Foul Play: Star Athletes and their Legal Woes

When Athletes Fall From Grace
ESSENCE.COM May, 20, 2009

1 of 21 Ap Image

A ten-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 1986 NFL Most Valuable Player, LT is considered one of the greatest players in football history. He admitted to cocaine abuse in his career. A sober Taylor became a fan favorite on this last season’s “Dancing with the Stars.” He was recently indicted on charges of third-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a minor, and patronizing a prostitute after allegedly paying a 16-year-old girl for sex.

2 of 21 AP Image

Tiger Woods, the first billionaire athlete, had a single-vehicle accident in the early hours of Saturday morning, smashing his Escalade SUV into a fire hydrant and tree. Since the collision, Woods has avoided three meetings with the local Florida police to discuss the incident and asked that this all remain private—to which the media has unanimously replied “No.”
The National Enquirer wrote a piece one week ago concerning Tiger’s possible extramarital affair with a sexy night club hostess. It is now believed that the scratches on Tiger’s face, which he claims were caused by the impact, are from his enraged wife.

3 of 21

An Atlanta court granted a woman believed to be ex-Denver Bronco player Shannon Sharpe’s girlfriend a restraining order after she accused him of forcing her to have sex, threatening her life and stalking her. Sharpe stepped aside from his job as analyst on “CBS NFL Today” as a result.

4 of 21

The boxing champ was arrested and charged with a felony after allegedly attacking his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris during a domestic dispute. He also faces grand larceny charges for taking her cellphone.

5 of 21 Getty Image

The 11-time Grand Slam singles champion flipped out on a US Open line judge in September and was handed the largest fine ever yesterday: $82,500. Williams verbally lashed out after a foot-fault call at the end of her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters. She threatened the lineswoman, saying, “I’m going to shove this ball down your f—-ing throat.”

6 of 21 Getty Image

Shaq, the most effective big man in the NBA today, and his wife Shaunie O’Neal legally separated a month ago after almost seven years of marriage. According to Los Angeles Superior Court documents and numerous reports, Shaunie sites irreconcilable differences for their breakup and is seeking sole custody of their four children with visitation rights for Shaquille. The divorce process could get messy if history is any clue. The couple separated in 2007 and Shaunie accused Shaq, through the media, of hiding money from her.

Shaq now plays with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

7 of 21 Corbis

Back in 2007, former Atlanta Falcons star Vick admitted to hanging, drowning and suffocating dogs that didn’t perform well in fights he backed. In July, Vick was released from federal prison after serving 18 months for his role in a brutal dog fighting ring. He is now the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, but tours the country with lecturing against animal cruelty.

8 of 21 AP Image

The track & field star won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and was once the world’s top female track star. Though she denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs for years, in 2007 she finally admitted to lying to a grand jury about her steroid use and pleaded guilty to perjury. She served six months in jail and relinquished her medals.

9 of 21 AP Image

The Juice enjoyed a storybook career in college and professional football. But none of that matters now. He was acquitted on charges of killing his ex-wife and her male friend, but OJ will always be remembered as the defendant in the “Trial of the Century.” He’s now serving a 33-year sentence after being convicted of organizing a botched robbery at a Vegas hotel. Simpson argued he was attempting to recoup memorabilia stolen from him, but the courts saw differently.

10 of 21 AP Image

Williams became a respected basketball analyst for NBC after an injury forced a career-ending surgery in 2000. In 2002, Williams accidentally shot his driver while horsing around with a rifle at his New Jersey mansion. Things got worse when he tried to cover up the shooting. He was convicted of tampering with evidence but the jury acquitted him of aggravated manslaughter in 2004. Weeks before his re-trial in January 2010, Williams struck a plea deal and will serve three years in prison for a reduced count of aggravated assault.

11 of 21 AP Image

Pacman enjoyed two breakout years with the Tennessee Titans before joining the Dallas Cowboys. Yet, even before entering the NFL, Jones had a penchant for trouble. While at West Virginia University, he was sentenced to a year in jail following a bar fight. Once in the league his hot temper earned him more legal woes, such as drunken fist fights, altercations with women, etc. The tops was a 2007 night club incident in Vegas where he beat up a stripper for touching his money.

