There is something in the persona of the typical athlete that enjoys pushing things to the absolute limit, and it is certainly the case that those who are able to reach the highest levels of sport have a penchant for pushing their bodies well past what most would consider a natural line of demarcation. Athletes tend to have extreme personalities that help them achieve their athletic goals, but these personality traits also contribute to getting them into a fair share of trouble as well.
Most athletes are comfortable with more risk than the average person, as anyone who has enjoyed any measure of success has had to feel comfortable with facing failure as well. Combine this lack of risk-aversion with the relative youth of many professional athletes and you have a recipe for extreme behavior. It should therefore not be much of a surprise that an athlete’s habit of pushing things to the limit sometimes spills over onto the highway.
Big-money contracts lead to big-money sports cars, and what’s the point in having a vehicle that is built for speed if you never floor the accelerator and see what speeds are capable of being reached? While it is quite a common desire to push a vehicle to its absolute limit, it is also quite dangerous, and sometimes deadly. Promising athletes have perished as a result, as Steve Prefontaine flipped his gold MG before he was able to earn the Olympic gold that was all but certain in his future, and Oscar Taveras’ career was recently cut far too short after a tragic accident in the Dominican Republic.
There are many cautionary tales, but that has not stopped athlete after athlete from getting into their sports car and seeing just how much speed they can get away with. The following 10 athletes are some of the most recent examples of athletes driving far too fast, with some managing to reach speeds so excessive that even a seasoned veteran of Formula 1 racing would blush.
10 Shonn Greene
Greene’s speeding incident is one of the sillier ones to appear on this list, as the Tennessee Titans running back got himself into trouble by trying to avoid a measly parking ticket. Greene, who had parked his 2012 BMW M6 in a handicapped space, was arrested for reckless driving and several other charges after he sped away from a parking enforcement officer. He was ultimately charged with driving on a suspended license, illegal parking, and failing to stop/halt/frisk, according to ESPN.com. While he did end up being arrested on the charges, he was at least able to successfully use his M6 to initially evade the arrest.
9 Aroldis Chapman
Chapman is one of baseball’s best closers, relying on a fastball that he is capable of throwing in excess of 100 mph. Clearly Chapman’s arm is not the only thing capable of producing such speeds, as the Cincinnati Reds closer was arrested for going 93 mph in his 2010 Mercedes S63, which just happens to have vanity plates that read “101 MPH,” referring, of course, to the velocity of his fastball and not his preferred driving speed on the highway. Speaking to USA Today Sports, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty offered a simple solution while noting the obvious: "The best advice we can give him right now is to slow down. He likes to drive his car fast."
8 Andre Drummond
Drummond was fortunate for not being caught while speeding, but he did make the mistake of being just a bit too willing to share when he posted a picture of his dashboard to SnapChat. The photo -- which was ostensibly taken by Drummond while he was driving -- shows the Detroit Pistons big man behind the wheel of his Mercedes while the speedometer reads “96” and appears to be trending up toward 97. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy wasn’t all too thrilled, telling Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, "I know you're young and you think you're indestructible, but for the people that care about you, it's scary as hell." Drummond apologized for the incident, saying to Ellis, "It was a silly mistake. I'll own up to it and move on from here. It won't happen again."
7 Michael Turner
The former Atlanta Falcons running back’s need for speed caused him quite a bit of trouble back in 2012, as Turner was ultimately arrested for speeding and DUI in Georgia. Turner, driving an Audi R8 just outside of Atlanta not too long after a Monday Night Football game, was clocked going 97 mph in a 65-mph zone, according to NFL.com. Once he was pulled over, a police officer smelled alcohol and asked Turner to perform field sobriety tests, which he failed. The 2012 season would be Turner's last in the NFL, as the Falcons released him after he failed a physical.
6 Tim Jennings
Jennings, an important part of the Chicago Bears secondary, didn’t quite break into the triple-digits before his speeding arrest, but he came awfully close by bringing his 2015 Mercedes S63 AMG up to 99 mph before being pulled over by Georgia police. Jennings reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer test or submit to field sobriety tests, leading him to be charged with DUI as well, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He later apologized for speeding but denied the DUI charges, explaining that he was only driving close to 100 mph because he was late to a parent-teacher conference.
5 Jayson Werth
The image of Werth -- whose bushy beard and long locks are so recognizable that the Washington Nationals are giving away a Jayson Werth chia pet this summer -- driving a Porsche GT3 RS seems just a bit incongruous, especially given the fact that the outfielder has been compared to a werewolf so often that he once used Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” as his walk-up music.
The officer who arrested Werth said he had to get his cruiser up to 105 mph in pursuit of Werth, and the officer claimed that Werth’s Porsche was still pulling away from him even at that speed. When the arresting officer asked the outfielder what he was doing and why he was driving so fast, Werth simply replied, “pressing my luck,” according to the Washington Post. Werth was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving and had to serve five days in jail as a part of his sentence.
4 Yasiel Puig
Puig has already had two incidents involving excessive speeds, once in Tennessee while still in the minors, and again in Florida after his rookie season in Los Angeles. The first incident saw Puig driving his friend’s BMW X351 at a speed of 97 mph, while the latter incident had Puig driving his own Mercedes 110 mph through Alligator Alley. Fortunately for Puig, the charges were dropped following both incidents, but the Dodgers outfielder still took corrective action to ensure that he would avoid future speeding troubles by hiring his cousin to serve as his full-time driver.
3 Tyreke Evans
Evans seems to have fallen victim to his own competitive nature, as the former NBA Rookie of the Year and current New Orleans Pelicans point guard was caught speeding while apparently racing another vehicle. Evans was caught driving his purple Mercedes S550 at an astonishing rate of 130 mph, covering a 10-mile stretch of highway at an average speed of at least 120 mph. The California Highway Patrol used a fixed-wing aircraft to track Evans while he was speeding along the highway, and he was ultimately arrested at gunpoint when CHP officers were finally able to catch up to him. He eventually pleaded no contest to the charges and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and had his license suspended for 30 days, according to ESPN.com.
2 Karim Benzema
Even though Real Madrid footballer Karim Benzema was clocked by police going 135 mph, he wasn’t even the fastest one of his teammates that day, all of whom were racing their sports cars through Madrid. Benzema, who also owns a Bugatti Veyron, was caught going 135 mph in his Audi RS5 in a 70-mph zone. According to the Guardian, one of the cars he was racing was clocked at 162 mph, but the police were unable to capture usable photographic evidence and the driver was therefore able to get away, as officers felt it was too dangerous to engage in pursuit. This was not the only speeding incident in which Benzema was involved, as he was also fined for speeding back in 2011, when he was caught racing his Porsche against a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
1 Milan Baros
There must be something about footballers that makes them prone to speeding excessively, as the Banik Ostrava and Czech National Team striker was clocked going 168 mph in Lyon, France. And while athletes generally work very hard to break as many records as possible, the record that Baros owns is probably not what he had in mind when he entered the world of professional soccer. According to Jalopnik.com, while driving his Ferrari 430, Baros set a record for his 168-mph speed violation, which was the fastest ever recorded in Lyon, France. Baros was going so fast that he perplexed the officer, who saw the rate of speed and initially thought his radar was not functioning properly. Baros was forced to take a taxi home after being pulled over, but he can at least take heart in the fact that he annihilated the previous speeding record of 154 mph, which was set by a motorcyclist in 2000.
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