Sport and Crime: Athletes Gone Bad

Sport and crime
20 Mar, 2017 by Mike Lynch

Sport and crime – it’s not a great mix unless of course you work for a tabloid newspaper.

As much as society likes to turn them into role models, not all professional athletes are able to remain squeaky clean for their entire careers.

For some of the world’s biggest stars it has all gone horribly wrong. We’re looking back at some of the world’s most infamous sports stars.

Gary Ablett Senior

Gazza was the most mercurial player we’ll possibly ever see on the field. His nickname ‘God’ sums up his talent on the footy field. But Ablett and fame were never a great mix with the reclusive Geelong star always preferring to keep a low profile off the field. It was away from the field where he had his fare share of dramas.

In 1990, Ablett Sr was placed on a $10,000 good behaviour bond after he pleaded guilty to repeatedly hitting a man he found sitting in a car with his estranged wife.

In 2000, Ablett Sr was embroiled in controversy after Geelong woman Alicia Horan, just 20, died of a drug overdose in Ablett’s hotel room. The former champion was cleared by an inquest but was later fined $1500 for using and possessing drugs.

Gary Ablett Senior

Paul Hayward

Hayward’s story could definitely be made into a Hollywood movie – but not a happy one. The rugby league star who played 76 games for Newtown was found guilty of trying to export 8.4 kg of heroin to Australia.

Paul Hayward

He was subsequently thrown into one of the world’s most notorious prisons, Bang Kwang Central Prison in Bangkok aka the “Bangkok Hilton”.

Bang Kwang Central Prison

Hayward was released from jail after being granted a pardon by the Thai king. He died of a drug overdose after his return to Australia in 1992.

Liam Jurrah

Hailing from Yuendumu 300km North West of Alice Springs, Jurrah burst onto the scene in his debut season with the Melbourne Demons in 2009. His leap, skills and speed saw him cause mayhem up forward for the Demons. He took the mark of the year in 2010 and was the club’s leading goal kicker in 2011.

It all came crashing down in March 2013 when Jurrah was charged with assault in Alice Springs. A high speed police chase and another assault charge would come in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Liam Jurrah

In 2015 Jurrah was jailed for four months for assault. He is still hoping to revive his footy career in the Northern Territory.

Bertil Fox

Bertil Fox

Born in St Kitts in the Caribbean, “Brutal” Fox emigrated to London when he was just one year old. Fox went on to become one of the world’s top IFBB bodybuilders finishing fifth in 1983’s Mr Olympia.

In 1998 Fox was convicted of the murder of two women, former beauty queen Leyoca Browne and her mother Violet Browne. Fox’s crimes were dubbed the “Muscle Murders”.

Fox is now serving a lifetime sentence in prison.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez was seen as a rising star. He signed a $37.5 million, five-year contract extension in 2011 that included a $12.5 million signing bonus — the most lucrative ever for an NFL tight end.

On April 15, 2015, Hernandez was found guilty of the murder of ‘friend’ Odin Lloyd. A charge that in Massachusetts automatically carries a sentence of life in prison without a possibility of parole, as well as five firearm charges.

Hernandez is now standing trial for the 2012 shooting murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado with one of his tattoos being heavily scrutinised as possible evidence.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius has gone from hero to zero. The “Bladerunner” captured the imagination of the world with his phenomenal performances at the Paralympics and then performing against able-bodied opponents at the 2012 London Olympics.

Not only was he South Africa’s flag-bearer at the Games but he also became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games.

Only one year later Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.

Oscar Pistorius

On December 3rd, 2015 the appeal court overturned the original culpable homicide verdict and convicted him of murder. Pistorius is now serving a six-year sentence.

OJ Simpson

When it comes to sport and crime, this is as big as it gets. Probably the most famous fallen sports star of them all. A number 1 pick and MVP, Simpson had a glittered NFL career and is regarded as one of the game’s greats.

OJ Simpson

Post football life started out well for OJ who landed roles as a sports commentator and actor.

In 1994 it all went pear shaped after the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was the prime suspect in the murders. Nobody will forget the images of OJ’s white Bronco slowly driving down the freeway being chased by half the L.A police force following his very move.

In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of murders in one of the most talked about trails of all-time. In 2008, OJ was sentenced to 33 years in jail. Charges were armed robbery and kidnapping.

OJ’s 1995 murder trial is still a hot topic more than twenty years on. Particularly with the success of FX’s The People versus O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which revolves around OJ’s infamous 1995 murder case.

by Michael T. Lynch – contributor

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