In the criminal justice system, athletes who commit offenses are considered especially heinous. In the sports world, the dedicated writers who investigate these vicious crimes are members of an elite website called TheSportster. These are their stories (duh, duh!)
Okay, so maybe I watch too many reruns of Law & Order: SVU, but there is nothing like a juicy headline of an athlete going to jail. Most of the time, we see petty drug offenses, or even an unlicensed fire arm, but in other instances, these athletes murder, rape, steal, burglarize and just commit horrible crimes.
As a sports fan, it usually comes as a shock when these "role models" get locked up. But there are other times when athletes get lessened sentences, or no jail time at all, due to their status in society. Sometimes an athlete will also luck out due to circumstantial evidence, or due to the fact that they're well off, they're able to hire some of the best lawyers and thus, give themselves a better chance of winning their case.
Make sure you view these cases without taking into account their society status and grab some yard time with the 10 athletes currently rotting in jail and 10 that should still be there.
20 Serving: Chad Curtis
Chad Curtis, a former MLBer, who played for six teams across the U.S. from 1992-2001, was convicted of sexual assault in 2013. The two-time World Series Champion was substituting and teaching at Lakewood High School from 2010-2012, but in May of 2012, several of his female students accused Curtis of "inappropriate touching." Without getting into the grotesque details, Curtis was found guilty of six counts, including third-degree sexual conduct.
During the final day of the trial, Curtis decided to give an hour long speech, trying to prove his innocence, claiming his victims were lying, but it just made him seem like even more of a creep. Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt said it "was the most selfish, self-serving, victim-blaming statement I've heard in my career as a prosecutor. ... It speaks volumes about his character, or lack thereof." He's currently serving 7-15 years at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan and is eligible for parole in 2020.
19 Should be: Ray Lewis
Sure fire hall of famer linebacker, Ray Lewis, still has demons that haunt him. After a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta, a fight broke out between Lewis, friends, and a rival group of people, resulting in the stabbing death of two men. Later on, the Ravens captain and his friends were indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges.
Lewis had a white suit on the night of the party, and it was never found, which screams guilty. A knife at the season was wiped clean of any fingerprints and DNA. But one of the murder victim's blood was found inside Ray's limo! Sadly, Lewis just turned on the other guys, even though everyone was acquitted. The NFL fined him $250,000, believed to be the highest levied fine ever. There is no doubt that Lewis was involved, and should be locked up right now.
18 Serving: Keith Wright
By far, one of the longest prison sentences belongs to former defensive tackle, Keith Wright. Before we jump into his criminal activity, let's go over some of his playing career (trust me, it's short). Wright was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2003 with a 6th-round pick (214th overall). The former University of Missouri tackle never really made it on to a roster, bouncing from Houston to Indy to Tampa Bay to Arizona, across the ocean to Hamburg, and back to Detroit. All of these cities in only four years.
Okay, so the major kicker, after an unsuccessful footbal career, Wright was found guilty in 2012 of 19 charges, including armed robbery, kidnapping, forced oral copulation, first degree burglary, and false imprisonment. He was sentenced the same day to 234 years and 8 months in prison. No, that's not a typo! He'll be rotting in jail forever!
17 Should be: Lawrence Taylor
Arguably the greatest defensive player of All-time, the former New York Giant, L.T., knew how to party. Early on in his career, Taylor would regularly use cocaine and alcohol, until he was popped for his second violation. He was even rumored to have bought prostitutes for opponents the night before games to tire them out.
But, the partying lifestyle is not the reason L.T. should be in jail. In 2010, Taylor was arrested for paying for sex with a 16-year-old girl in New York. He was charged with third-degree statutory rape, and third-degree patronization for paying the underage girl $300 to sleep with him. Taylor got off with six years of probation, and has to register as a sex offender. A sad story, but L.T. should definitely be locked up for his crimes.
16 Serving: Darren Sharper
You can say that Darren Sharper, the former All-Pro Safety, was the Bill Cosby of the NFL. In 2016, he received 18 years in prison of drugging over 16 women in four states, and sexually assaulting them. The issue was, even when these women were talking to federal prosecutors, Sharper was still committing these crimes! How arrogant and stupid!
According to the Associated Press, an unidentified victim, who woke up next to Sharper one night after being drugged, said "Within days ... you gave me ... and the entire judicial system in Louisiana the big middle finger because you thought we weren't capable of stopping you," she said. "You continued to rape other women in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas."
It's crazy, how one man can go downhill so fast. One of the hardest hitting safeties in the league is now hitting the showers in prison.
15 Should be: Ryan Leaf
There is almost no bigger draft Bust (besides maybe JamMarcus Russell) in NFL history. Leaf was selected second-overall in 1998 by the San Diego Chargers. He was a truly horrible NFL QB, and was out of the league by 2001.
The reason Leaf should be in jail is his constant substance abuse. In 2009, leaf was indicted on burglary and controlled-substance charges in Texas, and only got ten years probation. In 2012, he was arrested again on burglary and theft charges, and was arrested again FOUR DAYS LATER on the same charges! After several stints in rehab, Leaf was sentenced to five years (getting credit for time spent in a Montana prison). He only ended up serving three months and was released under supervision. So, he should still be rotting away in prison!
