Professional athletes run into legal trouble

Crime Mental Health Sports

Sushil Kumar was the latest high-profile name added to a long list of athletes that have run into legal trouble.

Jammu: Sportspersons often become idols of millions of people worldwide due to their hard work, talent, and inspiring stories. 

However, not every individual can live up to the expectations that come with being an idolized athlete. Some of them fall from grace because of their off-field antics. 

Sushil Kumar was the latest to join the list of athletes to run into legal trouble. The two-time Olympic medalist, Sushil Kumar, India’s most celebrated wrestler, was arrested on May 23, 2021, for alleged involvement in the murder of fellow wrestler Sagar Rana in Delhi. He was absconding for nearly 20 days.

Sushil Kumar is not the first high-profile athlete to have a run-in with the police. Several athletes in the past have been accused or charged with different crimes. 

Take a look at some of the most famous athletes that have had trouble out of their respective sports.

OJ Simpson

One of the greatest running backs to ever play in the National Football League (NFL), Simpson ran into legal trouble after he retired. 

Simpson had one of the most famous trials ever, in which he was accused of murdering his wife and her friend. After a lengthy trial, OJ was found not guilty. His troubles did not end there. In 2007, Simpson was charged with breaking into a hotel room and stealing some sports memorabilia and was sent to prison in December 2008. 

Aaron Hernandez

Once a rising star in the National Football League (NFL), Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd and was sentenced to life in prison. 

After pleading guilty, Hernandez, on April 19, 2017, committed suicide by hanging from the window of his cell. After his death, at the request of his family, Hernandez’s brain was released to Boston University to be studied for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and diagnosed with stage 3 of 4. 

Mike Tyson

One of the greatest and most recognisable boxers of all time, Mike Tyson, had a massive fall from grace. 

Tyson was accused of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington and was found guilty by an Indiana jury. He was sentenced to prison for 10 years, with four years suspended. He was released in 1995 after serving three years in jail. 

After being released from prison, he returned to boxing. In 1997, Tyson had his boxing license temporarily revoked after biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a fight. Tyson also battled drug addiction.

Dennis Rodman

Regarded as one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, Dennis Rodman had his fair share of legal troubles. 

Rodman was arrested in 1979 for felony burglary and was accused of assaulting actress Carmen Electra in 1999. He was also arrested for driving under the influence in the same year. 

Jayson Williams

Former NBA star Jayson Williams was sentenced to five years in prison in 2010 for shooting and killing a hired limo driver in 2002. 

Despite insisting he was not guilty, Williams pled guilty eight years after the original accusation.

Adam Johnson 

Former England and Manchester City footballer Adam Johnson was jailed for six years for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old schoolgirl. 

Johnson, who was stripped of his 12 England caps, admitted kissing and grooming the fan on the first day of his trial and was later found guilty of a more serious child sexual assault.

Oscar Pistorius

A former professional sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, was convicted of murder in 2015. Given the name “Blade Runner,” Pistorius was born missing the outside of both feet. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, he became the first double-leg amputee participant.

On February 14, 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He claimed he had mistaken her for an intruder. He received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide. In July 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal increased the prison term to 13 years and five months. 

These are just some of the athletes that turned to crime. There’s a long list of names of athletes that indulged in crime, one way or the other over the years.

Clinical psychologists and criminal researchers point to narcissism as a significant contributing factor in the trend of professional athletes engaging in such criminal activities. 

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