These Professional Athletes Served Time In The Slammer And Ruined Their Careers

athletes | 1/23/19

It’s nearly impossible to understand why some professional athletes, who seemingly have everything they could ever want, throw away their lives to be criminals. Maybe it’s the “I can do anything” young millionaire mentality, or maybe it’s just built in some people’s DNA.

The reality of the situation is that there are many athletes who are now hardened criminals. From drug traffickers to tax evaders to murderers, these athletes decided to throw their careers away when they turned to a life of crime.

Tony Alaya Jr.

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When you make millions of dollars to punch people in the face, you’re probably going to be messed up at least a bit mentally. Tony Ayala Jr.’s very promising boxing career came to an abrupt end when he assaulted a woman and received a 35-year jail sentence.

He was released after only 16 years and tried to make a comeback, but ended up getting arrested again for possession of drug paraphernalia. He’s currently serving a ten-year sentence for parole violation.

O.J. Simpson

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Remember O.J. Simpson? Who am I kidding, you remember the BIGGEST trial of the 20th century. After allegedly killing his girlfriend and another person in his house, Simpson spent a decade trying to find “the real killer.”

He didn’t serve any time for the murders (he got off, sorry to spoil the 19 documentaries for you) but he did serve time for an armed robbery. He’s now out and about after his parole hearing in 2017.

Robert Rozier

robert rozier
Twitter / @cultofloonloon

He was once a promising starter for the St. Louis Cardinals. Rober Rozier joined a cult called “The Brotherhood” that was founded by a man named Yahwey ben Yahweh.

In order to be accepted into the cult, he had to murder a “white devil” and return with a body part. He proved to be more of a killer than he was a football player and admitted to murdering seven people.

Jerry Sandusky

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The Jerry Sandusky saga left a black mark at Penn State. The former defensive coordinator was convicted on a laundry list of sexual abuse charges that range from disturbing soap wars with young guys on campus, to egregious acts of sexual assault.

The case has captivated not only Americans, but people from around the world. He will now spend the rest of his life behind bars after many students and former Penn State football players have come out against his abuse.

Rae Carruth

carolina oanthers
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Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for some men to try to get out of paying child support. Many athletes will lie about their income or litigate, but Rae Carruth took it way too far. He decided to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

She was killed in a drive-by shooting on her way home from the movie theater. She clung to life long enough to tell police that Rae was the one who shot her. The evidence came out that he didn’t actually shoot her, but he hired a hitman to do it. The baby ended up surviving, but it was left with severe physical and mental disabilities.

Gavin Grant

soccer player
Twitter / @CrimeInSports

The Bradford City midfielder had a promising future and career ahead of him. However, he ended up mingling with the wrong crowd. One thing led to another, and he was soon trafficking drugs on the side.

He discovered that $20 thousand in drug money went missing from his home and sought some revenge. He grabbed an accomplice and gunned down a 21-year-old man in the violent Stone Bridge neighborhood of London. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Tom Payne

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Tom Payne was a star at the University of Kentucky. He was going to be a promising pick in the NBA draft for the Atlanta Hawks. After playing a short while in the pros, he was convicted on a pair of sexual assaults in the Atlanta area.

During his time in prison, he was involved in a riot and did almost half of his five-year sentence in solitary confinement. After he got out, he was convicted of another rape in Kentucky, and then another one in Los Angeles.

Eddie Johnson

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This one is especially disturbing. The NBA All-Star had everything in life that he could’ve asked for. He was a brilliant basketball player, he made tons of money and could get any girl he wanted.

Instead, he turned to crime. His convictions started piling up in the 80s for drug possession and battery. He had multiple sexual assault convictions, including one with an eight-year-old girl. He’s currently serving a lifetime prison sentence.

Michael Vick

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you are probably aware of the Michael Vick dog fighting incident. According to federal agents, he was hanging dogs during the time he was in charge of a dogfighting enterprise.

He ended up doing two years in jail for his involvement. It doesn’t seem like enough time considering non-violent drug offenders get substantially longer sentences for doing much less harm.

Adam Jones

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He’s also known as “Pacman Jones” and he isn’t someone who has a clean criminal record. He’s been arrested almost a dozen times since he decided to declare for the NFL draft in 2005.

