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Top 10 Disgraced Athletes over the Last 30 Years

In the real world, a falling star is one of the most beautiful sights to witness with the naked eye. In the world of professional sports, a falling star is like a car accident -- you really shouldn't

In the real world, a falling star is one of the most beautiful sights to witness with the naked eye. In the world of professional sports, a falling star is like a car accident -- you really shouldn't look but, for some reason, you can't take your eyes off it. Most of the time, fans just hope their team wins or their favorite player has a good game but when an individual's life and personal career garners negative public attention, the media takes a field day. Whether it's our fascination with self-destruction or witnessing a long overdue confession to the vices of cheating, drugs and money, the world loves an athlete who has fallen from grace.

Over the last few weeks we've witnessed how quickly a scandal can become newsworthy from Yankees' pitcher Michael Pineda and the pine tar incident to South African track star Oscar Pistorius' murder trial. Just how quickly can one moment change the rest of our lives? According to Yahoo, former New England Patriots' tight end Aaron Hernandez went from making $4 million a year to being arrested and taken into custody as a free agent in less than two hours. Hernandez is still on trial for murder and may never play football in the NFL again. Some athletes face roadblocks that tarnish their careers but don't ruin them. Some athletes endure career-ending scandals but move on to successful positions in other departments or industries.

But the hardest truths to swallow are the ones that have long-lasting ramifications. The late Joe Paterno, former head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, went from being the most winningest NCAA football coach and 2008 Hall of Famer to arguably the most disgraced coach in sports history. His professional career was virtually wiped as the NCAA stripped victories dating back over a decade while his personal life went up in flames as the media revealed Paterno's involvement in the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal. Paterno was eventually fired and passed away 2 months later. It only takes a brief moment or one poor decision for years of work to be shattered. Looking back at the last 30 years of professional sports, these are the top 10 most disgraced athletes.

10 Brett Favre

9 Michael Vick 

8 Marion Jones

7 Mark McGwire

6 Mike Tyson

5 Alex Rodriguez

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

4 Pete Rose

3 O.J. Simpson

2 Tiger Woods

1 Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is the brightest star to have fallen from grace. The former 7-time Tour de France champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 and made a miraculous return to road cycling within a year. Armstrong was cancer-free and an incredible inspiration to the world. But the ability to overcome intensive surgeries and chemotherapy and dominating the world of competitive cycling proved too good to be true for America's golden boy. In 2013, Armstrong finally admitted to the doping allegations that had haunted him throughout his entire career and was eventually stripped of all of his Tour de France titles.

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Top 10 Disgraced Athletes over the Last 30 Years