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The 25 Most Despicable Athletes of All Time

The 25 Most Despicable Athletes of All Time

O. J. Simpson
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There are all kinds of athletes who have been known more for being infamous in their respective sport than their overall talent on the field. These players have taken a turn for the worst at some point in their careers, either when they were playing, or when they were done from the game. Here now is a list of the 25 most despicable athletes of all time.

25. Sammy Sosa, MLB

Sammy Sosa Cubs
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25. Sammy Sosa, MLB

Sammy Sosa Cubs
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One of the best hitters in recent memory, Sosa hit more than 600 career home runs and had over 1,500 career RBIs. But the former Cubs superstar took PEDs and corked his bat. Sosa also didn't help his cause during a poor performance in a 2005 hearing before Congress about steroids in baseball.

24. Chad Johnson, NFL

Chad Johnson Dolphins
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24. Chad Johnson, NFL

Chad Johnson Dolphins
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Johnson was best known for his amazing catches and controversial end-zone celebrations, but now, his life has been in a tailspin. On the field, he changed his last name to Ochocinco and flopped with New England in 2011. During training camp in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins, Johnson was arrested for domestic violence against his wife, Evelyn Lozada, following an argument, and was released by the team on the same day.

23. Maurice Clarett, NFL

Maurice Clarett Ohio State
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23. Maurice Clarett, NFL

Maurice Clarett Ohio State
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Once a gifted runner from Ohio State, Clarett finished with more arrests than touchdowns during his brief NFL career with the Denver Broncos. Some of Clarett's transgressions include armed robbery and an episode in which Clarett was spitting at officers. In that same incident, he was found to have been carrying a loaded AK-47 and two other handguns.

22. Latrell Sprewell, NBA

Latrell Sprewell Warriors
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22. Latrell Sprewell, NBA

Latrell Sprewell Warriors
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Sprewell did nothing exceptional on the court during his NBA career, but he was mostly known for choking P.J. Carlesimo, his coach during a 1997 practice. This incident resulted in a 68-game suspension, the longest in NBA history until Ron Artest in 2004. He then angered most of the working class in America by stating that a three-year, $21 million contract wasn't enough to feed his family.

21. Aaron Hernandez, TE

Aaron Hernandez Patriots
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21. Aaron Hernandez, NFL

Aaron Hernandez Patriots
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Instead of catching passes from Tom Brady in 2013, Hernandez spent most of the season behind bars following his alleged role in two different murder cases. After his alleged involvement in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, the Patriots released Hernandez and immediately distanced themselves from him.

20. Donte Stallworth, NFL

Donte Stallworth Patriots
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20. Donte Stallworth, NFL

Donte Stallworth Patriots
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During the 2009 offseason, Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian while driving in Florida. Stallworth admitted that he was legally drunk at the time of the incident and was charged with DUI manslaughter. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail after reaching a plea deal, and receiver eight years probation. Stallworth would be suspended for the entire 2009 season.

19. Lawrence Phillips, NFL

Lawrence Phillips Rams
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19. Lawrence Phillips, NFL

Lawrence Phillips Rams
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Phillips was a bust in the NFL and he kept getting busted off the field. After leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers to two consecutive national championships, Lawrence Phillips was chosen No. 6 overall by the Rams in 1996. In 19 months with the team, he was arrested three different times. Phillips was also convicted in 2006 of assault with a deadly weapon after striking three boys with his car.

18. Ryan Braun, MLB

Ryan Braun Brewers
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18. Ryan Bruan, MLB

Ryan Braun Brewers
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After winning the National League MVP in 2011 and establishing himself as one of baseball's best young hitters, Braun was tied to the Biogenesis scandal and faced a suspension. He appealed his case, won on a technicality, and lied to everyone who thought that he was clean. Braun was then hit with a 65-game suspension in 2013 following his role in the scandal.

17. Jayson Williams, NBA

Jayson Williams Nets
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17. Jayson Williams, NBA

Jayson Williams Nets
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A former NBA big man, Williams spent a year-and-a-half in prison following manslaughter charges involving the accidental shooting of a limousine driver on his property in 2002. He was also arrested for simple assault after a bar fight, but the charges were dropped. He was also charged with DWI and spent an extra year in prison for the prison time he served in the manslaughter charge.

16. Riddick Bowe, Boxing

Riddick Bowe
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16. Riddick Bowe, Boxing

Riddick Bowe
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A former two-time world heavyweight champion, Bowe now finds his brilliant in-ring career shadowed by violence. In June of 1998, the boxer pleaded guilty to abduction of his then-estranged wife, Judy Bowe, and their five children, holding them at knifepoint. Bowe would eventually serve 17 months in prison for the kidnapping conviction.

15. Jim Leyritz, MLB

Jim Leyritz Yankees
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15. Jim Leyritz, MLB

Jim Leyritz Yankees
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In 2007, former New York Yankee was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving after an accident killed the woman who collided with him. Leyritz was again in trouble In 2009, he was arrested for battery against a former wife.

14. Dwight Gooden, MLB

Dwight Gooden Mets
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14. Dwight Gooden, MLB

New York Mets
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Among the most feared pitchers in the 1980s, Dwight "Doc" Gooden was a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Sadly, he was also a force in the court room. Gooden had repeated incidents of drug abuse, driving under the influence and violating probation compiled both during and after his baseball career. Gooden could've been one of the best ever, but his off-field scandals trumped his on-field success.

