We like to think of our favorite athletes as superhumans who can do no wrong. That, sadly, is not always true. Several famous athletes have committed heinous crimes. Some, like Michael Vick, served their time and were given a second chance.
Others are still in prison, waiting for their second chance. And some, of course, will never get a second chance. Keep reading to see which incredible athletes committed career ending crimes and are serving time behind bars.
Darren Sharper Sexually Assaulted Women In Multiple States
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Darren Sharper is one of the highest profile athletes ever to be arrested. Spending a Hall of Fame career keeping his victims quiet, the former defensive back was brought to justice when 16 women in four states accused him of drugging and raping them.
Sharper pleaded guilty to the crimes in all four states he was under investigation in. In his statement, he said either him or a friend would drug women so Sharper could take advantage of them. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes, a sentence many see as far too light.
Keith Wright Is Serving 234 Years In Prison
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Keith Wright played just about everywhere during his NFL career before finding a permanent home in prison. In 2011, police linked the defensive back to several home invasions. During his trial, charges including sexual assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery were added on.
It’s no surprise Wright was sentenced to 234 years and eight months in prison. The sentence is one of the longest ever handed down for an athlete. After being drafted in the sixth round of the draft and playing for five different teams, staying in one place might be a nice change of pace! Next, why you should always listen to your doctor!
Mookie Blaylock Ignored His Doctors Orders And… Yeah…
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Mookie Blaylock found himself in a heap of trouble after having a seizure while driving. He lost control of his car and got into an accident, killing the other driver. Blaylock only has himself to blame. He knew about his condition, and so did his doctor, who told him to stop driving.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, two years longer than his NBA career. During his playing days, Blaylock earned all-star and first team defense honors. He led the league in steals two years in a row and is the Atlanta Hawks franchise leader in field goals.
Oscar Pistorius “Accidentally” Shot His Girlfriend
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Oscar Pistorius was handed down a 13-year prison sentence after shooting and killing his girlfriend in 2012. The former Paralympic star pleaded in court that he thought she a home invader. The court, who knew Pistorius had a violent history with women, didn’t buy his excuse and threw the book at him.
Pistorius rose to fame during the 2004 Athens Paralympics where he won a gold medal. Nicknamed “Blade-Runner” he returned in London 2012 to smoke the competition. Now he’s finally been forced to slow down and think about all the damage he’s done.
Eddie Johnson Was Arrested 100 Times
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NBA star Eddie Johnson couldn’t stay out of trouble during his life. Arrested a reported 100 times, Johnson is currently serving a life sentence for sexually molesting an eight-year-old girl. During his trial, he was described as a “habitual felon” and had previously been charged with burglary, battery, and drug possession.
Amazingly, Johnson’s criminal behavior never interfered with his career. Playing for the Atlanta Hawks, “Fast-Eddie” was a two-time all-star and scored a total of 10,163 points. Coming up, what Rae Carruth did when he decided he didn’t want children.
Rae Carruth Didn’t Want Children
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Rae Carruth was a godsend for the Carolina Panthers when they drafted him in 1997. Chosen to be the franchise player, he broke the team’s heart after having his pregnant girlfriend murdered. Carruth’s child was delivered 10 weeks early and lives today with permanent brain damage.
Carruth was sentenced to 18 years and 11 months in prison. The Panthers were left with a massive hole to fill. In 1997 no rookie caught more passes than Carruth. Carolina drafted Steve Smith Sr. in 2001 and finally found the franchise spark plug they were looking for.
Javaris Crittenton Celebrated Being Drafted By Joining A Gang
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That headline is no joke. After the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Javaris Crittenton in the first round of the 2007 draft, he joined a gang. Not long after he went looking for a rival gang member who robbed him in Atlanta and ended shooting a mother of four by mistake.
The biggest mistake of Crittenton’s life cost him 23 years in prison. The sentence would have been longer too if the judge hadn’t reduced his charge from pre-meditated murder to manslaughter. Now no one will ever know if Crittenton was the next Kobe like so many had hoped. Up next, how O.J. Simpson ended up in jail, and it’s not how you think!
O.J. Simpson Couldn’t Outrun Prison Forever
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Everyone remembers when O.J. Simpson was found innocent for the murder of Nicole Brown. Those who never believed it saw Simpson come to justice when he was sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2007 for armed robbery and kidnapping. After nine years behind bars, Simpson was granted parole.
As an athlete, Simpson was one of the greatest running backs the NFL has ever seen. IN 1973 he was named the MVP of the league and was enshrined in Canton in 1985. He turned his successful sports career into a blossoming acting career until legal trouble sunk his ship.
Ugueth Urbina Tortured His Ranch Hands
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Ugueth Urbina was slapped with a 14-year prison sentence after stories about how badly he mistreated workers on his ranch in Venezuela came out. According to reports, Urbina tortured his workers, used machetes on them, and poured gasoline on them with intent to light them on fire.
He was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder. Before prison, Urbina played 11 years in MLB and saved 237 games. In 1999 he led the National League in saves pitching for the Montreal Expos. Coming up, the perils of gambling catch up to Art Schlichter.
Art Schlichter Gambled His Life Away
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Art Schlichter is serving a 10-year prison sentence for stealing money to fuel his gambling addiction. To keep his boat floating, the former Ohio State quarterback “offered” people premium seats to Buckeye football games at astronomical prices. Overall, he conned more than one million dollars out of his victims.
