Reaching the biggest stage in your respective sport puts a target on your back in the eyes of the media. You're constantly being covered by a number of different publications, each of them looking to get their hands on the juiciest story possible in order to get clicks on their website. Because the targets on their backs are so large, even the smallest blunder can cause a wave of controversy within the media. Athletes are seen as role models, and finding even the smallest chink in their armor can be detrimental to their careers moving forward. Some athletes are able to shake off these images, while others will always be viewed as nothing more than a thug or a punk until the day that they retire from their sport. Because of this, athletes are usually forced to be more reserved than they actually are for fear of being exposed by the media.
The athletes who commit heinous crimes, however, will always be looked at as nothing short of monsters. We've seen athletes who've murdered and abused substances to the point of destroying their lives and have been accused of causing harm against women and children. These athletes are the ones we'll be covering on our list today. Not only will we be divulging information about their careers, but we'll also be exposing the darkness that was in them while they were on the world's biggest stage. They may be people too, but their decision to commit these acts lands them on our list for a reason.
15 Rae Carruth - Conspiracy To Commit Murder
Taken with the 27th overall pick in the 1997 NFL draft, wide receiver Rae Carruth was supposed to provide a spark to help push the Carolina Panthers' offense to the next level. Carruth was an All-American wide receiver during his time at the University of Colorado, and many saw him as a solid wide-receiver prospect. Carruth’s career lasted from 1997 to 1999, and he amassed a total of 62 receptions for 804 yards and a paltry 4 touchdowns. Needless to say, Rae Carruth wasn't the solution that the Carolina Panthers were searching for, and as it turns out, he was also not the person that many people thought he was.
In 2001, Rae Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Carruth put out a hit on a woman he was seeing who was 8 months pregnant with his child. She died from the shooting, and her child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and suffered permanent brain damage. Despite having all of the talent in the world, Rae Carruth was nothing more than a monster hiding in plain sight.
14 Allen Iverson - Maiming By Mob
Now that he's in the Hall of Fame, people can ignore Allen Iverson's off-court antics and focus on the fact that the guy was one of the best players of all time. Iverson won the MVP in 2001, and this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his accomplishments. He was an 11-time All-Star, a 3-time All-NBA First Team selection, and a 4-time NBA Scoring Champion. He was an absolute beast on the court, and he finished his career with 24,368 points scored, as well as 3,394 rebounds and 5,624 assists made.
Mistakes that people make early on in their lives can have a drastic impact on their future, and only a few people get a second chance. When a second chance arrives, it's important to make the most of it, and that's exactly what Allen Iverson did after spending time behind bars. Iverson was involved in a brawl at a bowling alley where he allegedly hit a woman. He was arrested and charged for maiming by mob. After being locked up for several months on what was supposed to be a 15-year sentence, Iverson finished his high school career, and he eventually became an all-time great.
13 Robert Rozier - “The Brotherhood”
When it comes to his accomplishments on the football field, Robert Rozier hardly registers as a blip on the radar. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979, and he played less than an entire season with the team. Rozier was released during his rookie season, allegedly due to drug-related issues. The following year, he made his way up to Canada to play in the CFL, and his career in Canada was as disappointing as his time in the NFL.
Very rarely do you find professional athletes associating themselves with cults, but such was the case with Robert Rozier. He joined a cult called “The Brotherhood,” and one of the requirements for entry was murdering a “white devil.” While on trial, Rozier admitted to killing seven people, and he ultimately served 10 years behind bars. He was then placed in witness protection before going back to prison for committing yet another felony.
12 Jayson Williams - Covering Up A Crime
Coming out of college, Jayson Williams was poised to be the next big thing in the NBA. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1990, but his stint with the team only lasted until 1992. He found success with the New Jersey Nets, though, and in 1998, he was selected to his lone All-Star Game. However, Williams never materialized into the player that many thought he could be, and his career numbers are modest. He averaged less than 8 points per game, although he did average 7.5 rebounds per game. Williams could've been a much better player, but he fell short of expectations.
While giving a tour of his house while holding a shotgun, the weapon accidentally discharged, killing Williams’ driver. Despite having heavy charges levied against him, Williams only had to atone for reckless manslaughter and attempting to cover up a crime. He's largely remained out of the public eye since serving his time.