12 of 21 AP Image

Bryant entered the NBA right out of high school and helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to three championships from 2000 to 2002 and another in 2009.
In 2003, his squeaky-clean image was muddied when a Colorado hotel employee accused him of sexual assault. Bryant tearfully admitted to the affair, but insisted the sex was consensual. The case was eventually dismissed after the woman refused to cooperate with authorities.

13 of 21 AP Image

A first-round draft pick in 1997 to the Carolina Panthers, Carruth was expected to do big things in the NFL. On November 16, 1999, Carruth’s pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams, 24, was shot several times as she sat in her parked car. Doctors managed to save the baby, but Adams died a week later. Police later found Carruth hiding in the trunk of a car in Tennessee. He’s serving more than 18 years for conspiring to murder Adams. Prosecutors argued he didn’t want to pay child support and hired a gunman to kill his girlfriend.

14 of 21 AP Image

Tyson became the heavyweight champion of the world at age 20, making him a household name seemingly overnight.
Yet once his manager and mentor Cus D’Amato died, Tyson’s life seemed to spiral. There was a rape conviction; allegations of abuse by actress Robin Givens; the time he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a bout; cocaine possession; leading up to his recent assault on a tabloid photographer in LAX a few weeks back.

15 of 21 AP Image

The ex-Boston Red Sox player joined the L.A. Dodgers last year and boosted the team’s winning record big time, making him a fan favorite. In May, Ramirez was suspended 50 games after an unnatural testosterone was found in his system. Said Dodger’s general manager Ned Colletti on the incident: “It’s a dark day for baseball.”

16 of 21 AP Image

Sport: Basketball
Top of His Game: He helped lead the Seattle Supersonics to the 1996 Finals.
Fall From Grace: Trouble seemed to follow Kemp after he left the NBA. He was arrested in April 2005 after police stopped his truck and found cocaine, marijuana and a pistol. A year later he found himself back in handcuffs when cops spotted marijuana in his car.
His Life Now: Kemp managed to escape the incidents without serious jailtime. He hopes to make a comeback overseas.

17 of 21 AP Image

With 583 career home runs, the Yankees star is one of the highest paid players in the league with a ten-year deal worth close to $300 million. When news broke earlier this year that he tested positive for steroids in 2003, fans shook their heads in disgust. Yet, the Yankees star played through the hurt this season and was a major factor in the Yankees winning the 2009 World Series.

18 of 21 Getty Image

A ten-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 1986 NFL Most Valuable Player, LT is considered one of the greatest players in football history. He admitted to cocaine abuse in his career. A sober Taylor became a fan favorite on this last season’s “Dancing with the Stars.” He was recently indicted on charges of third-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a minor, and patronizing a prostitute after allegedly paying a 16-year-old girl for sex.

19 of 21 AP Image

Sport: Baseball
Top of His Game: Bonds holds the all-time Major League Baseball homerun record.
Fall From Grace: Bonds’s glorious career is tainted by allegations of steroid use, with even longtime San Francisco Giants fans spitting on his accomplishments.
His Life Now: A free agent, he maintains he did nothing wrong.

20 of 21 AP Image

Sport: Baseball
Top of His Game: Strawberry was a member of four world championship teams in his 17-year career with the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.
Fall From Grace: His drinking and a notorious cocaine addiction sabotaged the star in his prime.
His Life Now: The one-time Rookie of the Year offers an honest look into his life his autobiography, “Straw: Finding My Way.” In it he spills secrets about abuse and shares how he’s trying to move forward to a drug-free life.

21 of 21 AP Image

Top of His Game: The former New York Mets was an All-Star during the eighties.
Fall From Grace: His once promising career was derailed by substance abuse, earning him mug shots for DUI, punching his girlfriend, violating probation and other offenses.
His Life Now: “Doc” made headlines this spring when he signed his name on a restaurant wall at Citi Field. The Mets have decided not to remove his signature after backlash from fans who feel the team hasn’t done enough to pay homage to former star players.

Tags

# News

Tags

# News