Domestic violence is no laughing matter. It is crazy to think about what goes into this subject matter. But at a very young age, boys and girls are taught not to hit one another. Sure, there are those who have violence streaks and get in fights with people of the same sex. I've seen some of the craziest brawls that have involved female high school students. It doesn't take a man to be violent of an abuser. It is extraordinary how many people have been victims of these terrible acts. Whether it is a man against a woman, a woman against a man, or same-sex domestic partners, domestic violence has no place in the world. When fights escalate from words to violence, it's time to get out.
When you look at athletes, there are heightened factors to some of their violent behaviors. We are just becoming more aware of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). This condition certainly does not excuse violent behavior, but many athletes who have suffered repeated blows to their heads have exhibited violent tendencies that they have little control over.
Other factors also come into play. Let's talk Roid Rage. Steroids are known to boost testosterone levels through the roof. This gives normal men super-human surges in energy and strength. Many times, it can overwhelm their better judgments and produce more knee-jerk overreactions. And then we have crappy upbringing. We started with little boys and girls being told that hitting is bad. Well, some morons just didn't get the memo. It didn't stick. They thought they were above the laws and common sense behaviors that govern humanity. They hit others because they feel like they can. No matter what the reason is, domestic violence is unacceptable at every level and there are no excuses. Let's take a look at some athletes who were called out for their bad behaviors. These Are 15 Athletes Who (Allegedly) Have Shockingly Abused Their Women.
15 Ray Rice
No allegations here...just video evidence of this encounter. There is no more certainty than a man caught clocking his spouse on camera. Ray Rice did just that and blew up his football career in the process. The University of Rutgers standout was a local legend in the Tristate region. He had a squeaky clean image as a positive force in the community. And then came the all-out assault between his wife and himself. Certainly, there were mitigating circumstances. The two appeared to be drunk and she was attacking him as well. But the sheer and raw power of Ray Rice's right-hand cross knocked his wife out cold. He dragged her out of the elevator like a piece of meat. The entire episode was caught on security surveillance. Rice was initially slapped on the wrist by the NFL until evidence of the assault became public. Then he was suspended indefinitely due to the backlash. He was additionally indicted for third-degree aggravated assault in March of 2014. To this day, Rice has not stepped back on the football field for an NFL team.
14 Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd is known as a complete point guard by NBA standards. He was able to rebound and assist with the best of them. He was a force on the basketball court during his player career. He is now a successful NBA coach. But many years ago, a different Jason Kidd existed; this one not nearly as nice. Kidd was arrested back in 2001 for assaulting his then wife, Joumana. Kidd plead guilty and committed himself to 6 months of court mandated anger management classes. Incredibly, he and his ex-wife stayed together until 2007 when Kidd wanted out of the marriage. That prompted a whole new set of accusations from Joumana who accused Kidd of fracturing her rib and smashing her head on a car dashboard. No matter what accusations she made later on, Kidd admitted guilt in court and he is forever going to be known as a domestic abuser.
13 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Probably one of the most famous of all domestic abusers has to be Floyd Mayweather Jr. The boxer who is widely regarded as the pound-for-pound greatest boxer of all time, certainly has had his share of issues. Known as "Money" Mayweather, the boxer has scored some of the biggest boxing paydays of all time. He also is an incredible 49-0. His perfect record is a big reason why he is considered one of the greatest boxers of all-time. However, Mayweather's success also came with some big time issues outside of the ring. In 2002, Mayweather was charged with 2 counts of domestic violence and an additional count of misdemeanor battery. He received a 6-month suspended sentence and had to perform community service. Then, in 2004, Mayweather was given a 1-year suspended sentence and ordered to counseling for "impulse control" issues. He struck two different women in this incident, his security force pleading with the women not to go to the police over the incident. In 2009, Mayweather was getting accused of domestic battery by his former girlfriend, Josie Harris. More charges were added and Mayweather did plead guilty to misdemeanor battery. He also plead no contest to two counts of misdemeanor harassment. Mayweather got only a 90-day sentence for his violent efforts and had to complete a 12-month domestic-violence program.
