FREAK-TV: Does Sport Cause Crime?


One of our old blog posts — about a French political scientist’s argument that playing sports may make young men more likely to become criminals — has now been turned into a short video. It can be found in our video player.

I suppose it was inevitable: MTV turned pop songs into videos; publishers turn books into videos; now we’re doing it with blog posts. What is the world coming to?

The very talented and creative young man who’s been making our videos is named Nicholas Graham. I think he will win awards some day. Today’s on-screen talent is … well, let’s just say for the moment that she’s an international woman of mystery. More will be revealed later.

Doug Nelson

Wow, I could listen to her read...Freakonomics. Please?


I dunno if you've ever looked over Texas' Death Row list, but the high number of offender's with the previous occupation of "laborer" makes me more curious if having laborers causes crime.

Mario Ruiz

Hi Stephen,

I don't thing so, but it is a classical post from Freakonomics: finding a relationship between two apparently non-connected facts.

I do not much about video more than any movie aficionado. I do not like today's video. I liked it better the brain teaser one.

Does a blog needs to produce videos? Not necessarily, but it helps. I personally like to go to the point in the least number of seconds. I work hard, but I like to read you guys.

Mario Ruiz

will holder

This reminded me of a story I heard on the radio from sports writer Frank DeFord. He was reporting on a study about the alarming rate of professional wrestlers who have died before the age of 50. On a per capita basis, it would be equal to 400 football players dying per year, or 500 baseball players. While this is interesting on its own merits, I would argue that athletes going into professional wrestling would have a higher percentage of mental health issues.

It would be interesting to hear more about this.


Nicholas Graham might want to lrn2deinterlace

Doug Nelson

I suspect that it's more the case that criminals are more likely to be interested in playing sports (similar urges, competition, high impulsivity, violence). I'd like to see data tracking over many years. It seems to me the incentive to get into professional sports today is more economic than anything else.

Give a dog-fighter a million dollars and he'll just get more expensive dogs to fight.

Angela Mason

I think your on screen talent is fantastic !
An international woman of mystery - hmmn !??!
Wherever she comes from , I think she should be seen and heard of more. She is a beautiful young woman with a rich voice and alluring presence.
Where HAVE I seen her before ?


I think it has more to do with how schools, coaches, teams, and society in general treat athletes. Star athletes are given an elite status and can get away with a lot because no one wants to destroy their favorite team. Given such immunity to local law enforcement athletes of course MUST do more and go further to get the same thrill that breaking the law provides when you or I steal a pack of gum. Wynona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting, so does acting make people more prone to lawless activities?
What we really need is to hold these people to a higher standard without detrimentally affecting their teams so that law enforcement personnel can more easily and correctly punish the offenders.


Where's the video? I see the Brain Chips, the President, and Why Blog?, but not the one on crime and sports. Did you take it down for some reason?

Michael Haider

I like use of stock footage to inject humor into the videos. Keep them coming.

Brian Law

Nice to see research backing up something we all knew from our much-disparaged anecdotal experience. Superior physical ability and a sense of entitlement yielding an above-the-law attitude only made worse by being surrounded with eager-to-please coaches and sycophantic, fawning sports "journalists". Sadly, nothing new here.

However, give us MUCH more of the beautiful mystery woman. She is a very alluring real woman with a voice that just leaves me wanting more!

Aurore Giguet

Great video! Keep them coming.

Aaron Hertzmann

If sports teach skills useful for violent crime, then business school teaches valuable skills for white-collar crime. Computer science education teaches skills for computer crimes; law school... well, lawyers are unimpeachable. Still, best not teach any useful skills at all!

Daniel Reeders

I second 61North, I looked and looked in this post for a link to view the video, and only as this comments page was loading did I notice it's visible in the side bar -- in the same size and dimensions as one of those obnoxious Flash advertisements, which probably explains why I couldn't see it.

Elizabeth Penrose

I think this is a case of correspondance, rather than causation. I've heard of a study saying that outgoing, curious children are more likely to succeed, and more likely to take illegal drugs. I think that sports may either incorporate or create individuals who make the first move in a situation. The stock term would be _creates initiative_. How can we turn these children to success?

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Yes, it Is troubling that criminals have so much of that disturbing, robust, good health. Just think of all the physical stamina it takes to mug someone, or break into a home and carry off all the expensive electronics (they really shouldn't be producing those lighter, flat-screen TVs either, should they)?


I really enjoy your fabulous international woman of mystery. Can't wait to see upcoming topics!

Panem et Circanses



Have you thought about starting a YouTube profile page and posting your videos there? The great thing about youtube is that it will (1) open up your videos to viewers who do not read your blog and (2) it allows viewers to create response videos to your videos.


Job Thantsha

i think sports causes crime, as the players at some point become aggressive as a result of the defeat they have encounter.