When I was a kid Charles Barkley was known for ruffling a few feathers. When asked about the kind of an example he was setting for the kids that looked up to him, he responded by warning us all that athletes are not meant to be role-models. On the one hand he is correct – many of our athletes are not good role models. On the other hand, whether the athletes want it to be so or not they are looked up to, idolized, and imitated by the youth of society. This is why the NFL and other professional sports organizations have put in stiff penalties for those who violate its “good conduct” regulations.
Just like any other “professional” occupation there is a code of conduct that must be adhered too. In the medical field, a licensed technologist can lose their license to practice if convicted of a felony of any kind. In professional sports, the players often feel that they are above the law. They have money and often think that can get them out of any problem they might run into. This arrogance often sets them up for some very humbling and embarrassing situations for themselves and the clubs that employ them.
Many of the following accounts are humorous, some are embarrassing and others are so sordid and distasteful that I feel embarrassed to have to tell the story. Young people are looking for men who they can look up to and admire, and unfortunately many of today’s athletes let them down again and again. Following are the NFL player’s 15 most embarrassing arrests. So sit back, get comfortable, grab a hot chocolate, prepare to laugh, cringe, or cry; and maybe take a few “what not to do” lessons from our famous role-models.
15 Aldon Smith
One night in August 2015 Aldon Smith was out on the town having a few too many drinks. While attempting to park his car he hit another vehicle. He fled the scene, but at least had the decency to return to the scene later. He submitted to a field sobriety test, which he failed. He was charged with DUI. In addition to the DUI charges he was also charged with a hit and run and vandalism.
The 49ers relieved him of his duties immediately – this was not the first time he had a run in with the law. Sadly, many of the listed incidents are not the first offenses for the players. The NFL does try to have mercy and give people second chances, but players who do not straighten themselves out quickly will need to find another occupation.
14 Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill is a wide receiver for the Panthers, who has aspirations of revitalizing his career after disappointment in New York. If he would have followed some simple advice given to me by my mother when I was a child he would have saved himself a lot of grief: wear your seatbelt, go to church, and don’t do drugs. Seems like simple advice that everyone should obey, but apparently once you become a pro football player you become too big for your britches.
Stephen Hill got stopped by the police for not wearing his seatbelt. When the officer approached the vehicle he could smell weed in the car. The vehicle was searched and Hill was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. He is not getting his feet on the right path in Carolina so far.
13 Ahmad Brooks
Ahmad Brooks and his friend and former teammate Ray McDonald were partying one night in December 2014. Under the influence, these men made a very poor decision that should haunt them for the rest of their lives. A woman who was with them filed charges of rape and sexual assault against McDonald and Brooks respectively. This has been an embarrassment to both men and the teams they represent. If the accusations prove true in could well mark the end of their careers. Even if it does not, many teams, afraid of further embarrassment, will not trust them to play for them. Because they know that people of bad reputation generally do not change, unless some supernatural intervention takes place.
12 Cedric Cobbs
I have heard of a boxing promoter – Don King made his bones in the business. Some may argue with me on this point, but at least it is considered a legitimate line of work, but prostitution promoter even in today’s liberalized society is not. Cedric Cobbs was arrested for setting up a rendezvous with a call girl and a client who happened to be an under-cover police officer. Apparently professional football was not lucrative enough for him, and he had to delve into other business ventures. Maybe a visit to the high school guidance counselor could have helped him choose a more legal form of employment. This former running back was arrested and charged in July 2015 July for promoting prostitution.
11 Sheldon Richardson
The defensive lineman for the New York Jets is no stranger to the holding call… I mean cell. After his last incident NASCAR just may come knocking on the door of this former first round draft pick. He was clocked street racing at a whopping 143 MPH. He just might need to keep NASCAR’s number handy - If his rap sheet grows any more he will be looking for a new career. He has been suspended for failing a drug test, arrested for street racing, resisting arrest, and various other traffic violations. Some people just don’t get it.
10 O.J. Simpson
What story about NFL arrests would be complete without at least one concerning O.J? We could mention how he seemed to get away with the murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, but that has been well publicized. In 2007, he was arrested for armed robbery. He and some friends broke into a hotel room in Las Vegas and stole sports memorabilia that once belonged to Simpson.
Many of these items had been auctioned to pay the families of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson in the wrongful death suit. I wonder if he really thought this out. With his track record, who would be the top suspect in stealing his sports memorabilia? It’s almost like he was itching to get caught for something. The old adage “you always reap what you sow” certainly has taken place in O.J.’s life. He has been in prison since 2008, and will serve until at least 2017.
9 Onterrio Smith
Onterrio Smith was arrested at the Twin Cities airport in 2005 for carrying a whizzinator in his bag. What, you might ask, is a whizzinator? According to the official website a Whizzinator is a warm synthetic urine delivery system. What on earth is a football player doing with one of those? He is using it to try to dupe the dope test which he lacks confidence to pass with his own urine. If I was Smith I would be asking for my money back: he failed numerous drug tests in his NFL career.