12 Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson
Chad Johnson was a legend for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was born in Miami, Florida and would return late in his career; but we'll get to that in a moment. Johnson played for the Bengals from 2001-2010. He made 6 Pro Bowls, representing the team as a dominant number one receiver. Johnson started to get a little full of himself late in his career. He changed his name to "Ochocinco." He even put the name on the back of his jersey. Johnson went back home to Miami for the 2012 football season. That's when things went nutty. Johnson married Evelyn Lozada (of Basketball Wives fame) on July 4th 2012. Just over a month after his marriage, Johnson was arrested on charges of domestic battery. According to reports, Johnson allegedly headbutted Lozada. The Dolphins released Johnson immediately after photos surfaced of a battered Lozada. They got divorced a month later and Johnson pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor domestic battery.
11 Greg Hardy
Greg Hardy was a force on the football field. At 6'5" tall, he rocked opposing quarterbacks from the defensive line. Hardy was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Following an epic 2013 season in which Hardy tallied 15 sacks, he was named to the Pro Bowl. He set a franchise record for sacks and appeared to be headed toward a massive payday. But on May 13th, 2014, Hardy was arrested for assaulting his then girlfriend. He was alleged to have grabbed her, tossing her into furniture, strangling her and threatening to kill her. On July 15th of the same year, a judge found him guilty and sentenced him to 18 months probation and a suspended 60-day sentence. Hardy requested a jury trial and his ex-girlfriend failed to show. Rumors began to surface that Hardy's ex was paid off not to show up. Hardy didn't escape the NFL, who suspended him for using "physical force" at least four times against his ex-girlfriend.
10 Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman is one of the most electrifying relievers in all of baseball. The closer is famous for throwing over 100 MPH with regularity. The lefty is incredibly difficult to hit and was the anchor of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen for years. He then left the Reds amidst some troubles when an incident took place at his Davie, Florida home. The altercation occurred on October 30th, 2015. Chapman was about to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers when news of the attack came out. The Dodgers pulled out of the deal when MLB announced it was investigating the domestic violence allegations against Chapman. Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and then firing his gun 8 times near her. As the investigation wore on, there were questions about his girlfriend's story. Although criminal charges were ultimately not filed, MLB banned him for 30 games due to "Chapman's use of the firearm and its effect on his partner." In other words, baseball found enough evidence to find Chapman guilty of scaring the crap out of his girlfriend with a gun. Chapman accepted the 30-game suspension levied by major league baseball and got to play for the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, ending his chaotic year with a World Series ring.
9 Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes came up with the New York Mets organization and was an enormous talent. He played shortstop and his speed and glove in the infield was matched with speed on the base paths. He also has some good pop to his bat which made him an excellent 5-tool player. But Reyes got too expensive for New York and ended up in Miami, Toronto and then with the Colorado Rockies. That's when the incident occurred. On October 31st, 2015, Reyes was arrested for assaulting his wife while they were in Wailea, Hawaii. The case was set to go to trial on April 4th, 2016, however, Reyes' wife refused to cooperate with the investigation. They were forced to dismiss the domestic abuse charges on March 30th, 2016. MLB, however, through their investigation found that Reyes "violated the 'domestic abuse policy' and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on May 31st." The suspension cost Reyes two months and $7 million. He was also released by the Colorado Rockies. Reyes jumped back on with the team he used to play for, the New York Mets.