14 Serving: Mel Hall
Mell Hall is a former pro baseball player, who is currently serving a 45-year prison sentence. But let's back up to his playing days first. Hall came into the league in 1981 as the fifth-youngest player, and had short stints in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Japan, and San Francisco. He hit a total of 134 home runs and 620 RBIs.
In 2007, Hall was arrested in Lewisville, Texas, for two sexual assaults that happened several years earlier. Apparently, one of the victims was 17-years-old at the time, and the other one was only 12! Hall was convicted in 2009, and sentenced to 45-years in prison, with a mandatory 22 years and 4 months before he is eligible for parole. In 2014, SB Nation reported that Hall was preying on women throughout his career, and there were many more victims that never came forward. Have fun rotting in jail!
13 Should be: Maurice Clarett
Another diva falling from grace. Clarett was a stand out at Ohio State before he was dismissed from the team. He was seen yelling at coaches, blaming fellow players, and getting preferential treatment in the classroom. He tried his hand in the NFL, but was released by the Broncos in training camp of his rookie year. He was $1 million debt and attempted to play in the AFL (and even tried Rugby), but nothing panned out.
In 2006, Clarett was arrested for robbery in Columbus after holding two men at gun point with .45 caliber. He was then arrested in Columbus, after he made an illegal u-turn that turned into a police chase.He was sentenced to prison, but was soon released. In my opinion, this guy should have been locked up for a lot longer, but it is truly one of the great (but sad) stories for any football.
12 Serving: Javaris Crittenton
Javaris Crittenton will go down as one of the most embarrassing draft picks in Lakers history, not only because he was a bad NBA player, but for the actions he eventually committed off the court. Back in 2009, while with the Washington Wizards, he and Gilbert Arenas drew guns on each other in the locker room, reportedly over a gambling debt.
However, the reason Crittenton is in jail stems from killing a mother of four, Julian Jones. Jones was not the intended target in the killing, as Crittenton was apparently targeting someone who had stolen money from him. Still, Crittenton had the intention of taking a life and wound up taking one from an innocent young woman. Crittenton was given 23 years on manslaughter charges and will be in jail until 2038.
11 Should be: Mike Danton
A hockey player finally makes our list. Mike Danton, a Polish-Canadian hockey player, had a promising NHL career in front of him. He played from 2000-2004, but just days after his team, the Blues, were eliminated from the 2004 playoffs, Danton was arrested on charges of conspiracy to murder. He pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman (who turned out to be a police dispatcher) to kill his agent, David Frost. The judge sentenced Danton to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
In 2011, after his release from prison, Danton attempted a comeback in professional hockey, playing overseas in Europe. He still is bouncing around "Prison Hockey" leagues, but should be rotting in jail due to his complete idiocy. I mean, when has hiring a hitman ever really worked out?
10 Serving: Eddie Johnson
"Fast Eddie" Johnson was poised for greatness in the NBA, but his criminal activities led to his ultimate downfall. A two-time All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson scored over 10,000 points during his ten-year career in the NBA. In 1987 though, the NBA banned him for life for his repeated cocaine use.
After his career in the NBA, Johnson battled drug addiction for several years and had been in and out of the Florida Prison system for a rap sheet that included over 100 arrests. But the ultimate crime came in 2006, when he was charged for sexual battery and molesting an 8-year-old girl. In 2008, Johnson was convicted and is serving a mandatory life sentence without parole. Despite being known for his lock-down defense, Johnson will now be known for being locked-up forever.
9 Should be: Dante Stallworth
Stallworth's story is extremely controversial, because he was actually convicted and served his jail time. Let's start from the beginning. The NFL wideout was driving home after a night of drinking on March 14, 2009, when he struck and killed a 59-year-old man in Miami Beach. The man was on his way home from his shift at as a crane operator. The victim was not in a crosswalk, and was on a busy highway, but that doesn't excuse the act.
Subsequently, Stallworth was found guilty of DUI manslaughter and was suspended from the NFL for the entire 2009 season. He also served 30-days in jail for his actions. I still don't know how to feel about the situation, because it seems like Stallworth had an excellent chance of being found innocent according to his lawyers, but chose to be convicted as a felon, based on morality. Either way, if you kill a man, you should be locked up.
8 Serving: Oscar Pistorius
The infamous blade runner. Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter, originally was known for his 2012 stint in the London Olympics, where the double amputee competed against able-bodied men. But nowadays, the blade runner is known for murdering his girlfriend and model, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius' excuse? He mistook Steenkamp for a possible intruder. He shot her four times through the bathroom door of his home.
Without getting into too much legal detail (because I know nothing about the South African legal system), Pistorius was found guilty of the murder of his girlfriend. He appealed and was granted house arrest. Then again, he was convicted. As of September 2017, the state granted another appeal process, as the Pistorius family stated that they had a "personal vendetta" against him.
