No one is perfect, and that includes celebrities. There are numerous cases a year involving abuse by a well-known athlete, and many of them aren’t focused on in the media. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are around 960,000 cases of domestic violence incidents per year. 85 percent of the victims are women and 15 percent are men. On top of that, the health cost of domestic violence per year is $5.8 billion.
Abuse against human beings is not only an issue; animal cruelty, abandonment, and neglect is on the rise all over the world. According to numerous studies, those who physically abuse their significant other also do the same to their pet; the American Human Association reported that “71% of pet-owning women who enter women’s shelters say their abuser had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets.” On a positive note, as of this year all fifty states have enacted a felony provision for animal cruelty.
Physical abuse of any kind by a man or a woman is against the law and those who experience it are encouraged to contact the police and notify authorities. Some of these cases may not be as famous as others however these are among the most serious cases of abuse. This list includes some of the most public and most extreme cases of non-fatal abuse by an athlete.
10) Hope Solo
This year U.S. women’s soccer and two-time Olympic gold-medal winner Hope Solo was accused of assaulting her nephew and half-sister. Officers arrived on the scene after a male reported to 911 that a woman would not leave the house and refused to stop hitting people. When they spoke with Hope, it was obvious to them that she was intoxicated although she denied it. Also, both of her relatives had visible injuries on their bodies. CNN reported that the police also determined that she was the “primary aggressor and had instigated the assault.” She was booked into jail for the incident. Despite the evidence, Hope continues to maintain her innocence and believes she will be released of all charge.
Hope plead not guilty to two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault and also publicly apologized to her fans on Facebook. More information came out about the incident, such as the soccer player calling her young nephew “fat” before allegedly assaulting him. Hope was released from jail recently and will have to make future court appearances to see what her fate will be.
9) Tanya Harding
In 2000, former figure skater Tonya Harding was arrested for throwing a hubcap at her boyfriend of three years, Darren Silver, and repeatedly punching him. When police arrived on the scene, his face was bruised and bloodied according to their reports. Most of the world knows of Tonya’s violent ways after her 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, her skating rival. She went to jail as a result of the assault on her then boyfriend, was told to have no contact with Darren, and also served community service.
8) Lance Stevenson
In 2010, newly drafted NBA player Lance Stevenson allegedly threw his girlfriend, Jasmine Williams, down a flight of stairs because she wouldn’t pick up her phone while she was out with friends. When she returned home, there was a confrontation between the two and he became angry, also smashing her face on the bottom step. Witnesses said he was waiting on Jasmine and said, “Are you kidding me?” just before the attack.
The abuse, according to multiple sources, had been going on for a while. Despite that, Lance was released and didn’t have to serve any jail time. He was also allowed to still play on the Indiana Pacers and recently signed a two-year, $18 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. So, he’s clearly paying the price for pushing the mother of his child down a flight of stairs. It wasn’t Lance’s first run in with the law. In 2008 he was accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl and finally agreed to a plea deal.
7) Jason Kidd
The former NBA champion and now coach in the same league was accused of domestic violence assault by his then wife, Joumana, over the feeding of their 2-year-old son in 2001. Kidd admitted to striking her, which resulted in a cut and slight swelling of her lip. He didn’t want his wife feeding their child french fries, and when he noticed she was doing that he spit a fry at her. Then, Kidd hit her on the face and she ran to call the police. In the end, Kidd did eventually plead guilty to domestic abuse charges and admitted to needing help.
According to CBS News, when the couple finally started the divorce proceedings, Joumana wrote a 27-page document alleging multiple attacks by the famous athlete including chocking, breaking one of her ribs, smashing her head into a console of a car, and once giving her a concussion by striking her with a candlestick. Kidd denied all of these claims.
6) Josh Grispi
Former top UFC and WEC fighter Josh Grispi was charged with violent domestic abuse of his wife this year. A police officer who knows the details of the situation told Taunton Daily Gazette that, “It’s the worst case of domestic violence I’ve ever seen.” Grispi allegedly trained his pitbull to attack his wife, Kaitlyn Grispi, who had a concussion and broken wrist as a result of the multiple attacks over the course of two days. He was taken into jail and held on $100,000 bail in Massachusetts after also being charged with numerous assault and gun charges. His wife was immediately taken to a hospital due to her multiple wounds.