8 Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall is currently a member of the NY Jets and is seen as a fine and outstanding citizen in the community. He is a monster receiver on the field, achieving great success for the Denver Broncos prior to him arriving in New York. He is a truly gifted wide receiver who may be at the tail end of his career, but was always one of the most difficult wideouts to cover. In 2011, Marshall revealed that he had been diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Prior to getting help for this disorder, Marshall had numerous run-ins with the law and a variety of personal issues. In 2007, Marshall was arrested in Denver on suspicion of domestic violence. Marshall was forced to go into anger management counseling. In 2009, Marshall was again arrested for disorderly conduct when he and his then fiancée, Michi Nogami-Campbell, got into a fight. His relationship with Campbell got even crazier when Marshall was stabbed in his stomach by his wife. She was charged with aggravated battery. In 2012, Marshall was accused of punching a woman in the face at a New York club when he and his wife were involved in a crazy brawl. There was a lack of evidence and no charges were filed in that incident.
7 Terrell Suggs
Terrell Suggs, the man nicknamed T-Sizzle, is a Super Bowl winning linebacker and the heart and soul of the Baltimore Ravens defense. With 114.5 sacks, Suggs holds the career mark for the Ravens. But back in 2009, Suggs had a major issue with his then girlfriend, Candace Williams. CBSSports.com reported that Williams filed a complaint alleging she was assaulted by Suggs. She accused him of throwing a soap dispenser at her head and using his hand to strike her in the chest. The complaint also included another disturbing accusation that Suggs held a bottle of bleach over Williams and their 1-year-old son. Williams included a $70 million lawsuit for good measure. They reconciled and Williams dropped her suit. Then in 2012, there were more domestic violence allegations made by Williams against Suggs. This time, he was accused of punching and dragging her beside his car while their two children looked on. A temporary protective order was put in place. The court ordered Suggs to turn over all of his fire arms which included an AK-47 and 6 other guns. They once again reconciled and no charges were filed. The two got married two months later. Can't make this crazy stuff up.
6 Josh Brown
New York Giants kicker, Josh Brown, was a highly successful placekicker. He kicked field goals from Seattle for the Seahawks all the way to the east coast and New York for the Giants. Brown was arrested in 2015 for domestic abuse. It came as quite a surprise to many and Brown was levied with a soft 1-game suspension by the NFL. The Giants and Brown seemingly moved on. That was until documents were released that showed a whole lot more was going on in Josh Brown's home. The release of documents showed that Brown admitted to abusing his wife. Brown was quoted in the Huffpost stating that he was "physically, emotionally and verbally" abusive to his wife on SEVERAL occasions. In documents obtained by NJ.com, Brown admitted to the ongoing abuse through a series of journal entries, counseling exercises, emails and letters. The information embedded in these documents showed a dangerous pattern of behavior that Brown had been a part of from a young age. Most striking was the revelation by Brown, himself, that from the age of 7 he had decided to "use and abuse women." Despite knowing Brown was having some of these issues away from the football field, the Giants had initially resigned Brown to a two-year $4 million contract. Once the documents came to light, Brown was eventually released after lengthy internal debate within the Giants' organization. It is strongly suspected that Brown has played his last game in the NFL.
5 Ray McDonald
49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was a force in the middle of the 49ers defense. In addition to being a destructive force on the football field, he began to find some destruction off the field as well. McDonald had a steady stream of incidents occur off the football field that got him in hot water with the Niners, and subsequently, got him released out of the league. Things started to unravel for McDonald in 2014. This is when the standout interior lineman got in trouble with the law. McDonald's fiancé called the police and had bruises on her arms and neck that she allegedly had sustained during an altercation with McDonald. McDonald was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence but no charges were filed. A sexual assault investigation popped up with McDonald's name once again attached, and that prompted the 49ers to release him. McDonald was then given a second change for the Chicago bears, but on May 25th, 2015, he was arrested again on suspicion of domestic violence against his fiancé and child endangerment. Two days later, he violated a restraining order put in place and was arrested again. His charges mounted to domestic violence, felony false imprisonment, child endangerment and violating a court order. Then McDonald got whacked on August 27th, 2015 when a grand jury indicted him with rape by intoxication for the 2014 assault incident. What a mess. McDonald has yet to be found guilty, but things are looking bad for him.
