By Jarrod Patterson @J_M_Patterson on June 30, 2014
There are a number of professional athletes who have destroyed promising careers over bad decisions. Some over drugs, some over violence or infidelity. Everyone's story is different, though we sometimes feel like we hear the same things over and over again. While every athlete on this list is (or was) extraordinarily talented, they all have one thing in common: bad decisions. Here are 10 athletes whose off-field history will sicken you.
Pete Rose will forever go down in MLB history as one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. To this day, he remains the league's all-time leader in hits, games played, at-bats and singles. Those are easily HOF-type numbers if it weren't for his off-field issues. Unfortunately, Rose was a degenerate gambler throughout his time as a player and manager, allegedly even betting on his own games. Rose is still banned from MLB.
Armstrong won the legendary Tour de France an unprecedented seven-consecutive times. He became the face of a disease after living through testicular cancer in 1996 and forming the Livestrong Foundation. By all accounts, Armstrong was a national hero -- until 2012 when he was banned from cycling for life for doping. The man that millions of people looked up to for his ability to bounce-back from cancer was, and is nothing more than a cheater.
Kobe Bryant quickly rose to superstardom after foregoing college in favor of declaring for the NBA straight out of high school. He was simply that good. Yet, after becoming the face of the Lakers, Bryant was arrested in Colorado on suspicion of rape charges against a 19 year-old hotel employee. Bryant went on to admit having consensual, yet adulterous sex with the woman, and eventually settled out of court -- making him look even more guilty.
It seemed point guard Chris Herren was living his childhood dreams when he was drafted into the NBA in 1999, but few people knew what was actually happening at the time. Herren was spiraling dramatically out of control, abusing prescription painkillers and heroin on a daily basis, often times shooting up prior to games and practices. After a failed NBA career and stints overseas, Herren cleaned up his act and is now a motivational speaker.
The man formerly known as "Pacman" was, at one time, the NFL's most notorious trouble-maker. As the sixth overall player taken in the 2005 NFL Draft, Jones was bursting with potential. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep people from overlooking the string of strip club shootings, reckless endangerment tickets and failed drug tests that plagued the young playmaker's career for years. It's strange that Jones is now a mentor for young troubled players.
One of the most feared hitters in MLB throughout the 1980s and 90s, Strawberry was at times compared to some of the game's greats. The 6-foot-6 right fielder was absolutely dominant for stretches at the plate. However, it's hard not to think of how much better he could have been had he not been dangerously addicted to narcotics. The eight-time All-Star has a multitude of career arrests due to cocaine and prescription medication abuse.
Many fans adore Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers' two-time Super Bowl-winning QB demands a great deal of respect on the field. However, the fact is that Big Ben has now been involved in two separate rape accusations off the field. The most troubling of these incidents centered around him allegedly raping a young woman in a Georgia nightclub bathroom as an off-duty police officer stood guard outside, not allowing anyone in.
Few people remember "The Juice" as the first-ever player to eclipse the 2,000-yard rushing mark in the NFL. Instead, they remember the 1994 Nicole Brown-Simpson/Ronald Goldman murder trials, in which Simpson was the primary suspect. Though he was acquitted, it is widely believed that OJ was guilty. Since then, Simpson has been accused/arrested for ecstasy possession, money laundering, robbery, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.
Ty Cobb is widely considered one of the greatest players of the "dead-ball era" (1900-19). He was inducted into the Baseball HOF in 1936, but he is now regarded as one of the league's biggest racists, not to mention an incredibly intolerant and violent man. While many of these facts have been refuted somewhat in recent years, there are several well-documented instances of racial violence throughout Cobb's historic career.
The former Patriots Pro Bowl TE is currently sitting in jail facing death row. Hernandez was arrested as the primary suspect for the murder of semi-pro athlete Odin Lloyd in 2013. While behind bars awaiting trial for that murder, Hernandez was accused of attempting a second murder in Florida just months prior. Now being accused of yet another drive-by-style double-homicide in Boston in 2012, Hernandez may actually be executed.
Zoosadism is defined as the act of torturing pets and small animals. The FBI has actually established a correlation between people who commit such zoosadistic atrocities and serial rapists/murderers. That should terrify any organization that signs Michael Vick. His dog fighting ring was uncovered in 2007, when light was shed on his horrifying animal cruelty practices. How this man has an NFL job while Richie Incognito doesn't makes zero sense.
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