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).”

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