8 Raheem Brock
We have heard of economic downturns, recessions, and austerity measures taking a toll on people’s finances, but professional athletes do not get a lot of sympathy from the average Joe when it comes to financial woes. This next embarrassment took place on June 16, 2011, when Raheem Brock was arrested for leaving a bar without paying a $27 tab.
There are not many people in this country who could not find some way to pay a $27 bill. Is there not a credit card that could be used or a friend to call? It seems rather ludicrous to be arrested for a mere $27. If this is not embarrassing to a professional football player who is on the payroll for millions, I don’t know what is.
7 Kenyatta Jones
Jones was an offensive linemen for the New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. He has more than one arrest in his arsenal, but the one that sticks out like a sumo wrestler in a tutu. It involves an incident that occurred in March 2008.
Intoxication often inspires radical behavior, and urinating in public is a common misdemeanor for the tippler. However, usually one has the wits to go behind a building, or a tree or something. Not this guy, Jones attempted to urinate on the dance floor at a nightclub in Tampa Bay. To further his predicament he shoved the police officer who tried to remove Jones from the premises. In addition to the urination charges, he was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.
6 Dion Lewis
In 2012, then running back for the Eagles Dion Lewis and his brother were staying in an upscale New York hotel. After a night of licentiousness, they apparently had misplaced their room key and could not get back into the hotel. In their fuzzy frame of mind, they decided it would be a brilliant idea to pull the fire alarm. The two brothers were arrested for falsely reporting a fire, and reckless endangerment of property. The charges did not stick, but hopefully they learned the lesson that most school children learn in kindergarten – never pull the fire alarm unless there is an emergency.
5 Warren Sapp
The Hall of Fame defensive tackle has been anything BUT a model citizen. Sapp should have been sitting pretty with a Hall of Fame career, and an analyst job. He was arrested and subsequently fired from the NFL Network in February for soliciting a prostitute. Is he that desperate? Apparently life is not so easy at the top.
I can still remember a time when boys were taught to be gentlemen by opening doors for ladies and speaking kindly to them. Maybe Mr. Sapp failed to receive such education when he was a kid, because if he treated his girlfriends a little nicer it would eliminate the temptation to solicit prostitutes. In April he apparently bit, stepped on, and threw champagne on his girlfriend – leading to a domestic violence suit.
4 Eugene Robinson
Robinson was a free safety that played for the Falcons in their Super Bowl loss to the Broncos in 1999. It was Robinson that got beat on an 80 yard TD pass from Elway to Rod Smith in that game. Perhaps he was too busy thinking about what happened on the eve of one of the biggest games of his career. The day before the game Eugene was honored with the Bart Starr Award, “given annually to a player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community”.
Within four hours of receiving the award Robinson was arrested for soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute. Rather ironic I would say - he later returned the award with a formal apology.
3 Shaun Rogers
It is a good thing football players go to college and get an education. Isn’t that supposed to help them use their brains more effectively? Well, it is a good thing the Browns did not hire Rogers to think, because that seems to be one area where he might be lacking. Just think about packing your bags for airplane travel – toothbrush check, toothpaste check, but they need to go into my checked baggage because of liquid restraints. Loaded handgun check, let’s put that in my carry-on just in case I need to protect myself from terrorists. How could bringing a loaded gun in your carry-on bag ever end well? It didn’t – he was arrested and fined in April 2010.
2 Rae Carruth
Rae Carruth was once a promising wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, but now he sits in prison serving a 19-year prison sentence. After his strong arm tactics to convince her to get an abortion failed, he plotted with three thugs to kill his pregnant girlfriend. They ambushed and gunned her down in her car in 1999. The baby in the womb was saved via emergency c—section, but suffered permanent disabilities from the shooting. Carruth’s girlfriend lived 28 more days, but eventually succumbed to her injuries.
Carruth has never shown any remorse, or admitted to any wrongdoing. By some this was considered “the darkest moment in the history of the league” (Mike Freeman, NY Times. ) Carruth and his three friends were convicted of murder, and he is expected to be released in 2018.
1 Plaxico Burress
The night of November 28, 2008 will ring in Plaxico Burress’s ears forever. That was the night the former Super Bowl champ decided that it would be a good idea to bring a loaded pistol into a nightclub in NYC. This was never going to end well – I’m not sure what goes through a professional athlete’s mind before he brings a loaded weapon into a nightclub. As the night progressed Mr. Burress felt the urge to check on his gun and in the process accidentally pulled the trigger – shooting himself in the leg.
He was arrested and sentenced for numerous violations, including not having the proper permit to carry a weapon. He spent two years in prison. This has to be the most embarrassing arrest ever.