Athletes are a lot of things. Starting off as hard-working youths, they strain themselves to perform at their level. They're loved and respected by millions of fans, and whether they like it or not, become the most important models to kids looking to make it in the same sport. Constantly being under the spotlight means that everything you do is being watched. Therefore normal people mistakes are amplified when they're done by an athlete.
Take DUIs for example. Hundreds of thousands of people receive DUI's every year, but when it's an athlete that gets stopped, controversy erupts. Unfortunately, it's something that comes with the job, and the bigger the name, the more dire the consequences. What tends to irk people about athletes getting DUIs though, is that their salaries, ranging in six to eight figures, makes it hard to swallow the fact they could easily call for a cab instead of taking the wheel. Tens of dollars for a drive home isn't too painful on the wallet for an athlete. Take into consideration also that when going out for a night of drinking, they likely spent hundreds of dollars on a tab.
Driving under the influence can yield disastrous results and athletes have hurt people when taking the wheel under the influence, with vehicular homicide occurring at times as well. Some athletes may even be arrested multiple times on a DUI, which just makes it all the more infuriating.
Here's a list of the top 20 athletes with DUIs.
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20 Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd smashed his car into a telephone poll in Water Mill, New York in July of 2012, just days after signing with the New York Knicks. He was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving. The current Milwaukee Bucks head coach received a two game suspension by the NBA for his guilty plea.
In exchange for his guilty plea, Kidd also agreed to speak to local high school students about the dangers of driving under the influence. This is what Kidd had to say about the incident: “I take full responsibility of my accident and you learn from it. But hopefully others will too, that is the way I look at it.”
19 Ryan O’Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly has had quite a busy summer thus far. He was traded from the Avalanche to the Sabres in what is officially the richest contract in Buffalo’s history, and he was also arrested for a DUI and failing to remain on the scene of the accident.
O'Reilly was driving his vintage 1951 green Chevrolet truck and crashed in to a Tim Hortons before fleeing the scene. Tips from witnesses that saw the crash and his truck helped locate his truck on main street. He would be taken to the station.
18 Scottie Pippen
Former Houston Rockets star Scottie Pippen was stopped by police after running a red light. The police would later call the DUI task force after suspecting him to be under the influence. He would be brought back to the station and given the opportunity to take a breathalyzer, which he refused.
His teammate at the time Charles Barkley came to his defense, saying, "Scottie is my teammate and I'm behind him 100 percent. This is not Armageddon. It happened. Scottie Pippen probably wasn't the only person stopped last night." Barkley would be charged with a DUI as well later on in his life. Pippen would be charged with a misdemeanor DWI, but it there was not sufficient evidence to charge him with a DUI. Isn’t refusing a breathalyzer test proof enough?
17 Marshawn Lynch
Everyone knows Marshawn Lynch for his disturbing love of skittles and his hate of the media. So it isn’t surprising that when the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion was arrested on account of a DUI, he wanted to keep the process as quiet as possible. As part of the plea bargain that was arranged, he would be given two years probation, and forced to pay a fine.
He was stopped weaving in and out of lanes on the freeway in Oakland, allegedly almost hitting two cars. His blood alcohol level was at .08, the lowest over the allotted limit.
16 Donovan McNabb
The longtime Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has not had a good stretch after retiring from the NFL. Donovan McNabb has been arrested twice on suspicion of DUI since retiring. He was arrested in Arizona in 2013 and wound up serving a one-day sentence. He was charged again just a couple of months ago in Gilbert, Arizona. Fox Sports suspended McNabb indefinitely following the incident. As a repeat offender, McNabb faces a possible 90-day sentence for the incident.
15 Carmelo Anthony
In 2008, then with the Denver Nuggets, NBA star Carmelo Anthony was charged to probation and community service for driving under the influence. He would be suspended by his team for two games for the incident. Because he pleaded guilty to reduced charges, the more serious DUI charge was agreed to be dropped.
Anthony had signed a five-year, $80 million extension and was also chosen for the U.S. Olympic National Team. So despite the charge, still a pretty good year for Anthony.
14 Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp in an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, and also might have the most unique name in sports. He was also charged with a DUI during spring training in 2011. Again, this happened in Scottsdale Arizona, the land of athlete DUIs apparently.
The outfielder seemed genuinely sorry when talking to media for the first time after his arrest, saying "I'm just sorry and that sorry is genuine. A lot of people look up to me and, obviously, this was a decision that was not the right decision. One thing I don't want to ever be -- and that I am right now -- I feel that I'm a distraction and the sooner this can get out of the clubhouse, the better.”
13 Hines Ward
The former Super Bowl MVP and player with the Pittsburgh Steelers pleaded guilty to driving under the influence related to an arrest made in July of 2011. He was sentenced with a one-year probation, 80 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine. He was initially stopped for failing to stay in his lane and hitting a curb. After failing a sobriety test, he refused to take the breathalyzer and was therefore arrested.
The Steelers man had the DUI charged drop later on however, as part of a plea deal made with the solicitors office.
12 Jeff Garcia
Jeff Garcia, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was stopped by police in San Jose and was arrested immediately after the breathalyzer showed his alcohol level at .237, nearly three times the legal limit under California law. As a first time offender, he spent six months in an alcohol-counseling program and was only able to drive from work and back for 180 days.