His most prominent arrest happened at a Vegas strip club when he assaulted a stripper. Then, one of his buddies started shooting in the club and paralyzed a security guard. He was suspended by the NFL and had to pay the victims $10.5 million.

Maurice Clarett

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After he scored 18 touchdowns his freshman year at Ohio State, Maurice Clarett’s future looked so bright. But, his life quickly spiraled out of control. He was involved in a public coaching dispute, an academic fraud scandal, and falsified a police report before being dismissed from OSU.

In 2006, he was implicated in several armed robberies. Then, he led police on a high-speed chase. He had an AK-47, two handguns, and an open bottle of Grey Goose in the car.

Bertil Fox

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It’s safe to say that Bertil Fox is not someone you want to mess with. He doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him, and he’s built like a bull. He was taking 3,000 milligrams of crocodile steroids EVERY DAY.

He ended up shooting and killing his girlfriend and her mother inside of a clothing store. He was scheduled to be hanged for the double murder before a ruling turned his punishment into a life sentence.

Lawrence Taylor

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Lawrence Taylor had a handful of arrests during his playing days, but nothing compared to his post-retirement shame spiral. In 2010, he was arrested for paying $300 to have intercourse with a 16-year-old girl.

The Giant legend ducked jail time, but is awaiting the conditions of his probation, which includes registering as a sex offender. He’s still a Hall of Famer regardless of his criminal past, which has a lot of people shaking their head.

Mike Tyson


Mike Tyson has made about seventeen different comebacks to the spotlight. Most people forget that he bit someone’s ear off, and was a convicted rapist. In 1991, he denied the sexual assault allegations from an 18-year-old beauty queen.

He didn’t help his cause during an interview when he basically claimed that she put him in a bad position. He said if he knew how she would react to the media, he wished he actually did commit the crime.

Darryl Strawberry

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At one point, Darryl Strawberry was supposed to be the New York Mets saving grace, but he couldn’t seem to break his dependency of cocaine. Although no charges were filed, he was arrested on at least three separate occasions.

One of them, he allegedly threatened a woman with a gun, another was tax evasion and then he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute and cocaine possession. He paid an undercover police officer $50 for sex.

Don King

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Don King has made A LOT of money in the boxing industry. He’s been known to have done some very sketchy things to get that money and guarantee he wins a match. He allegedly put a hit out on Meldrick Taylor, stole tens of millions from Mike Tyson, and even bribed Muhammad Ali.

In 1954, he shot and killed a man who he suspected stole from him. He got away because of a “justifiable homicide” ruling. But, afterward, he pistol-whipped one of his employees and stomped him to death on the street. He got charged with second-degree murder but was pardoned by the Ohio governor four years into his sentence.

Lenny Dykstra

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Lenny Dykstra is just another MLB player who had his name tarnished because of the poor choices he made. Not only did he get caught using steroids while playing in the MLB, but he also falsified financial statements for his businesses and got caught.

He served a three-year sentence for grand theft auto, and he pled guilty for bankruptcy fraud. He also held a knife to his housekeeper’s throat after she wouldn’t sleep with him.

Lawrence Phillips

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You know when you’re playing pickup football and you lose the game and all you want to do is run over the other team? Well, Lawrence Phillips actually followed through.

The former NFLer decided to run his truck into the opposing team of a pick-up game and he ended up hitting three kids in the process. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and then got some domestic violence charges added to that. Now he’s serving 31 years behind bars.

Pete Rose

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If you think of Pete Rose, you’ll probably think about his incredible career in MLB. He was one of the best to ever play the game. But, he was caught betting on baseball while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Investigators discovered payments to bookies made through the summer months, a time in which the MLB was the only active sport on. They put the pieces together and his illegal gambling got him kicked out of baseball. He also did a five-month jail sentence for tax evasion.

Nate Newton

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Nate Newton earned a lot during his NFL career, as he was named an All-Pro twice, a Pro Bowler six times, and was a Super Bowl champion on three separate occasions. Unfortunately, after his playing career was done, he started to unravel. In November 2001 he was detained by police officers when they found 213 pounds of marijuana in his truck.

While out on bond, he was pulled over again, this time he had only 175 pounds of marijuana. The two arrests were within weeks of each other. He served two years in prison.

