By now, you’ve probably heard about the latest public-relations problem for the National Football League: a team owner being arrested for driving under the influence. Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, was pulled over last week in Carmel, Indiana after reportedly stopping in the roadway and also traveling at a slow rate of speed. Carmel Police later found bottles of prescription medications in the vehicle, but the medications did not match the bottles they were in. Irsay also faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance (no alcohol was found in the vehicle).
Sports leagues have doled out their own punishments when their players have been convicted of DUIs, usually in the form of fines or game suspensions. But the Irsay case is particularly troublesome for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who finds himself in the unenviable position of possibly disciplining one of his bosses. Otherwise, Goodell’s “strong discipline” stance in recent years would be in jeopardy if he treats Irsay much differently than he did players and coaches who were guilty of similar offenses.
Whenever an athlete or coach is arrested on driving under the influence charges, it can have a substantial effect on their wallets. Not only does it cost thousands of dollars to defend against this type of charge, but the fines and fees related to the penalties are also quite steep. For lesser-known athletes, this can mean a significant financial hit; for superstars, it could mean loss of lucrative endorsements.
Sadly, these consequences don’t seem to deter all athletes from drinking and driving. Here are ten examples of people currently involved in various sports who have been arrested on DUI/DWI charges. (In all these instances, the legal limit for intoxication is .08) The list won’t include Jim Irsay as his case has been described already.
10. Marshawn Lynch, running back – Seattle Seahawks
These days, “The Beast” is trying to build on his legacy of leading the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl title. But things weren’t always this rosy for the Skittles-loving running back. In July of 2012, Lynch was reportedly weaving and narrowly missing other vehicles on Interstate 880 in Oakland, California when his van was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol. He reportedly tested .08 on a Breathalyzer and was arrested on DUI charges. The case remained tied up until this past February, when Lynch pled guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
9. Vavae Tata, assistant football coach – Vanderbilt University
Tata had been employed at Vandy all of 22 days when he was involved in an incident that caused him to be suspended indefinitely by the school. On February 15th, Tata reportedly crashed into two parked cars and then attempted to flee the scene on foot before being apprehended by police. Tata then blew a .18 on a breathalyzer test after admitting to driving the vehicle that caused the accident. Tata had followed Commodores’ head coach Derek Mason to Nashville from Stanford University. He pled guilty to a DUI charge earlier this month, spent 48 hours in jail, and will lose his driver’s license for a year.
8. Jason Kidd, head coach – Brooklyn Nets
The unusual aspect to this case is that Kidd was arrested for DWI while still a player for the New York Knicks, but had to serve an NBA-mandated two-game suspension to start this season as the coach of the Nets. Kidd was reportedly driving in The Hamptons in July of 2012 when he slammed his sport utility vehicle into a telephone pole. Witnesses said that Kidd was consuming vodka at an exclusive club prior to the accident. He refused a breathalyzer test, but later pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of drunk driving and earned a sentence of one year of probation. He also had to speak to kids in Long Island about the dangers of drinking and driving.
7. Gerald Asamoah, forward – FC Schalke 04 (Germany)
Asamoah became the first African-born black man to play for Germany’s international squad back in 2001. The Ghana native emigrated to Germany as a child in 1990. He has scored 79 goals in his 16 seasons in the Bundesliga, most of which were in an FC Schalke 04 kit. But back on March 3rd, the 35-year old footballer was driving his pricey Volkswagen Phaeton Limousine at North Rhine-Westphalia when he crashed into a chestnut tree. The accident was so violent that reports indicate Asamoah was lucky to be alive after the collision. Police say that he had been drinking heavily at a club in Gelsenkirchen before getting behind the wheel. Asamoah has reportedly had his license suspended for about three months.
6. Nikolai Khabibulin, goalie – Chicago Blackhawks
The “Bulin Wall” was probably fortunate that he didn’t slam into a wall back in February of 2010, when he was pulled over for speeding by police in Phoenix where he lives. Khabibulin reportedly blew a .164 and was convicted of DUI six months later, but his attorney appealed the verdict and the case remained in limbo for almost a year. Then, with the pending case threatening his preparation for the 2011 NHL season, Khabibulin pled guilty in July of 2011 and served 15 days in jail plus another 15 days of house arrest. He also paid a fine of over $1,500 and had to participate in an alcohol program. Khabibulin was the first Russian-born goalie to win the Stanley Cup when he backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
5. Coco Crisp, outfielder – Oakland A’s
Crisp gets the “irony” award for this list. During spring training in March of 2011, Crisp was pulled over by police during the early morning hours in Scottsdale, Arizona and charged with driving under the influence. Police reports indicate that Crisp, who eventually blew a .15 on a breathalyzer, was being followed by a Dodge pickup truck which pulled to the shoulder along with Crisp. When police asked the center fielder who was in the pickup, he replied it was the “secret service.” (It was later determined that is was just a private security force employed either by Crisp or the club). But here’s the worst part: Crisp was arrested just hours after MLB officials delivered their annual “don’t do this” talk to the A’s players – which included warnings about drunk driving.
4. Bobby Dale Earnhardt, auto racer
Taken as a whole, 2013 was a great year for Dale Earnhardt’s grandson. The fourth-generation racer garnered Rookie of the Year honors in the ARCA Truck series after finishing sixth in the overall points race. But the Charleston, West Virginia resident hit a speed bump of sorts in August of last year when he was arrested in his hometown for driving under the influence. Police reportedly pulled Earnhardt over after seeing him make a wide left turn at a high rate of speed; a subsequent breathalyzer test showed a blood alcohol content of .193. His case is still pending. Earnhardt hopes one day to break into the NASCAR series of racing.
3. Rachel Connor, LPGA golfer
You may not have ever heard of the British-born Connor. But back in March of 2012, the then-21 year old golfer was pulled over in Sarasota, Florida for speeding and weaving, and registered a breathalyzer reading as high as .137. Connor eventually pled guilty and avoided jail time with a year-long probation. But what you might remember about this incident was the identity of Connor’s passenger – former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Eddie George. Earlier in the evening, Connor had tweeted a picture of the two of them at the Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic and the married George had to issue a public statement that he was not in a relationship with the perky Connor. Her last golf appearance in the U.S. was on the Symetra Tour in Mesa, Arizona in January, where she shot a first-round 85 and withdrew.
2. Antonio Escalante, featherweight boxer
The Mexican-born fighter has compiled an impressive 24-4 record and has won the Golden Gloves title twice in the Featherweight division. But back in February, El Paso police responded to a call and reportedly found the 28-year old asleep behind the wheel of a 2004 Mazda that was running and in gear (and contained open containers of alcohol). Video footage showed Escalante swaying and slurring while interacting with the officers after the incident. He was arrested and charged with DWI, and his case is still pending. Shortly after his arrest, Escalante tweeted an apology to his fans and sponsors.
1. Jon Jones, light heavyweight champion – UFC
Jon “Bones” Jones is a terror in the octagon, having defended his Light Heavyweight title a UFC record six times; and he’ll go for number seven in a row against Glover Teixeira in Baltimore on April 26th at UFC 172. But Jones hasn’t always made the best decisions outside of the arena. Back on May 19th of 2012, Jones was driving his Bentley Continental GT in Binghamton, New York when he crashed into a pole. Authorities subsequently arrested Jones on DWI charges, which necessitating him being bailed out by his mother. He later pled guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge, paid a $1,000 fine, allowed ignition interlock devices to be installed on each of his vehicles and had his New York license suspended for six months, but did not have to serve any time in jail.