What’s the matter with these knuckleheads? The National Football League has been in the spotlight early in the 2014 season for a series of high profile criminal arrest stories. First, former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice punched his wife in an elevator and knocked her out. Tweet! Roughing the wife – 15 yards and loss of career. Then currently suspended Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges for whipping his 4-year-old son with a tree branch that he had fashioned into a switch. Tweet! Illegal use of a stick – 15 yards and loss of respect.

A quick count, according to USA Today’s NFL Player Arrest Database (yes, that unfortunately exists), indicates that there have been 44 arrests to date in 2014. Of the 44, eighteen were drug / alcohol related and 15 were gun-related or involved some kind of violence – be it domestic violence, assault, weapons or something to do with fighting. Knuckleheads.

A few more “highlights” from the USA Today list:

San Francisco DE Ray McDonald arrested for suspected domestic violence against his pregnant fiancé, who showed police bruising on her body. Knucklehead.

Pittsburgh RB LeGarrette Blount arrested while riding in passenger seat when police pulled over car driven by teammate Le'Veon Bell. Suspected of possessing bag with about 20 ounces of marijuana. 20 Ounces? For those not savvy in the ways of weed, that’s enough to last a serious smoker over 3 years. Knucklehead.

San Francisco CB Chris Culliver arrested and accused of hitting a bicyclist with his vehicle, felony hit-and-run and possession of brass knuckles in San Jose. He allegedly threatened a witness with the brass knuckles. Brass knucklehead.

Oh and just recently Dallas RB Joseph Randle was arrested and accused of shoplifting at a store in Frisco, Texas, after allegedly being caught in the act on video. He was attempting to steal $40 underwear and $84 cologne. Randle makes a base salary of $495,000 this season. Knucklehead.

And the list goes on. Again, what’s the matter with these knuckleheads? According to an article by Benjamin Morris on the website fivethirtyeight.com, the arrest rate amongst NFL players is just 13% of the national average. But like any statistic, the numbers can be interpreted to show what you want them to show. The general gist of the article is that for most crimes, NFL players have extremely low arrest rates relative to national averages but their relative arrest rate for domestic violence (55.4%) is much higher than for other crimes. Although the arrest rate for domestic violence may appear low relative to the national average for 25- to 29-year-old men, it is probably high relative to NFL players’ income level (more than $75,000 per year) and poverty rate (0 percent). Knuckleheads.

I get it. It’s a violent game played by young men who, in many cases, have come from troubled backgrounds. Now they’re thrust into the spotlight and suddenly wealthy. They’ve made it. Take advantage. Figure it out. You’re on top of the world. Kids pretend they’re you on the playground. Grown men idolize you for your athletic skill. Somebody wants to pay you millions of dollars to play a game that you presumably love or to wear their shoes on TV. You’re making it hard for us to root for you. Try not to be a knucklehead.