I was looking at Google Trends the other day and something strange stood out to me: A rather unfamiliar name appeared three times in the top ten search result with two different spellings. I knew immediately that I had to do some kind of investigation to find out who this man was and why everyone was searching for information about him and the faux-celebrity known as Tila Tequila.

For a few years, the bisexual “Tila Tequila” (a strange name to give yourself — her given name is Tila Nguyen) was extremely popular on the basis of her Myspace page and the reality shows that she was given in order to “find love.” I wrote that in quotation marks because I do not believe that she ever had a hint of genuine interest in finding a spouse or partner of any sort through the program.

Clicking through Google, I found out Ms. Nguyen had been in a relationship with Mr. Shawne Merriman, an American football player for the San Diego Chargers. She had apparently attempted to leave his residence only to be choked and restrained by him.

Can one find a link between playing American football and engaging in violent behavior? Maybe it is just all of the arrests in the last few years that make it seem that way to me — Michael Vick being just one of many. The Washington Post reported that there were 35 arrests of NFL players in 2006.

Does playing football make one more likely to engage in violent behaviors or do people who are predisposed towards the violent behaviors become attracted to football because of how inherently violent it is and therefore are more likely to engage in “extracurricular” violent behaviors because that is just their nature?

Is Plaxico Burress the NFL’s gold standard or its abhorrent aberration?

I don’t see so much of a hoopla being made about violent crimes being done by players of any other sport save for the occasional choking in basketball.

What are your thoughts on American Football and criminal violence by those that play it?


  1. You pose an interesting argument, Gordon. I wonder if the sort of sport makes a difference? If the sport involves putting your hands on another player, does that lead to more violence or not: Soccer, hockey and football all rely on, at some point, one player touching another player while Baseball, Tennis and field sports don’t really require touching the opponent.
    Does that “touch” and “no touch” rule somehow influence off field behavior or not?

  2. I have tried but failed to find hockey crimes. In soccer, a bigger problem lays with fans who get rowdy after the game.
    I certainly have never heard of tennis criminals. 🙂

  3. my friends and i had this discussion not so long ago and we came to the simple conclusion that it was a mixture or all the things you can think of but the majority was background and ethnicity. dont believe me, do more research.

  4. Things like this happen everyday. Football does not make people more likely to act out in violent ways. its the personalities of the people. You just know about these people because they are in the NFL so they’re all over web when something happens to them or they do something. When people who aren’t famous get in trouble you here as much about them because once again they’re not famous.

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