Ray Lewis

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Has anything ever good come out of an altercation after midnight at a club? The easy answer to that is, NO. In 2000, Ray Lewis ended up throwing fists in an Atlanta club parking lot, which eventually led to the stabbing death of two Ohio natives.

Lewis sped away with his crew in a limo and allegedly dumped his bloodstained suit in a dumpster along the way. Murder charges were reduced for Lewis when he decided to testify against a few of his friends.

Sam Hurd

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Sam Hurd wasn’t going to be a Pro Bowl football player in the NFL, but he could’ve made a decent living. Instead, he decided that he wanted to turn into the world’s worst drug dealer.

He was an aspiring drug kingpin that tried to move large shipments around Chicago. He made a deal with an undercover cop to move as much as ten kilograms of cocaine and a thousand pounds of marijuana per week in the Chicago area.

Art Schlichter

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Art Schlichter was a very well known prospect coming out of Ohio State, and would go on to have a few stints in the NFL, and was even named the AFL MVP in 1990.

Unfortunately, he also ended up stealing nearly $2 million from his friends and family and spending it at casinos in Las Vegas. He spent most of the 90s behind bars and when he was out he got charged a felony and got caught doing cocaine while on house arrest.

Bruce Kimball

bruce kimbrall
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Remember the “Comeback Kid” from the 1982 World Championships of Diving? No? Well, he made a huge mistake by getting behind the wheel of a car while he was drunk and ended up killing two teenagers.

Four other people were injured and he had to plead guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter. However, he ultimately served less than five years of his 17-year sentence. Ironically, Kimball himself had been struck by a drunk driver three years before he won an Olympic silver medal.

Michael Irvin

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Michael Irvin has been arrested a handful of times for drug possession. He certainly wasn’t shy about getting up into people’s grill either.

In 1998 during the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp, he claimed “seniority” and cut the line for his free cut. But, offensive lineman Everett McIver refused to let Irvin get in-front. The two ended up fighting and Irvin stabbed McIver in the neck and it required eighteen stitches.

Barret Robbins

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He was one of the best starting centers in the game. He was days away from playing in the Super Bowl for the Oakland Raiders when the bi-polar NFLer took off from the team.

He was found days later with drugs in his system. He didn’t play in the Super Bowl that year. The team let him back on, and they found steroids in his system. Then, he got into a brawl with police officers in Miami which left him with three gunshot wounds and a five-year prison sentence for drug possession and probation violation.

Tonya Harding

tonya harding

People who don’t know the sport might be surprised to know that figure skating can be quite the cutthroat battle. Tonya Harding ended up hiring a goon to beat the knees in of one of her competitors, Nancy Kerrigan.

Kerrigan recovered from the injury and Tonya was suspended from skating. Kerrigan would go on to win a silver medal in the 1994 Olympics. Since the incident, Harding has been arrested for DUI and domestic violence.

Willie Aikens

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If you’re from the 80s you’ll know that this time was considered the “cocaine era” in sports. Several players were arrested on drug charges, including a few Kansas City Royals in 1983.

Willie Aikens was one of them. He was arrested again in a crack house in ’94. The former first baseman was broke, disoriented, and weighed over 300 pounds. He did 14 years in prison because he refused to rat out his dealers.

Mike Danton

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After trying to put out a hit on a junior hockey coach and former agent David Frost, former NHL player Mike Danton did a five-year jail sentence. The entire case gets skewed with Danton’s family alleging Frost tied their youngest son Tom to a bed naked and took pictures of him.

After getting released from prison, he tried a hockey comeback in Sweden. One of his teammates got hit so hard that he was knocked unconscious. Danton learned a lot of first aid in prison and saved his life by making his sure his tongue didn’t block his airway.

Mark Rogowski

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He was a San Diego skating legend known as “Gator” who lost his mind when his girlfriend ended up dumping him. After the break-up, Mark Rogowski broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house and made several face-to-face threats to her new boyfriend.

One of Mark’s ex’s friends came to San Diego and asked him to show her around the city. He obliged, and brought her back to his apartment. In a twisted way to get back at his ex, he beat, raped, and killed her friend. He’s been in prison since 1992.