13. Marion Jones, Track and Field

Marion Jones
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13. Marion Jones, Track and Field

Marion Jones
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During the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Jones won five medals and was one of the stars of the entire event. However, her impressive showing came with much scrutiny. For seven years, she lied to everyone about her PED use. Finally, in 2007, she admitted to having taken PEDs and was then stripped of all her medals and prizes she won at the Olympics.

12. Darryl Strwaberry, MLB

Darryl Strawberry Mets
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12. Darryl Strawberry, MLB

Darryl Strawberry Mets
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A monstrous hitter who could have been one of the best ever, Strawberry let his off-field issues get in the way of his stellar on-field performance. On the field, he helped the Mets and Yankees to a combined four World Series championships, but his post-playing days include numerous arrests for cocaine possession and drug use.

11. Lenny Dykstra, MLB

Lenny Dykstra Mets
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11. Lenny Dykstra, MLB

Lenny Dykstra Mets
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Former New York Met and Philadelphia Phillie great, Dykstra has been charged with sexual harassment, sexual assault, indecent exposure and even bankruptcy fraud off the diamond. In 2012, Dykstra was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and filing a false statement.

10. Rafael Palmeiro, MLB

Rafael Palmiero Orioles
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10. Rafael Palmeiro, MLB

Rafael Palmeiro Orioles
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On March 17th, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball, and while under oath, denied ever using steroids and stated, "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period." It turns out that Palmeiro was a liar. He was suspended in August of that same year after testing positive for a steroid. He hurt himself the most out of the players who testified back then.

9. Tony Harding, Figure Skating

Tonya Harding USA
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9. Tony Harding, Figure Skating

Tonya Harding USA
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Nancy Kerrigan was training for the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships when she was attacked in the knee with a metal baton by three henchmen, preventing her from competing. With Kerrigan out, heated rival Tonya Harding secured victory. Days later, Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and his crew were arrested, and Harding was eventually convicted of conspiracy to hinder prosecution. Harding is banned from U.S. figure skating for life.

8. Ron Artest, NBA

Ron Artest Pacers
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8. Ron Artest, NBA

Ron Artest Pacers
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Before becoming Metta World Peace, Artest was one of the NBA's most disruptive personalities. In 2004, his actions escalated the Malice at the Palace, resulting in an 86-game suspension, the longest non drug-related suspension in NBA history. Artest also has had numerous incidents involving flagrant fouls and character concerns.

7. Floyd Landis, Cycling

Floyd Landis
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7. Floyd Landis, Cycling

Floyd Landis
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An American cyclist, Landis turned on his former partner in Lance Armstrong while admitting to taking PEDs during his Tour de France career. Landis went on to win the 2006 Tour, but was stripped due to his PED use. In 2007, Landis was banned from the sport for two years.

6. Eddie Johnson, NBA

Eddie Johnson Hawks
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6. Eddie Johnson, NBA

Eddie Johnson Hawks
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A former two-time All-Star, Johnson scored more than 10,000 points in his career, but he is spending the rest of his life behind bars. Johnson was banned for life from the NBA after failing to go through counseling for a cocaine addiction. Johnson's criminal record numbers about 100 arrests and five stints in the Florida prison system. Among Johnson's convictions, the most disturbing was for molesting an 8-year-old girl.

5. Michael Vick, NFL

Michael Vick Eagles
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5. Michael Vick, NFL

Michael Vick Eagles
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In 2007, Vick was implicated in an illegal interstate dog-fighting ring that he had been running for five years. He pleaded guilty in August of '07 and eventually served 21 months in prison. Vick has somewhat managed to rebuild his image following this disgusting episode, but there will be people who still won't forget what he was involved in.

4. Rae Carruth, NFL

Rae Carruth Panthers
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4. Rae Carruth, NFL

Rae Carruth Panthers
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A former wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, Carruth persuaded his buddy, Van Brett Watkins, to shoot Carruth's then-pregnant-girlfriend Cherica Adams as they were coming back from a movie. Adams died a month later and his son, who survived the shooting, is suffering from cerebral palsy. Carruth was charged and convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to 18-24 years in prison.

3. Chris Benoit, WWE

Chris Benoit WWE
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3. Chris Benoit, WWE

Chris Benoit WWE
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A former WWE superstar and world champion, Benoit went from one of the company's brightest young stars to one of its most tragic figures. In 2007, Benoit murdered his wife and son, then hanged himself in a murder-suicide. The incident led to a spirited debate about steroids in sports and in the WWE.

2. Pete Rose, MLB

Pete Rose Reds
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2. Pete Rose, MLB

Pete Rose Reds
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For years, Rose vehemently denied betting on baseball as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The allegations made against him led to permanent expulsion from the game of baseball for Rose. He eventually admitted that he betted on games, but that didn't come until 2004. Rose was also sentenced to five months in prison for tax evasion charges.

1. O.J Simpson, NFL

O.J Simpson Bills
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1. O.J. Simpson, NFL

O.J. Simpson Bills
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Simpson was tried on two counts of murder following the June 1994 deaths of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was found innocent due to tampered evidence, and a great defense team, but he was found guilty in 2008 of robbery and kidnapping after storming a Las Vegas-hotel and taking sports memorabilia at gunpoint. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison.