forward for the New York Knicks, was subdued and bound with duct tape, along with his wife and an employee, when his mansion was robbed in July 2007. That same weekend, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker was robbed while he was with a relative at his townhouse in Chicago. When Los Angeles Clippers star Cuttino Mobley was robbed in 2005, he said he felt so "violated" by the incident that he didn't live in the house for at least the next two years.
Chicago Bulls forward Joe Smith, 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, told the Chicago Tribune that the threat of violence has changed his life. "It can be a repairman, a cable guy, it can be anybody. And all they have to do is just relay the message to the wrong person on where you live," Smith said.
This glut of violent crimes has led many NBA players to decide to carry firearms. New Jersey Nets guard Devin Harris told reporters this week he believes as many as 75 percent of the league's players own guns.
The risks of being a crime victim, Kleck says, "provide more motivation for athletes to carry a gun for protection."
Professional athletes provide a range of opinions on how to protect themselves from crime. "My gun definitely makes me feel a little safer," said Houston Texans Cornerback Dunta Robinson, who was the victim of an armed robbery in September 2007. On the other hand, former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone told Sports Illustrated that players should just learn not be out late at night at parties:
"Three a.m.? My goodness gracious, what were you doing out at 3 o'clock in the morning? Who were you with? Where were you at?" Malone said.
Over the years, some NBA stars, including Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley, have carried concealed handguns. But it isn't just NBA players who feel the need for protection. From talk show hosts (Don Imus, Howard Stern, and Sean Hannity) to actors (Bill Cosby, Cybill Shepherd, Tom Selleck, Robert De Niro) to numerous politicians, many in the public eye have said they feel the need to protect themselves. Others, including Rosie O'Donnell, rely on armed bodyguards.
What is clear is that the fear that professional sports figures have over crime is not unique to them.
John R. Lott, Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of "Freedomnomics." Roger Lott is an intern at the Washington Times.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
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January 10th, 2010 07:59 PM
I do not have a problem with NBA having a gun. I wonder if their higher rate of robbery has anything to do with the places/people they hang out with. If the team that offers them a contract is in an area that has laws that they don't like they always have the option of choosing another team.
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato
January 10th, 2010 08:29 PM
I wonder what would happen if we looked at the drunk driving rate of NBA players relative to the general population? Something tells me that it is probably more than double...
"a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.
January 10th, 2010 09:06 PM
IMHO, being your average dirtbag is another reason that NBA players carry...
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Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
January 10th, 2010 09:12 PM
NBA players, along with any other professional athletes are no different than any of us here.
Legally apply for your concealed weapons license and handle a firearm responsibly and I have no problems with it.
Act like an idiot, and I have some serious issues.
Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.
January 10th, 2010 09:15 PM
i couldnt have said it better..........
Originally Posted by Rugergirl
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January 10th, 2010 09:17 PM
Originally Posted by Typical Fifth Grade Educated Ball Player
January 11th, 2010 05:22 AM
We all know why NBA players have guns.
'cause they came from the "hood" and they like the gangsta' image.
Okay, it's not PC, but it's true.
January 11th, 2010 05:56 AM
If they carry legally and responsibly, I don't give a damn. If they want to stay out till 3am, that's not mine or Karl Malone's business.
BUT if they break the law in regards to their firearm...throw the book at them! No favorable treatment because they're celebrities.
January 11th, 2010 10:03 AM
Very interesting article. The world has changed not only for the common man/women but also very much so in the public eye. I can't blame these guys for carrying guns for self protection. Yes it's true some of them are semi gang bangers, but others are just concerned about their own and their family's security/safety. Thanks for sharing good read.
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"Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." - President Ronald Reagan
January 11th, 2010 10:10 AM
+1! I feel the same way.
Originally Posted by Arko
"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic." Ted Nugent
January 11th, 2010 10:15 AM
It's not entirely untrue that if it weren't for their sports talent, many basketball, baseball, football, prize fighters and other figures who make their living in professional sports, would most probably be in jail. Mainly because of where they came from and who they associate with. But I must agree that if they carry lawfully, responsibly and sanely, they have the same 2A rights as we do.
January 11th, 2010 06:55 PM
+1 wholeheartedly agree
Originally Posted by Rugergirl
January 12th, 2010 03:59 PM
By the time they are old enough to make a living in pro sports I'd reckon that most of them already have a record that would preclude any chance of them carrying legally.
Originally Posted by GunGeezer
January 12th, 2010 05:46 PM
Is this the whole story here?
Did you guys see this other article:
Washington Wizards Reportedly Failed to Alert NBA of Players' Gun Duel
Sunday, January 03, 2010
The Washington Wizards never told the NBA that an all-star player and his teammate drew guns on each other in the team's locker room during a fight over a gambling debt, the New York Post reported.
Washington Wizards Reportedly Failed to Alert NBA of Players' Gun Duel - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com
At first, I was almost sympathetic that "Gee, these guys need to protect themselves." However, like someone commented earlier, I'm wondering if "self-protection" was just an excuse so they can go on being overpaid celebrity thugs...
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