Cohen on Sports Figures as Victims of Robbery

While controversy swirls around the suspension without pay of Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas for bringing unloaded guns into his team's locker room, Professor Lloyd Cohen points out that the likelihood of being a victim of robbery is statistically greater for NBA players than it is for the general population.

Five NBA players were robbed during the period of four years from 2005-2008, a rate of 280 per 100,000 people. In contrast, the robbery rate for the same period for the general population was 145 in 100,000 - a significant difference of nearly double.

Cohen 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, which tended to be brutal in nature, have motivated some players to carry firearms, a trend that also carries over to celebrities and politicians, many of whom also feel the need for protection.

High Robbery Rate Gives NBA Players Reason to Carry Arms,, January 10, 2010. By John R. Lott, Jr. and Roger Lott.


"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."

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