Only A Game, an award-winning weekly sports magazine broadcast by National Public Radio, featured an interview with Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Wu about his and senior Kendall Weir’s study, “The Effects of Character on NFL Draft Status and Subsequent Performance.”
The study, which has already been featured in an Associated Press article and by hundreds of media outlets, examined the playing records for the 2011-12 season of 1,200 players who were drafted by the National Football League between 2005 and 2009. Weir and Wu compared these records with the players’ “character issues.”
Their study found that all players with demonstrated character concerns are picked significantly later in the draft than otherwise similar players with no history of suspensions or run-ins with the law. The researchers discovered, however, that players who had been arrested but not charged were downgraded in the draft by about 15 spots (nearly half a round), but ended up outperforming their counterparts with no arrest records who were drafted higher. They started an average of two more games than similar arrest-free players. Players arrested and charged with a crime were also downgraded 15 spots. Their performance records were not as robust as those not charged. They started only the same number of games as similar players with clean records.
Only a Game, is produced by WBUR in Boston and can also be heard by going to the program’s flagship station website, www.wbur.org, at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. on Saturday and click on the red “listen live” button. Podcasts of the broadcast are also available at the site.