Written by Ben Pogany
"I am not a role model," proclaimed Charles Barkely in the now infamous 1993 Nike Commercial. "Just because I dunk a basketball, doesn't mean I should raise your kids." And you know what? With athletes like these, that's probably a good thing.
- OJ Simpson--The white Ford Bronco, the bloody glove, the "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Arguably the most sensational trial in American history, OJ walked away from a double murder a free man. However, karma is a bitch and the Juice is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence for a 2007 Las Vegas robbery.
- Michael Vick--In 2007, evidence of the dog-fighting ring known as "Bad Newz Kennels" was uncovered at a property owned by Vick in Virginia. Vick was later accused of electrocuting, beating, and strangling the dogs in addition to directly financing the operation. He ended up serving 18 months
- Tonya Harding--In 1994, Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to strike rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan on the knee. Harding went on to win the US figure skating championship while Kerrigan was forced to withdraw due to her injury. Tonya insisted that she had attempted to prevent the planned attack, even going so far as to say that when she attempted to call the FBI, her ex threatened to kill her following a gunpoint gang rape by Gillooly and two other men. However, nobody bought it and Harding was eventually stripped of her title and banned from the US Figure Skating Association for life. Harding has since release an utterly horrific sex-tape (so I'm told) and beaten up Paula Jones on the short-lived Fox experiment Celebrity Boxing.
- Mike Tyson--Though arrested 38 times by age 13, the crime that really shook the sports world was his alleged rape of 18-year-old Miss Black Rhode Island Desiree Washington in 1991. Iron Mike served 3 of his 6-year prison term before being released, going on bite the ears of grown men, rack up a slew of DUI and drug charges, and care for his pigeons. (He owned over 350 at one point)
- Adam "PacMan" Jones--In 2007, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, as Pac Man and rapper Nelly "made it rain" on several strippers at the club Minxx, Jones became enraged when one girl began collecting some of the money without his permission. Like any upstanding gentleman, Pac Man grabbed the stripper by her hair and slammed her head on the stage. During the ensuing scuffle with security, Jones threatened one of the guards' lives. Later that evening, a member of Jones' entourage returned to the club and fired several shots into a crowd, twice hitting the guard whom Pac Man had threatened and also ultimately paralyzing former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski. Jones pleaded no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, probation,and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
- Rae Carruth--In 1999, the former Panther receiver allegedly blocked the car of Cherica Adams, his girlfriend and baby-mama to-be while another car drove alongside and opened fire on the woman, killing her. Carruth was eventually found by police hiding in the trunk of a car outside a motel in Tennessee alongside $3,900 in cash, bottles to hold his urine, extra clothes, candy bars, and a cell phone. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and is currently serving a prison sentence of 18-24 years.
- Nate Newton--In 2001, police found 213 pounds of marijuana in Nasty Nate's van. Unbelievably, five weeks later, while out on bail, Nate again had a run in with the police, this time with only a mere 175 pounds of pot in his possession. The six-time pro-bowl offensive lineman was given 30 months in the slammer and has reportedly renounced his old ways.
- Ugueth Urbina- In 2005, this former Sox reliever was accused of attacking five of his Venezuelan farm hands with both a machete and by pouring gasoline on them. He is currently serving 14 years in prison for attempted murder.
- Riddick Bowe--In 1998, the former heavyweight champ was convicted of kidnapping his wife and children, driving them from North Carolina to Maryland, and then threatening his wife with a knife, handcuffs, duct tape and pepper spray. Bowe actually got off with 30 days by claiming that he had suffered brain damage as a result of repeated blows to the head. However, this ridiculous decision was eventually overturned and he served 17 months in prison.
- Plaxico Burress--Talk about adding insult to injury. Guy shoots himself in the leg, then gets thrown in jail for two years all because he didn't have a permit for the weapon. Coming from someone who literally had his heart broken by Plax, I'll be the first to say this is beyond ridiculous. Donte Stallworth kills someone in a drunk driving accident and gets off with a few months, while at the same time Plaxico gets two years for shooting himself?? Horrific crime it was not. But sensational? Very.