It’s not enough for them to break records. Some athletes also feel the need to break the law. The rap sheet for sports stars runs the gamut of crime, from shady tax schemes to bloodcurdling violence.
Celeb Legal Issues presents the rogue’s gallery of famous athletes turned infamous.
O.J. Simpson: The former football great may have been acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, but he lost in civil court. Thirteen years later, Simpson found himself in prison for robbery and kidnapping.
Pete Rose: Baseball legend Pete Rose (with a record 4,256 hits), was already banned from the game for alleged gambling, but things turned worse in 1990, when he was sentenced to prison for filing false income tax returns.
Mike Tyson: The former heavyweight’s rap sheet includes a rape conviction, jail time for assault, a DUI, and more than one incident of biting while boxing (which may not be illegal, but is pretty unsportsmanlike).
Michael Vick: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for one of the more unique crimes on this list: running a dog-fighting ring, and lying about it.
Tonya Harding: In 1994, figure skater Harding planned an attack on competitor Nancy Kerrigan in an attempt to disable her for the Olympics. Since then, she’s been booked for a domestic violence assault and cited for drunken driving.
Boris Becker: Tennis champion Becker was found to be keeping an apartment in Munich while dodging taxes by claiming residency in Monaco. He was convicted of tax evasion and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Darryl Strawberry: New York Yankee Strawberry was already suspended from the game for drug and solicitation charges in 1999, when he found himself arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident, property damage and reckless driving.
Ray Lewis: The Baltimore Raven linebacker dodged a murder charge by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in 2009 and agreeing to testify against his co-defendants. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and received 12 months of probation.
Michael Phelps: Olympic medalist Phelps lost a bit of his golden boy image when he was convicted of drunken driving, especially as he was two years below drinking age.
Steve Austin: Stone Cold Steve Austin took one of his smackdowns outside the ring, pleading no contest to an assault charge for hitting his wife during an argument in 2002. Part of his sentence included domestic violence counseling.