39 U. Tol. L. Rev. 41 (2007-2008)
Even a Violent Game Has Its Limits: A Look at the NFL's Responsibility for the Behavior of Its Players

handle is hein.journals/utol39 and id is 49 raw text is: EVEN A VIOLENT GAME HAS ITS LIMITS:
A LOOK AT THE NFL'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR
THE BEHAVIOR OF ITS PLAYERS
Joel Michael Ugolini*
I. INTRODUCTION
T HE National Football League is currently the most popular and financially
successful athletic league in a country where sports is a multi-billion dollar
industry and competition for fans is fierce.' From sold out games to high
television ratings to lucrative endorsement contracts, the NFL brand has set the
standard other sports aspire to reach.2 However, in spite of such impressive
numbers, there is one area where the NFL is dismayed at being the leader: the
number of arrests involving its players.       While most professional sports
organizations have had incidents that required them to answer for the
questionable conduct of a participant, none of them has faced the rash of arrests
the NFL has encountered. The list of charges is lengthy, including allegations of
domestic violence, assault, driving under the influence, drug possession, felony
animal abuse, and a host of other offenses.3
Following each incident, the NFL frequently makes a public statement that
expresses regret, insists that such conduct will not be tolerated in the future, and
points out that most players in the League are upstanding citizens.4         Such
* The author graduated from Villanova University in 2000 and Georgetown University Law
Center in 2003. He has been published in the Tax Lawyer, The Seton Hall Journal of Sports and
Entertainment Law, The University of Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, and
National Jurist Magazine.
1. See Kurt Badenhausen, Michael K. Ozanian & Maya Roney, The Business of Football: The
Tape on Tagliabue, FORBES.cOM, Aug. 31, 2006, available at http://www.forbes.com/2006/08/31/
paul-tagliabue-nfl cz mo 06nfl 0831nflintro.html (This year the average NFL team is worth
$898 million, 211% more than when Forbes began calculating team values eight years ago.).
2. See In a League of its Own, ECONOMIST, Apr. 29, 2006, at 63-64, available at http://www.
economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?storyid=6859210 (The NFL remains the most popular
of the four big American sports on almost every measure, from opinion polls to television ratings.
And it has translated all of this into rising profits. The average football team has a market value of
around 3.9 to 4.4 times revenues, compared with ratios of 2.2 to 3.0 for the other leagues.).
3. See NFL Players Arrested This Year, WASH. POST, Dec. 16, 2006, at Al, available at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/nfl/longterm/2006/nflchart_12162006.html.
4. See Mark Maske & Les Carpenter, Player Arrests Put the NFL in a Defensive Mode,
WASH. POST, Dec. 16, 2006, at Al, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/
article/2006/12/15/AR2006121502134.html ('Most NFL players are good citizens, and some are
outstanding citizens,' Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations, said via e-mail
yesterday. 'It's a small percentage of the 2,000 players in our league that becomes involved in

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