Whether we like it or not, sports stars the world over are elevated to level of fame and fortune that makes them some of the world’s most revered celebrities. Children and aspiring athletes see them as role models, the general public is in awe of their skill, and, as a result, they seem to be able to (sometimes literally) get away with murder. The world of sport is awash with infidelity claims, financial indiscretions and numerous other problematic behaviours that, more often not, seem to get swept under the rug. The sporting world is a sadly corrupt one, but it seems that as long as you have enough money and status , you’re almost invulnerable.
While plenty of sporting heroes misbehave, many fans can rationalise and even excuse their favourite sports stars’ mad binges, their extravagance and their sometimes questionable lifestyle choices. After all, these types of temptations must be difficult to resist, especially for young men, with whom the celebrity sporting world is largely populated. It’s when problems like drug abuse, infidelity or even murder come into it that sports heroes’ actions become impossible to overlook. This list catalogues ten sporting celebs responsible for just such behaviours, who’ve put their careers at risk due to their high-profile mistakes – these are the ten worst-behaved sportsmen in the world today.
10. Jonathan Hargett
At number ten is Jonathan Hargett, the mysterious basketball star who came and went without ever reaching his full potential. Hargett showed enormous promise as a basketball player in his teenage years, having an impressive vertical leap of up to forty-four inches. Unfortunately, as of 2012 Hargett wasn’t on the court, but had instead been in it; he was serving a five year prison sentence for drug possession with an intent to sell. After deciding at the age of fifteen to attend West Virginia university for a considerable scholarship, Hargett sadly became dependent on marijuana and for a time made $1000 a day selling cocaine. This lifestyle ended in him being shot in the hip, putting paid to his dreams of professionalism.
9. Tiger Woods
At number nine is notorious golfer Tiger Woods. Everyone knows the story of Woods; how his wife came across his cheating and, understandably, hit the roof. Woods had been leading a charmed life — he was the number one golfer in the world, was married to a Swedish ex-model and had two children. In 2009, once Elin Nordegren figured out his indiscretions and literally chased him down the road wielding – rather amusingly – a golf club, Woods’ name was mud. He entered rehab for a time for sex addiction, but has struggled ever since to achieve the same standing he once had in the sports world.
8. Gilbert Arenas
NBA star Gilbert Arenas is at number eight. In 2009, Arenas and a fellow team-mate disgraced themselves by pulling guns on each other in a locker room over what was allegedly a bet debt. Arenas was the first to pull a weapon, although he denied any violence and stated that he only brought a gun to his place of work so as to keep it away from his children at home. Coincidentally, the team for which Arenas played at the time, the Washington Wizards, had substituted the word “Wizards” for the word “Bullets” over concerns about gun violence.
7. Ugueth Urbina
Major League baseball player Ugueth Urbina is at number seven. His professional career was thrown into chaos when he was arrested and charged with attempted murder in 2005. Urbina allegedly attacked five farm workers on his ranch with a machete and covered them with gasoline, apparently all because he suspected them of stealing his guns. He was convicted in March 2007, and served six years out of fourteen in a Venezuelan prison before being released early for good behaviour. As of 2012, Urbina has been trying to rebuild his career in the USA.
6. Luis Suarez
Footballer Luis Suarez made the news for all the wrong reasons during World Cup season in 2014. Suarez, who played for his home country of Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup and who plays for Premier League team Liverpool, has had three allegations of foul play during a soccer match, all involving his biting another player. Since 2010 Suarez has bitten three different players on opposing teams, and his most recent indiscretion has seen the biggest repercussions: he has been banned from playing soccer for four months and from nine international games.
5. Rae Carruth
A former wide receiver with the Carolina Panthers, Rae Carruth showed great promise as an American footballer in his youth, and won a sports scholarship to university. His career was cut dramatically short, however, when in 1999 Carruth attempted to kill a lady he had been seeing while she was seven months pregnant with his child. Carruth had apparently tried to convince Cherica Adams to have an abortion, but she didn’t want to, and intended to take her pregnancy to its full term. Adams died from injuries sustained from the gunshots inflicted by Carruth and his accomplices, and Carruth fled. He was tracked down and arrested, and was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to between eighteen and twenty-four years in prison.
4. O. J. Simpson
O. J. Simpson is possibly the most infamous case of a badly-behaved sports star ever. Simpson was a highly successful sporting star-turned-actor at the time of his arrest for the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and their friend, Ron Goldman. Both were found stabbed to death in 1994, with substantial evidence pointing to Simpson’s involvement in their deaths. Although he was ultimately acquitted, Simpson still wound up in jail: he was arrested in 2008 on twelve counts of armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson was sentenced to thirty-three years in prison, with possibility of parole.
3. Lance Armstrong
Cyclist Lance Armstrong was a cancer survivor, who once stood as an incredible inspiration for cyclists the world over both in terms of talent and determination. However, the news of his drug abuse was soon brought to light, which greatly tarnished his reputation. There had long been speculation that Armstrong had relied on chemical aid to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, but there was no conclusive proof until he admitted to having used performance enhancing drugs in an appearance on Oprah in January 2013. Armstrong was subsequently stripped of all of his Tour de France titles, and has been banned from competition for life.
2. Oscar Pistorius
Another topical sports star is at number two: Oscar Pistorius, South African paralympic champion, was accused last year of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He remains on trial for the crime, and throughout his time in court has proved inconsistent, vague, and intensely emotional. Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a bathroom door, but claims to have believed that she was an intruder. The closing arguments of his trial are due to resume on August 7th of this year, but Pistorius seems to have little regard for the importance of his public image, having recently gotten into a physical fight in a nightclub in Johannesburg while still on trial.
1. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson comes in at number one as the sporting world’s ultimate bad boy. The former world heavyweight boxing champ has a startling number of convictions, including mugging and armed robbery in his youth, several physical and sexual assault arrests, performance enhancing drug abuse and drug possession. Added to this extensive list is a more recent claim, which involves the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur – a convicted murderer went on record several years ago saying that he was paid by Mike Tyson’s manager to commit the murder.