5) Ray McDonald
This month, NFL defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic abuse. During an altercation with his pregnant fiancé, he allegedly physically attacked her. Police on the scene saw bruises on her neck and arms, which prompted Ray’s arrest for “inflicting injury on a spouse or cohabitant” according to the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections. He was released after posting $25,000 bail and played in last Sunday’s game, which raised numerous questions since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that first-time domestic abuse offenders will now face a six-game suspension from the league.
Goodell eventually commented on why Ray is still allowed to play: “We don’t know the facts right now and we’re obviously following it very closely. But the policy will be applied uniformly across players, coaches, executives, commissioners. I think we made that very clear in the policy.” As of now the defensive end has not been charged and will appear in court later this month.
4) Michael Vick
In 2008, NFL star quarterback Michael Vick was suspended for his involvement in animal abuse, and putting pet dogs into a ring that “caused major injuries” according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. His actions violated player conduct policy, which allowed the NFL to give the punishment. The USDA report also went on to say Vick’s participation in Bad Newz Kennels, which was the name of dogfighting operation financed by him and others, was a major one–he allegedly hung the dogs by using a nylon cord that was nailed to two trees, and also drowned dogs by forcing their heads in a bucket of water.
Vick immediately denied hurting or killing any dogs. However, questions were raised after he failed a polygraph test and he ultimately admitted to being a part of killing them. Vick had to serve a 23-month sentence in a federal prison camp in Kansas on a conspiracy charge relating to the dogfighting operation he helped to run on his property. He was once the highest paid NFL player and lost out on millions of dollars for engaging in illegal activity.
Currently, Michael Vick plays in the NFL as a backup quarterback. When the king of second chances was asked by the New York Daily News about the Ray Rice story he said, “It’s very sensitive. I think we all got to realize as professional athletes that we are professionals. And we have to be able to maintain our poise in all situations, on and off the field. There’s just no room for that.” This is ironic coming from the guy who was charged with electrocuting, drowning, and hanging dogs who were considered the “losers” in his horrific dog fighting operation.
3) Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is known as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time. After his rocky marriage to actress Robin Givens came to an end, there were many reports that his behavior became increasingly erratic. This became clear when he was accused of raping Desiree Washington, a former contestant in the Miss Black America Pageant, after going to a Johnny Gill concern.
Earlier in the evening, Mike managed to impress Desiree so much that she agreed to go out with him after the pageant. When they were both at his hotel, the boxer pretended to forget something in his room and she accompanied him to go back. When inside, Desiree said he pinned her to the bed and forced himself upon her. A medical examination confirmed her accusation when the results were consistent with her description of what took place. However, Mike claimed she wasn’t telling the truth and only wanted money. In 1992, he was convicted of rape and given a six-year sentence. Once he was released, the former champion became even more violent and had his boxing license revoked after biting off a chunk of boxer Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1995.
2) Ray Rice
Six months ago TMZ released a short video of NFL running back Ray Rice dragging his then fiancé, Janay Palmer, out of a casino elevator. He held a press conference and apologized for his actions, although he wouldn’t go into exactly what happened inside those closed doors. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for two games and changed the policy on domestic abuse in the league.
Just when everyone thought the story was forgotten, TMZ Sports recently released a video of what happened in the elevator. Ray is seen spitting on his now wife and knocking her out, which causes her to hit her head on a nearby railing. Once the NFL saw the video as well as the world, Ray Rice was officially released from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended from the NFL indefinitely. Janay recently posted on Instagram: ‘I woke up this morning, feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare itself. No one know the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing’. There’s no word from the NFL yet about whether or not Ray will be allowed to play again.
1. Jonathan Koppenhaver
MMA Fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, also known as “War Machine”, attacked his former girlfriend and adult film star Christy Mack this year after catching her with another man in her Los Angeles home. Before beating her, he allegedly attacked the man she was with and also threatened Christy with a knife. Considering the fact that Jonathan uses his hands as weapons, it’s no surprise that he was able to do major damage to them both.
Christy spoke with Radar Online after the attack and mentioned that although she can’t remember how many times Jonathan hit her, the damage is clear: a nose that’s broken in two places, 18 broken bones in the face, and missing teeth. She even posted pictures after the beating on her Twitter page.
Koppenhaver fled the scene immediately and was on the run from the law. According to ESPN, War Machine is facing 32 felony charges and could face life in prison. Christy also told Radar Online that she was physically abused many times by Jonathan, but July’s attack was the worse. She didn’t think he would let her live. Before her ex-boyfriend was found, Christy told the public she would give $10,000 to the person who captured him. He is due back in court on October 17th of this year.