It’s a very sad thing to have to look at someone who seems to have one of the most exclusive opportunities in the world throwing it away. Pro athletes are some of the most well regarded people in their circles. Their work ethic and off the field presence is intimidating yet draws a ton of interest from all sorts of people at the same time. They make tons of cash, live expensive high-profile lifestyles and can often seem to be larger than life. But when everything’s done and said, these people are just professionals doing their jobs. Same as anyone else with a university degree. However some of these athletes might take their sudden increase in stature a little too seriously and this often leads to trouble for them and others.
Athletes with a criminal history whether it be prior, during or following their professional careers is nothing new. It’s an all too familiar concept. Lots of money plus fame equals a big ego and a complete disregard for one's actions. One of the worst examples of this is sexual assault crimes. Like every other crime, you’re innocent until proven guilty. And there are rare cases of false accusations against certain athletes when it comes to being charged with sexual assault, often times the conviction is genuine.
It’s terrible for everyone involved. The poor horrified victims especially. No matter what kind of influence their attackers have on the field, it is the duty of both the legal system and their respective organizations to see that these players are penalized and held accountable for their actions with the appropriate measures taken fitting of the crime. While some have gotten away with such things relatively easy others have had careers affected by these allegations, and rightfully so.
15 Josh McNary
This one is still ongoing, but it’s hard to imagine Josh McNary’s young career recovering anytime soon. The Colts linebacker was arrested earlier this year after being charged with sexually assaulting a woman he’d met at a bar. While the trial is still ongoing, evidence against him isn’t looking quite favorable. Now on the NFL’s exempt list, McNary will most likely not see the field depending on when and how his trial ends. Given the recent spree of violence against women within the NFL community, it’d be surprising to see him get anything as lenient as Greg Hardy and Ray Rice did last year. But for now he’ll have to wait for the legal process to make its decision.
14 Darren Sharper
After a successful NFL career that lasted over a decade, Darren Sharper made the transition from the gridiron to the analysts chair as so many athletes often do after retirement. Sharper was an analyst for NFL Network when charges of sexual assault were brought up against him. He was immediately let go by the league owned –broadcast network and a year later pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault in Louisiana, Arizona and Nevada. His actions led to him being removed from William & Mary’s Hall of Fame and while outside actions aren’t supposed to affect a player’s admission into the NFL Hall of Fame, it’s hard not to see this hurting his chances of getting in anytime soon.
13 Marlon King
Despite his talents and on field success, Marlon King will always be remembered for his multiple off field issues and run-ins with the law. Now serving an 18 month sentence for dangerous driving, King already spent time in jail after he groped a woman and proceeded to break her nose afterwards. He was found guilty of sexual assault and actual bodily harm and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. This cost him his over $1 million contract as well as several thousand dollars in legal fees and compensation. While he did get another shot in the league after his release, he couldn’t stick with a team for too long and his recent incarnation most probably means the end of his career.
12 Otari Kvantrishvili
This is a rather twisted and strange story. Initially a very promising young wrestler in the 1960s, Kvantrishvili was arrested in 1966 for sexual assault. His athletic career pretty much dead, he was then hospitalized for schizophrenia four years later. His life as a wrestler was over by the 70s but his criminal past soon became the foreground for his lifestyle. Kvantrishvili went on to become one of Russia’s most well known and feared mob bosses. His athletic career long forgotten, he now leaves an alleged legacy of crime and corruption.
11 Trevor Berbick
One of the biggest names of his generation, Trevor Berbick was one of boxing’s most successful heavyweights. The former world heavyweight champ complied a number of wins over his career which spanned almost three decades. In 1992, he was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman who was working as a babysitter for his family. Initially sentenced to a five year term, Berbick only served 15 months but was out of boxing for a few years afterwards. In 2006, he was found dead after suffering a massive head wound.
10 Bob Hewitt
Bob Hewitt had a very successful career in the pros. So successful that he’d managed to make it into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, a feat in its own right. However, years after the storied athlete’s career ended his life and legacy were forever scared. Hewitt was charged with sexually assaulting several young girls who he’d taught throughout the 80s and 90s. The former grand slam champion was found guilty of three charges. In turn, he was completely removed from the Hall of Fame with his convictions now overshadowing his once great achievements.