11 Bertil Fox - Murder
During his prime, Bertil Fox was a bodybuilding powerhouse from London, England and dominated the European circuit. Fox's immense amount of success in the European circuit led him to pursue fame and glory throughout the world, and his biggest triumph came in 1983 when he placed fifth in the Mr. Olympia competition. Although he wasn't able to secure the victory, placing in the top five of the most prestigious bodybuilding competition on the planet is a major accomplishment. Fox remained active until he officially retired in the summer of 1995 when he decided to open his own gym.
Just two years after his retirement from professional bodybuilding, Fox murdered his ex-girlfriend and her mother. He was convicted of the charges less than a year later, and he was originally sentenced to death. Instead of a hanging, though, Fox ended up serving the rest of his life behind bars.
10 Eddie Johnson - Assault On A Minor
Despite being taken as late as the third round of the 1977 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, shooting guard Eddie Johnson went on to have a successful career in the NBA. Throughout his career, which lasted from 1977 to 1987, Eddie Johnson played for three teams. His best seasons came in 1980 and 1981, when he was selected to the NBA All-Star Game each year. Johnson put up 10,163 points and 1,522 rebounds during his career. Although Eddie Johnson will never be considered an all-time great, averaging 18.3 points and 6.2 assists per game makes for a solid career.
Despite boasting a solid NBA career, Eddie Johnson's legacy will always boil down to his run-ins with the law. In addition to being arrested over 100 times, Johnson’s most despicable crime came in 2008, when he was convicted of s*xual battery of a minor under 12. He's currently serving a life sentence.
9 Tommy Kane - Manslaughter
Tommy Kane was a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1988 NFL Draft, but he had a relatively disappointing career during his time in the NFL. The wide receiver performed admirably while attending Syracuse, and the Seattle Seahawks decided to roll the dice on the wide receiver to help bolster their offense. Instead of reaching his potential in the NFL, however, Tommy Kane proved to be nothing more than a mildly serviceable wide receiver. He ended his career in the NFL in 1992 after posting only 142 receptions and 2,034 yards during his brief career. After spending one year in the CFL playing for the Toronto Argonauts, Tommy Kane retired from playing professional football.
Nearly a decade after he retired from football, Tommy Kane was convicted of stabbing his wife, Tammara, at their house in Canada. For his actions that evening, Kane was sentenced to serve 18 years behind bars.
8 Ugueth Urbina - Attempted Murder
During his time in the MLB, pitcher Ugueth Urbina was a solid player who maintained a very lengthy career. Urbina made his debut back in 1995 with the Montreal Expos, and his final season in the MLB came in 2005 when he played with the Philadelphia Phillies. Urbina's career saw him finish with 814 strikeouts and 237 career saves. He was selected to two All-Star games in 1998 and 2002, and he was a World Series champion back in 2003. His most notable career accomplishment came in 1999 when he led the National League in saves. He's hardly considered a legend of the sport, but we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the fact that he enjoyed a solid professional career.
In 2005, Urbina was arrested after attacking farm workers on his property with a machete and attempting to pour gasoline on them. The attempted murder charges landed Urbina in prison, and he spent roughly seven years behind bars.
7 Travis Henry - Drug Trafficking
During his time at the University of Tennessee, Travis Henry was an absolute beast on the football field. So, it should come as no surprise that the talented running back was taken in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft. The Buffalo Bills were looking to add a dominant piece to their offense, and they got some excellent productivity from Henry. He hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark twice with the team, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2002. Henry eventually played for the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos in his career, which ended in 2007.
Outside of football, Henry was well-known for having 11 children and for his life heading down a very dark road. Just one year after leaving the NFL, Henry was arrested and was found to be financing a coke-dealing operation. The father of 11 was sentenced to serve 3 years behind bars.
6 Maurice Clarett - Armed Robbery
Running back Maurice Clarett will always be considered one of the biggest 'what if' stories in football history. Those of you who followed him during his time at Ohio State are well aware that Clarett was one of the best running backs in the country. During his one and only season at Ohio State, Maurice Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns, propelling the Buckeyes to having an incredible season. This is where everything began to unravel for Clarett, who tried getting into the NFL after being in college for only one season. Clarett was then dismissed from Ohio State University, spending an entire year away from football. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005, and he was such a disappointment at training camp that he didn't get to play in a single preseason game before being released.
