Typically, athletes will stay clear of engaging in criminal activities and the majority of them are positive role models for the youth of the world. Most professional athletes lead a somewhat glamorous lifestyle and are well paid, so for them to commit crime seems bizarre and not the smartest move (not that it is ever smart to break the law). Over the course of sports history there have been an alarming amount of professional athletes who have engaged in some form of criminal activity, and these stories will always shock and stun the sporting world.
One of the most common forms of crime is related to drugs. Sometimes this is possession, but it can also be distribution or trafficking. Why these athletes are selling marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin and all kinds of other narcotics is never clear, and often it is not small scale operations that they find themselves caught up in either. When these athletes are caught, it not only ruins their careers and completely tarnishes their reputation; they also find themselves paying the price for their crimes and face time behind bars.
There are often drug scandals in sports, but these are usually related to athletes taking performance enhancing drugs to gain edge against the competition. Sometimes however the drug scandals are much larger, shocking and controversial than this, and some hugely successful athletes have been caught selling drugs off the field of play.
Here are 15 athletes who have been caught selling drugs.
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16 Juan Garriga
Juan Garriga is a Spanish former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, with his best year coming in 1988 where he won three races and came 2nd in the 250cc World Championship. Ten years later, Garriga was arrested for his part in a drug smuggling ring and he was charged with trafficking and possession of firearms. His sentence was reduced from 11 years to just two after reaching a plea agreement. Court records also showed that Garriga was regularly taking drugs throughout his racing career.
15 Tom McCarthy
Tom McCarthy was the 10th pick in the 1979 NHL Draft and would go on to play 460 games with the Minnesota North Stars and Boston Bruins. He was selected to play in the 1983 All-Star game, and that season he would finish with an impressive 39 goals. Retirement would not treat McCarthy so well however, as he soon became involved with drugs and particularly with a dealer known as Carl Thompsen. In 1994, McCarthy was arrested and charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs. He was sentenced to the best part of six years, but he was released in 1998 and became a junior coach.
14 David Jenkins
Scottish track and field sprinter David Jenkins won an Olympic Silver medal in the 1972 Munich games for the 4x400 relay, and he also set a British record for the 400 metres in 1975 which would stand for 12 years. He would later admit to taking performance enhancing drugs during his career, but this was not the end of the saga. In the 1980s he would partner with Juan Javier Macklis and manufacture anabolic steroids in Mexico to sell in the U.S. He would be apprehended and arrested in 1987 and he pleaded guilty for tracking of steroids with about $100 million. He was sentenced to seven years but would only serve 10 months and went on to start a legal fitness product enterprise.
13 Jamal Lewis
Jamal Lewis was the 5th pick in the 2000 draft by the Baltimore Ravens, and he would go on to win the Super Bowl in his first year. In 2003 he rushed for 2,066 yards (third all time) and also rushed for 295 yards in one game which was a record up until 2007. It was not all trophies and impressive records for Lewis however, as in 2004 it was revealed that he had been involved in talks surrounding a large drug deal. Lewis was caught trying to obtain 5 kg of cocaine with intent to distribute, but he would reach a plea agreement and was sentenced to just four months in federal prison.
12 Travis Henry
Travis Henry played seven seasons in the NFL for Buffalo, Tennessee and Denver, including a Pro Bowl selection in 2002. In 2008 he would be suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and that same year he was arrested for cocaine trafficking after his involvement in a large transaction that took place in Colorado. He would reach a plea agreement and face three years instead of 10 and was ordered to pay $4 million in fines. Henry has stated that he was struggling to keep up with his child support payments, as he fathered at least nine children with nine different women.
11 Christian Hosoi
During the 1980s, Christian Hosoi was one of the biggest names in skateboarding and had a budding rivalry with Tony Hawk. Hosoi also engaged in a hard partying lifestyle however, and by the 90s he found himself addicted to drugs. After failing to appear in court after being arrested twice for minor offenses, Hosoi was on the lam but would be caught at Honolulu airport in January 2000 whilst trying to transport 1.5 pounds of crystal meth. He faced 10 years in jail after being charged with trafficking with intent to distribute, but he would be released after four years.
