Sometimes millions of dollars, the adoration of fans and a great deal of exercise is simply not enough to quell the urge to skew away from the line of morality. Other times, money and fame don't help to resist the urge to consume illegal substances.
As fans have seen in the NFL offseason, being a professional athlete did not stop Ray Rice from getting domestic abuse charges, Aldon Smith from getting belligerent with airport security, and the Pittsburgh Steelers' running backs from getting caught with illegal substances. While these three athletes were issued slaps on the wrist, others who committed more serious crimes have received some very lengthy prison sentences. Here is a list of the top twenty-five.
Note that there are a few honorable (or not so honorable) mentions for this list. Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end, is still in the trial process, but the evidence is overwhelmingly weighted against him. The late Ruben "Hurricane" Carter of the boxing world gets a very honorable mention because he was sentenced to life in prison for murder, but was later released after being determined to have not been the culprit in that case. Boxer Del Fontaine and cricket player Leslie Hylton both received death penalties via hanging for their murders, but because this is a list of prison sentences, they will not be on it.
25 Bernard Hopkins: Boxing - Robbery: 18 Years
24 Marc Cecillon: Rugby - Murder: 20 Years
23 Willie Mays Aikens: MLB - Possession and Distribution of Illegal Substances and Guns: 20 Years
22 Stanley Wilson: NFL - Burglary (3rd Strike): 22 Years
21 Rae Carruth: NFL - Conspiracy to Murder: 24 Years
20 Michael Nunn: Boxing - Conspiracy to Distribute Illegal Substances: 24 Years
19 Art Schlichter: NFL - Mostly Gambling and Money Related: 26 Years Total
18 Tom Payne: NBA - Many Violations: Over 25 Years
17 Steve Seligman: NASCAR - Illegal Substance Distribution: 27 Years
16 James Butler: Boxing - Manslaughter and Arson: 29 Years
15 Dave Meggett: NFL - Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Burglary: 30 Years
14 Mark Rogowski: Skateboarding - Statutory Offenses and Murder: 31 Years
13 O.J. Simpson: NFL - Kidnapping, Armed Robbery: 33 Years
Juice's situation is still somewhat up in the air (due to multiple requests for retrial) but as of now, he has been sentenced to 33 years and is in a Nevada prison. He and several other men stole many sports related items from a memorabilia dealer in Las Vegas. All of the men in his group were charged, but Simpson's 33 years in Prison is the longest of any of them. Many believe, and we don't claim to have any position, that he should have been sentenced to life in prison in relation to the murder of his wife.
12 Tony Ayala Jr.: Boxing - Multiple Rapes: 35 Years
11 Darryl Henley: NFL - Illegal Substance Trafficking, Conspiracy to Murder: 41 Years
10 Mel Hall: MLB - Intercourse With Minors: 45 Years
9 Robert Rozier/Rameses: NFL - Multiple Charges: Murder and Check-Kiting : 25 to Life
8 "Fast" Eddie Johnson: NBA - A Few Things: Life
7 Esteban De Jesus: Boxing - Murder: Life
6 Randy Lanier: Racing - Conspiracy, Tax Fraud, Drug Distribution: Multiple Sentences - Life
5 Hiroshi Ogawa: MLB - Murder, Theft: Life
4 Evangelos Goussis: MMA - Drugs, Weapons, Attempted Murder, Murders: Multiple Sentences, Life
3 Eric Naposki: NFL - Murder: Life Without Possibility of Parole
2 Clifford Etienne: Boxing - A Few Things: 160 Years (Reduced to 105)
1 Keith Wright: NFL - A Bit of Everything: Over 234 Years
Wright played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and 2005, and played for the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europe back in 2006. Football didn't really turn into a great career for the defensive end, so he turned to violent crime. He carried out three 2011 home invasions, during which he committed assaults, armed robbery, false imprisonment, and a kidnapping. All added up, his convictions totaled 234 years. Again, he was either playing too much Grand Theft Auto, or not enough.
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