Clarett's life began to spiral out of control once he wasn't able to play football, and the only time he found himself in headlines was when he was having run-ins with the law. He found himself sentenced to six years in prison stemming from a plea bargain in connection with an armed robbery and a weapons-possession charge.
5 Peter Storey - Importing Illegal Photos In His Spare Tire
Peter Storey isn’t quite a household name, but his life of crime and athletic achievements was interesting enough to warrant inclusion on our list. Storey is best known for his football years, when he played for both Arsenal and Fulham. Storey also played for the English National Team in the 1970's, giving you an idea of how talented a player he was during his prime.
Storey has had plenty of problems with law enforcement during his life, and we had a few interesting options to cover. Attempting to counterfeit gold coins is a pretty unique crime, but the one we selected is one of the oddest jail sentences that we've heard in quite some time. Back in 1990, Storey was busted for smuggling p*rnography in his spare tire. Yes, you read that correctly. He was smuggling p*rnography in a spare tire, and when he was caught, he was sentenced to spend a month in jail.
4 Lenny Dykstra - Grand Theft Auto
Lenny Dykstra was a tough-as-nails baseball player who rose to fame in the late 1980's while playing with the New York Mets. While he wasn't one of the most dominant players of his era, Dykstra was still an exceptional player, and he found himself being selected to 3 All-Star Games (1990, 1994, 1995). He was a World Series champion in 1986 during his time with the New York Mets, and he took home the Silver Slugger Award in 1993. By the time his career had wrapped up in 1996, Dykstra had 81 career home runs and 404 career RBIs. Despite being a solid player in his prime, injuries and age eventually caught up with Dykstra, forcing him into retirement.
Once he retired from playing professional baseball, Dykstra continually found himself in legal trouble, although he was usually able to avoid serving time behind bars. In 2012, Dykstra was sentenced to serve three years behind bars for grand theft auto.
3 Nate Newton - Drug Trafficking
The Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the 1990's was comprised of some of the greatest teams ever assembled in the NFL, and it all started with their offensive line. Among the great players that anchored those lines for the Dallas Cowboys was guard Nate Newton. The towering Newton was one of the best players at his position during his time in the NFL, and he was selected to six Pro Bowls during his incredible career. Newton was also a two-time All-Pro selection (1994, 1995). By the time his career ended in 1999, Newton was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys, and he was one of the era's best players at his position.
Life after football proved to be a difficult one for Newton, and several years after his retirement, Newton was busted for having 213 lbs of marijuana in a white van. Five weeks later, he was busted again for having 175 lbs of marijuana. He was eventually sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.
2 Pete Rose - Tax Evasion
Say what you want about his connection to gambling on games, but Pete Rose is perhaps the greatest hitter in MLB history. The 17-time MLB All-Star finished his career with 4,256 hits and 1,314 RBIs. Rose batted .303 for his career, and he racked up a total of 160 home runs. On the defensive side of things, Rose was a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and he was instrumental in winning three World Series Championships. Toss in a National League MVP in 1973 and a World Series MVP in 1975, and you have yourself one of the greatest players to ever play professional baseball. Despite all of the incredible accomplishments in his career, Pete Rose remains out of the Hall of Fame due to his gambling on games when he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1990, Rose was charged and eventually plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion after failing to report over $350,000 worth of income. Pete Rose ended up serving five months behind bars, and this situation has also hindered him from his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1 Sam Hurd - Drug Distribution
Players who play for smaller colleges often go unnoticed by NFL teams, and when the NFL Draft rolls around, their names are hardly ever called by the NFL Commissioner. These undrafted players can find new life, however, if they're signed by a team when the draft concludes. It is a rough road, but a number of great players have started off their careers this way. Sam Hurd was an undrafted free agent signing by the Dallas Cowboys, and Hurd lasted in the NFL from 2006 to 2011, playing for the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears. He put up modest numbers in his career, but he was an example of a player going undrafted only to have a decently long career in the NFL.
Despite making some good money during his career, Hurd thought that becoming a drug kingpin was a great idea, and he was arrested in 2011 after attempting to sell massive amounts of coke and marijuana. He was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison.
Sources: Complex, NFL, ESPN, MLB, NBA