There wasn’t too much of a fuss made after that. The former QB completed his community service and accepted full responsibility for what he did.
11 Jalen Rose
Jalen Rose was a former NBA star, playing for quite a few teams before retiring. He’s now a sports analyst for ABC. Rose was arrested back in 2011 after crashing his Cadillac. No one was hurt or injured in the incident. This case was interesting because of the judge. Kimberly Small was known for her tough stance on drunk driving. During the hearing, she told Rose "You're not here because you drank. I have no problem with that. Have at it. I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle and use it as a weapon against the rest of us."
Rose served 20 days in jail for the incident. Small was known to giving excessive jail time to first time offenders, much harsher than her peers, and despite the backlash concerning Rose’s profile, she would not budge.
10 Justin Blackmon
Justin Blackman is used to being in trouble. His DUI charge while playing for Jacksonville was his second DUI arrest, his first coming in his days with Oklahoma State. Those charges were later reduced to underage possession of alcohol charges however.
During his second arrest, his blood-alcohol level was triple the limit. Because it was his second DUI arrest, the NFL placed him in a drug-testing program. This happened only two months after Jacksonville picked him as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
9 Nikolai Khabubulin
Nikolai Khabubulin, the NHL goalie that played his career with Phoenix and Edmonton, had been arrested in 2010 after being clocked going 70 mph in a 45 zone. He was stopped and his sobriety limit was over double at .164. After having initially appealed the 30-day jail term he initially received, he decided to eventually drop it because it would have prevented him from joining the Oilers training camp and would have lasted into the season.
He spent the first 15 days in prison with permission to leave for work, and the other under house arrest. He was also subject to random alcohol testing.
8 Tony Adams
Were now heading to England to meet our friend Tony Adams. What’s really spectacular about Adams arrest is that he was four times over the legal limit, which simply doesn’t sound humanely possible. The Arsenal and England defender was arrested after almost crashing his car into a wall near his house. He served four months in prison for the incident.
He eventually admitted to his alcoholism. After going on to win the League and Cup double with the Gunners, he founded the Sporting Chance Clinic to help men and women in sports with addictions. Nice turn around, Mr. Adams!
7 Scott Olsen
Florida Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen was charged with a DUI in a string of bad incidents for the 23-year-old at the time. Olsen was arrested in Florida after refusing to pull over and getting into a fight with police officers. Police tried hauling him over, but Olsen drove all the way to his home. He then sat on a plastic chair outside his home waiting for the officers. They had to use a stun gun on the 6-foot-5 pitcher.
He had just recently returned from a two-game suspension following a confrontation with a teammate, something he’s done in the past as well.
6 Dwight Gooden
Former MLB pitcher for the New York Mets and New York Yankees Dwight Gooden was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and fleeing the scene of an accident. What’s different about Gooden’s case, however, is that it was 9 AM and he was driving his son to school. Gooden was also charged with child endangerment and motor vehicle violations.
The 45-year-old at the time was known for waging a battle with alcohol and drugs. He’s been arrested several times and repeatedly attended rehabilitation facilities.
5 Charles Barkley
TV analyst Charles Barkley is the next person featured on this list. Police stopped him after leaving a club in Scottsdale, and he was well above the permitted alcohol level. Barkley got a five-day jail term and had to pay $2,000 in fines for the incident. Upon his return as an analyst, he was quick to publicly apologize for the incident, saying "I think that a DUI is unacceptable. That can't happen and I've got to challenge other people, not just celebrities or jocks. You have to really think before getting behind the wheel after you've been drinking."
4 Mike Tyson
Here’s another one for Scottsdale. Former heavyweight Mike Tyson pleaded guilty to drug possession and driving under the influence after being stopped at a traffic spot. The boxer was spending the night at a club called the The Pussycat Lounge. As he was leaving, an officer saw him take a white substance off the hood of his BMW. Officers found bags of cocaine in his car and charged with a DUI as well.
Apparently the former boxer had been sober for over eight months before that night, but of course who really believes that? Tyson was apparently quoted saying he used cocaine “whenever I can my hands on it.”
3 Donte Stallworth
In 2008, while a member of the Cleveland Browns, Donte Stallworth was not only charged with a DUI, but with DUI manslaughter. The 28-year-old at the time killed a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida. He pleaded guilty to all counts, and said “he would have to bear this burden for the rest of his life.
Stallworth proved to be cooperative throughout the entire process, accepting all the different plea bargains on the table. Although he wasn’t driving very fast, his alcohol blood level was at .126, well above the customary .08 according to Florida driving laws.
2 Maxim Staviski
Maxim Staviski might be a little less known around these parts, but his DUI led to tragic consequences. The former Bulgarian ice dance champion was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for killing a man and leaving another woman in a coma while driving under the influence. Staviski collided with the car in the oncoming lane when driving in the city of Burgas. The Russian born had just defended his dancing title at the World Figure Skating Championships in March in Tokyo.
1 Luke McCormick
Luke McCormick is a lesser known athlete, playing keeper for the Plymouth Argyle Football Club in England. In 2008, after leaving the wedding of former teammate Dave Norris, hit a car that resulted in the death and a two boys aged eight and 10. He would plead guilty to all charges and would be given a seven-year and four month sentence.
McCormick was released after four years and returned to the club, later being appointed club captain to the fans' dismay. Despite being backed by club and manager, it was still seen as a very controversial move by fans.
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