Schlicter was originally drafted by the Colts fourth overall in the 1984 draft. An incredible athlete with tons of raw potential, he began gambling right away, blowing his entire first years salary with ease. He bounced around the league for a few years and is considered a major draft bust today.
Aaron Hernandez Made Prison His Last Stop
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The story of Aaron Hernandez is as complicated as it is troubling. The simple version is after three magical seasons in New England he was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd. Sentenced to life in prison, Hernandez took his own life two years into his time.
In 2012, the Patriots inked Hernandez to a $40 million contract extension. The move would keep him paired up with Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady through 2018. New England’s vision of dominance never came to fruition after the arrest.
Ryan Leaf Could Never Get His Life Straight
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Labeled the biggest NFL Draft bust of all-time couldn’t have been fun for Ryan Leaf. Eleven years after the Chargers drafted him he was arrested on burglary and controlled substance charges. He was sentenced to seven years in a correctional facility.
The Chargers took Ryan Leaf with the second overall pick of the 1998 draft, one pick after the Colts took Peyton Manning. The young quarterback’s anger issues outweighed his ability, and he retired a few years later at 26-years-old. While in college, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, losing to Charles Woodson.
David Meggett Could Only Run So Fast
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David Meggett tried to get out of 30 years in prison claiming sexually assaulting a student in the middle of the night was repayment for a debt she owed him. On trial, the student admitted to owing Meggett a debt, but waking up in the middle of the night to him taking advantage of her was not it.
As a rookie for the New York Giants in 1989, Meggett led the league in punt return yards and was elected to the Pro Bowl. The next year he repeated the feat and was a major part of New York’s Super Bowl run. He retired in 1998 as one of the league’s most decorated return men. Keep reading to learn how Chad Curtis used his career to take advantage of high school athletes.
Chad Curtis Went From World Series Hero To Incarcerated
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Chad Curtis was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for sexually molesting underage athletes. After retiring from MLB, Curtis too a job at Lakewood High in Michigan. While there he would give athletes massages that reportedly turned inappropriate. Curtis maintains his innocence as a man of God today.
While playing for the New York Yankees, Curtis was a part of back-to-back World Series titles (1998-1999). In game 3 for the 1999 World Series, Curtis hit a walk-off home run against the Braves. It was his second bomb of the game.
Bertil Fox Was Nearly Hanged For His Crimes
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Bertil Fox almost got away with double murder, then was almost hanged up getting convicted. A career bodybuilder, Fox retired from competition in 1995 and killed his fiance and her mother. His first trial ended in a hung jury. Because of double jeopardy laws he was tried again, found guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging.
Human rights attorney appealed the death penalty. It was deemed unconstitutional, and Fox is living his life behind bars. Now the only bodybuilding he’s doing is in the prison yard, and there are no judges there handing out awards. Next, a race car driver drives his way into millions of dollars of debt.
Henri Zogaib Was Busted For A Ponzi Scheme
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Henri Zogaib threw his promising racing career away after having his Ponzi scheme fall apart. Posing as an investor, Zogaib took $5.4 million of other people’s money. His clients included several other competitive racers. He was arrested for his fraudulent activity in 2010 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2013.
When he started racing, he showed the potential to be the next face of the sport. He placed as high as seventh in some races and fans were excited about what his future would bring. It turns out his future is going to be filled with debt repayment and prison bars.
James Butler Lost The War At Home
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James Butler found himself in hot water when sports writer Sam Kellerman was found dead and burned in his apartment. Butler had been staying with Kellerman at the time and admitted to manslaughter and arson before his trial ever started. A judge sentenced him to 29 years in prison and ordered him to pay all the funeral expenses.
It’s believed (but not confirmed) the violent act came after Butler and Kellerman got into an argument about how long he could stay at the apartment. Butler was 20-5 in the ring 0-1 on the homefront.
Gavin Grant Took The Law Into His Own Hands
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Gavin Grant played professional soccer for five years before succumbing to his criminal ways. When someone he associated with was robbed in 2004, Grant didn’t call the cops. Instead, he found the person he thought was guilty and murdered them. In 2010, Grant was given a life sentence.
Now what was once a promising soccer career in Britain is tarnished. Over the course of five seasons, he played in 88 matches and scored 21 goals. Every one of those goals by the prolific young player is tainted.
Sam Hurd Was A Drug Dealer On The Side
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Promising young wide receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2013 after trying to sell drugs as a second career. He was busted buying 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week by an undercover cop posing as a drug distributor in 2011.
His best season in the NFL came with the Chicago Bears. He caught 53 passes for 739 receiving yards. In his spare time, he also hosted a Dallas Cowboys radio show that became a TV show called Inside the Huddle.
Thomas Payne Wasted His Talent With Stupidity
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Thomas Payne was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1971, and you can guess what happened. One year into his career he was sent to prison for rape. Five years later he was charged with a second rape. Somehow he was paroled in 1983. In 1986 he raped another woman in California and was finally sent to prison for life.
Aside from his basketball career, Payne tried his hand at boxing, where he went 2-2. He also tried a career in Hollywood, which predictably didn’t go very far. Notably, he was the first black athlete to play basketball for the University of Kentucky.