9 Trevis Smith
Trevis Smith spent his entire career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. The American-born linebacker had himself a cozy job with the team and while he wasn’t one of the league’s biggest names, he was certainly an important part of the team nonetheless. However, in 2007, his career ended after he was sentenced to six years in prison for sexual assault. Smith was actively having affairs with two women while hiding the fact that he was infected with the HIV virus. While the two women he’d been sleeping with were both found to have tested negative, the depravity of Smith’s actions gave the court no other choice but to act and cost him his career along with an annual salary of close to $100,000.
8 Dave Meggett
One of Bill Parcells’ favorite players, Dave Meggett was an exceptional runner and return specialist whose career lasted a decade. However, as he entered his twilight years, the veteran Meggett was charged with sexual assault in 1998. Meggett who had last played with the Jets was arrested after assaulting an escort worker in Toronto, Canada. The trial lasted nearly two years ending with a hung jury, He never played another down in the league and remained off the radar for several years until 2010, when he was charged with criminal sexual conduct and burglary and received thirty years in prison.
7 Mark Rogowski
Mark Rogowski was one of the most successful young skateboarders of his time. Having found success at a very young age, Rogowski was living the high life partying and doing all kinds of drugs. Typical behavior from a young man who’d just found fame and fortune. That all changed in 1992. Rogowski was arrested for the sexual assault and murder of Jessica Bergsten, a friend of one of his ex-girlfriends who he’d lured to his apartment a year prior to his sentencing. Rogowski assaulted her, killed her and then proceeded to bury her body in a shallow grave. It didn’t take too long for a jury to sentence him to 31 to life, something he’s still doing time for.
6 Ched Evans
Once a young star full of promise, Ched Evans’ career was derailed in 2012 after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 19 year old woman. The incident occurred in 2011 when he brought the woman who was too drunk to consent to a hotel near Ryhl. Less than a year later, he was sentenced to five years in prison. After having served half of his term he was released. But his early release didn’t mean teams were willing to give him another shot. To this day Evans has struggled to find a place on any professional squad. He came close to being resigned by Sheffield United but a petition with over 150,000 signatures urging the team not to allow him to return stopped that deal from ever happening.
5 Josh Boden
Throughout his short tenure as a CFL wideout, Josh Boden didn’t really make much of a name for himself on the field but more than made up for his lack of on field presence with his ludicrous behavior off of it. His constant run-ins with the law marred him early on in his career and quickly left him without a team. In 2008, he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend but the case let go after she dropped the charges. It cost Boden a spot on the BC Lions roster. While he did sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the next season, he was again arrested after having been caught fondling a woman in public by police. Boden was soon out of the CFL and has continued to consistently be in and out of courthouses across Canada.
4 Kevin Allen
Possibly one of the biggest busts in NFL history – due in good part to his complete lack of ability – Kevin Allen lasted one year in the NFL. The top ten pick will forever be remembered as one of the worst tackles to play the game, as well as one of the worst picks in Eagles history. After an awful rookie campaign and a subsequent coke bust, Allen was released by Philadelphia. His career would never get the chance to recover however as he was convicted of sexual assault soon after and was banned from the NFL. He did manage to latch on with some AFL teams after several years away from the game but failed to make a career out of it as he would’ve at the NFL level.
3 Craig Thompson
Another young soccer player whose career has, as of now, been defined by criminal behavior. In 2011, Craig Thompson was found guilty of preying on underage girls on the internet. Two girls, aged 12 and 14 respectively, were in contact with Thompson via Facebook, emails and webcams. Throughout these conversations, Thompson gradually built trust and eventually would ask the girls to perform sexual acts on camera or send them pictures of male genitals. The police were soon notified and Thompson was charged $4,000 and put on the sex offenders register. After initially being put on loan after the incident, Thompson was released soon after returning to his team.
2 Tony Ayala Jr.
What is it with talented young athletes jeopardizing their career with such brutal acts of assault? Though he was only 19 years old at the time, Tony Ayala Jr. was convicted of sexually assaulting a neighbor of his after he burglarized her home. He spent the next 15 years in prison. Despite his age at the time of his release, Ayala went on to win several fights but would once again be arrested after being shot by a woman whose home he broke into in 2000, an event that was eerily similar to his 1993 arrest.
1 Tom Payne
Having played the 1971-1972 season with the Atlanta Hawks, Tom Payne showed flashes on the court. However the talented young man out of Kentucky would never again play in the NBA. Payne might be best known as the first African-American player to have played basketball at the University of Kentucky, but during his first NBA season he was arrested on charges of sexual assault and would never again play in the NBA. In fact, Payne has rarely spent time out of prison since. Only being outside for a brief period of time between 1983 and 1986.