4 Justin Cox
Justin Cox is a young football standout from the Mississippi State University. Cox specialized on defense, playing safety for the team. Cox was doing well and looked as if he was NFL bound but experienced a serious setback to his potential career in 2014. Cox was unable to participate in his team's final three games after he got arrested. He was accused of burglary and domestic violence. The charges were dropped when Cox pleaded down to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. The domestic abuse charge was dropped at the victim's request. Cox went undrafted, in large part, due to this incident. Then, Kansas City gave Cox a chance. They signed him but his time was short-lived with the team. Yet again, Cox got into trouble with the law. On July 21, 2015, Cox was arrested for charges of burglary, aggravated domestic assault and trespassing. It was deja vu for Cox, who is now likely never to have an NFL career and is playing in Canada.
3 Leroy Hill
As reported by Bleacher Report, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill was arrested for domestic violence in 2013. This wasn't Hill's first offense. Hill was initially drafted out of Clemson University by the Seahawks in the 2005 NFL Draft. He seemed like a solid contributor on the team when he started to go off the legal rails. First, he was arrested in 2009 for marijuana possession after he was found passed out in his car in the middle of an intersection (seriously, how high do you have to be to pass out in your car while driving?). Then, on April 11, 2010, Hill's first domestic abuse arrest occurred. He allegedly hit his girlfriend and left "obvious" injuries according to the police in Issaquah, Washington. Hill was given an out. His case would be dismissed if he completed a one-year domestic violence treatment program. The gift by the court allowed Hill out of his abuse case. However, in 2013, Hill once again drew the ire of the law when he was arrested for unlawful imprisonment and third-degree assault relating to a domestic violence incident. The 2012 arrest proved too much for the Seahawks and they released the impact linebacker. The prosecution opted not to go forward with a felony charge but Hill's pattern of bad choices got him banished from the NFL.
2 Phillip Merling
It's one thing to be accused of getting into a fight and committed domestic abuse, it's another level when the woman being abused is pregnant. Phillip Merling was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2008 out of Clemson University. The defensive end was a solid NFL player who could stuff the run using his massive 6' 5" frame and all over his 315 pounds. The large man was a force on the field for opponents to deal with. Off the field, unfortunately, he had issues as well. In an article published by the NY Times, Merling's former fiancé, Kristen Lennon, went into great detail about what it meant to be the victim of domestic violence. The first incident occurred when a pregnant Lennon called 911 to state she was the victim of abuse, getting struck in the head and face by her fiancé at the time, Merling. He had locked himself in the bathroom, upset over the incident. The police arrived and arrested Merling for aggravated battery. Merling actually was able to get out of the charge when Lennon, who was 8 months pregnant at the time of the hearing, didn't want any part of traveling after moving away from Merling and back with her family in South Carolina. Without her presence and testimony, the District Attorney dropped the charges against Merling. Lennon cited special treatment from the NFL and the Dolphins security team who moved in to help and insulate Merling from drama. She claims the head of the Dolphins' security had connections with the police in the area and accessed them on Merling's behalf.
1 Mike Tyson
"Iron" Mike Tyson was one of the biggest heavyweight personas of all time despite being one of the shortest. Tyson had an incredible right uppercut. He would bob and weave, knocking his opponents out in split seconds. If you didn't catch the beginning of a Mike Tyson fight, you were bound to miss the end. He was a force in the ring, an absolute package of violence that unleashed the kind of rage upon his opponents rarely seen in the boxing ring. He was a fan favorite and everything seemed great until he became successful. His chaotic relationship and marriage to actress Robin Givens was the beginning of a major reality check for the boxer. He admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he had "socked her before. And she socked me before, as well. It was just that kind of relationship." The audience actually laughed upon the admission. Tyson was arrested for rape in July 1991. Tyson was served a 6-year sentence for the rape conviction.
Sources: totalprosports.com; nytimes.com