10 Byron “Bam” Morris
Former running back “Bam” Morris played for the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, gaining 73 yards on 19 carries. Over the course of his 75 game career, he would record 3,809 yards and score 35 touchdowns. He would become more famous for his off-field issues however and he would plead guilty to felony possession of marijuana in 1996. Five years later, Morris pleaded guilty to two counts of federal drug trafficking and he faced 30 months in jail after admitting to distributing 100 kg of marijuana between 1998 and 2000.
9 Sam Hurd
Former wide receiver Sam Hurd played six seasons in the NFL, playing five with the Cowboys before joining the Bears in 2011. The Bears would cut him the same year however, after Hurd was arrested on drug related charges. Hurd was arrested for attempting to purchase and distribute as much as 10 kg of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana each week, but the deal happened to be with an undercover policeman. This sparked an investigation into his possible drug dealing network, and in August 2012 he was jailed indefinitely for attempting to buy drugs while awaiting trial on his original charges. In 2013 he was sentenced to 15 years.
8 Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Money Mayweather's father, a former boxer himself, was caught in 1993 and convicted of trafficking cocaine. Mayweather Sr. was allegedly smuggling the drug as part of a ring, and the group would smuggle it in laundry detergent boxes. Floyd Sr. would be sentenced to five years in prison. Upon his release from prison Mayweather would begin training his son, and the rest is history. He would teach his son his defensive techniques and Mayweather Jr. quickly won his first title, a super featherweight championship, just months after his father's release.
6 Denny McLain
Denny McLain is a World Series champion, a 3x All-Star and in 1968 he became the last pitcher to win 30 games or more during a season in the 20th Century. He was a big personality, and would frequently cause controversy through his outspoken nature and criticizing his teammates openly. He also made plenty of noise away from the diamond, becoming associated with organized crime including the likes of Anthony Spilotro and John Gotti Jr. He was arrested multiple times during and after his career for trafficking cocaine, embezzlement and racketeering, and this resulted in a 12 year sentence in the 90s. He would again be arrested in 2008 and 2011 due to outstanding warrants against him.
5 Evangelos Goussis
Former Australian WKA Kickboxing world champion Evangelos Goussis was involved in a life of crime during his early 20s, and this would prove to be a very slippery slope. In 1989, Goussis was convicted of trafficking heroin and attempted murder, but this would just be the tip of the iceberg. Following his career in kickboxing, Goussis slipped back into the criminal underworld and became a hitman. He was convicted of multiple murders as part of the Melbourne gangland killings, and he is now serving time in a maximum security prison where he also works as a lawnmower.
4 Nate Newton
Nate Newton enjoyed a successful career at the Dallas Cowboys where he became a 3x Super Bowl Champion and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. He developed a reputation as one of the best guards in the NFL for over a decade, but like many pro athletes he struggled after retiring from the game. Newton would be arrested in 2001 after he was found to have 213 pounds of marijuana in his van, and just over a month later he was again stopped and this time was found with 175 pounds of marijuana in his van. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison for drug trafficking, and he has since spoken to aspiring young athletes about his mistakes.
3 Mercury Morris
Outspoken two time Super Bowl Champion Mercury Morris enjoyed seven successful years in the NFL as running back and kick returner, and was even a part of the famous perfect 1972 Miami Dolphin team. Things would take a turn for the worse however, as in 1982 he was convicted of cocaine trafficking and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He would win an appeal and be granted a new trial, and then he would take a plea bargain that allowed him to leave jail four years later. He would go on to have a career as a motivational speaker.
2 Tim Montgomery
There was a time where Tim Montgomery was a successful and much loved athlete, but his life would take an unfortunate turn. Montgomery would win a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta before claiming the gold four years later in Sydney, and in 2002 he would set the 100 meter and his record after being found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. Things would turn from bad to worse after retiring, as the former U.S. star was tried and convicted for his role in a check fraud scheme and for dealing heroin. He was convicted for selling over 100 grams of heroin and was sentenced to five years.
1 Darryl Henley
Former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darryl Henley played in 76 games in the 90s and amassed 12 interceptions, but he now finds himself serving a whopping 41-year prison sentence. Henley was caught trafficking cocaine and was sentenced to 20 years, but another 21 would be added after it was shockingly revealed that he had hired contract killers to murder the judge and a witness.
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