7 Should be: Ugueth Urbina
The two-time MLB All-Star was an ace on the mound as a relief pitcher in the 90s. He had a career ERA of 3.45 and managed 237 saves. But after he was out of the league, Urbina faced several legal issues, actually he just went kind of nuts.
In his home country of Venezuela, Urbina was charged with attempted murder after attacking five workers on his ranch. Apparently, he accused the workers of stealing a gun from him, and decided they needed to be punished. He tried to injure the workers with a machete and poured gasoline on them. In 2007, Urbina was sentenced to over 14 years in prison. He was release in 2012, after serving less than half his sentence. Therefore, the former pitcher should still be locked up!
6 Serving: Mark Rogowski
The one-time high flying skateboarder is now rotting in a prison cell. It's the classic case of a bipolar man, and born-again Christian, murdering and raping a woman that reminded him of his ex-girlfriend. Nothing special.
Story has it, Rogowski was severely injured in Germany, and turned to religion to help in the healing process. He proposed to his longtime girl, Brandi McClain, but his evangelical ways caused the demise of their relationship. Queue Jessica Bergsten, a friend of Rogowski's who wanted to be shown around San Diego, and then went missing. On March 20, 1991, Rogowski brought Bergsten back to his apartment, knocked her unconscious, and shackled her to the bed. He forcibly raped her then suffocated her to death. Rogowski then put the body in a surfboard bag and buried her in the desert. He eventually admitted to all his crimes and was convicted. In 2011, Rogowski was denied parole and won't be eligible again until 2018.
5 Should be: Jayson Williams
Former NBA All-Star, Jayson Williams, has seen his fair share of run-ins with the law. He's broken a beer mug over someone's head, fired a firearm in the Meadowlands parking lot, got tasered by NYPD for erratic behavior, punched a guy in the face during a bar fight in Raleigh, and crashed his Mercedes into a tree, resulting in a DWI.
None of these charges resulted in jail time (by themselves), yet the one incident he's on this list for is the killing of his limo driver in 2002. He was "playing" with a shotgun at his estate, when it accidentally fired, killing the driver. After several years of deliberation in the courts, he was sentenced to five years in prison (mainly stemming from the multitude of crimes he has committed). Yet he was released from custody in 2012. The guy should have been in prison for a lot longer than that!
4 Serving: Eric Naposki
Oh, man, Naposki's story is great. He came into the NFL in 1988 and played two years in America with the Colts and Patriots, but soon moved to Barcelona in the World Football League. He won the World Bowl V (I know, it sounds like a video game) with the Barcelona Dragons in 1997. The next few years went slow for Naposki, but in 2009 his life changed forever.
Fifteen years after it happened, Naposki was charged with the 1994 murder of Bill McLaughlin in Newport Beach, California. Apparently, Naposki helped Nanette Johnson murder McLaughlin so they could collect his life insurance money. In 2012, the former UConn Husky was sentenced to life in prison. To this day, he maintains his innocence and continues to appeal the charges. But for now, he's rotting away!
3 Should be: Michael Vick
Man, Vick did his time! Hell no, he barely did any! Okay, we all know the story with Michael Vick; electric QB who took the NFL by storm with the Falcons but served 18 months in jail for his ties to dog fighting. I'm not going to go into the details, but I will use this opportunity to shut down any "Vick supporters."
The guy is a bum. If it wasn't for football, he would have been in jail long before he was ever involved in dog fighting. I'm just pissed that I have to type in dog fighting. Who the hell would want to hurt innocent animals? Pitting dogs against each other is inhumane and ridiculous. Yes, he seems reformed somewhat today, but is that not just due to trying to uphold a new image?
2 Serving: Rae Carruth
Rae Carruth thought he had everything figured out in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams, but the law found him. On November 16, 1999, Carruth stopped his vehicle in front of Adams, blocking her, and an associate of Carruth, Van Brett Watkins, shot her four times. She was able to call 911, but later died. They were able to deliver the baby via emergency C-section, but due to it's lack of oxygen from the mother, the baby was born with sever cerebral palsy.
Carruth was later found (after originally posting a $3-million bail) inside the trunk of a car in Tennessee. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail and is scheduled to be released on October 22, 2018. In my opinion, even though he has been rotting in jail for almost the past two decades, it's still not enough!
1 Should be: O.J. Simpson
The glove doesn't fit. There have been movies, documentaries, TV shows and everything in between, about O.J.'s case. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death in Brentwood in LA. The famous white Ford Bronco chase was seen by millions. Eventually, Simpson was acquitted after a lengthy trial, but the majority of the public still believes he is guilty.
In 2007 though, "Juice" got caught stealing his memorabilia at gunpoint at the Palace Station Casino in Vegas. After serving nine years, O.J. recently was released from prison on October 1, 2017. But man, he should have been locked up for life for murder.
That concludes our list of 10 athletes currently rotting in jail and 10 that should still be there! Keep reading TheSportster, and maybe this list will grow to 30 in the next few years!