NFL Players Who Did Truly Awful Things
On 23rd January 2017
Americans love football. It's the highlight of many people's Sunday afternoon and the Super Bowl is watched by more people than any other event in history. But American football has probably spawned more spectacular falls from grace than any other sport. Indeed, the history of the N.F.L. is littered with heroes turned villains thanks to their infamous behavior off the field. Here’s a look at some you certainly won’t be seeing in any halls of fame soon.
#1 Michael Vick
You've heard of Vick whether you follow football or not. In one of the most heinous crimes ever, Vick was jailed for a skimpy 21 months for operating a dogfighting racket while acting as quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. The animal abuser had promoted and funded the ring on his very own property for five years before it was discovered by police, betting on dogs and raising them to fight to kill. In court, it was disclosed that had engaged in hanging and drowning dogs who did not perform well. Unlike others on this list, however, Vick managed to resume his football career after serving his jail time.
#2 Tommy Kane
He played for four years in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks before moving to the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 1994. A mere decade later, after experiencing severe depression and other social issues, which he claimed were due to traumatic head injuries, he killed his wife. He was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the stabbing. The ex-wide receiver had previously been found guilty of assaulting a police officer.
#3 Aaron Hernandez
He played with the New England Patriots when he was arrested for the 2013 murder of semi-professional footballer Odin Lloyd, Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu in 2014. A year later, the tight end was found guilty of murdering Lloyd, though he is still awaiting trial for the double homicide. He’s currently serving a life sentence without parole at a correctional center in Massachusetts.
#4 Eric Naposki
Eric Naposki, the one-time Barcelona Dragons, and New England Patriots star was convicted along with the victim's girlfriend, Nanette Johnson, of killing Bill McLaughlin in a life insurance scam. Twenty years after the murder, in 2012, the two were both arrested and are serving life in prison.
#5 Lawrence Phillips
He played for both the Canadian Football League and the NFL during his career. However, he made the headlines for his criminal record more than he did the sports pages. He was in jail for both driving his car into a crowd of teens and for domestic abuse against his girlfriend, when he was charged with the murder of his cellmate. The former running back was awaiting sentencing in 2016 when he hung himself in his jail cell.
#6 Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is commonly hailed as one of the greatest N.F.L. stars of all time. But sadly, the former New York Giants linebacker tainted his career and reputation with numerous criminal activities. Indeed, as well as receiving jail sentences on three separate occasions for drug possession, Taylor pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct in 2011, when it was discovered that he had had sex with a 16-year-old girl.
#7 Darryl Henley
The former cornerback played with the Los Angeles Rams in 76 games during the late 80s and early 90s. However, a conviction in a drug smuggling case where he was caught bringing cocaine in from Mexico, ended his career. Aside from that conviction, he was jailed for 41 years after he hired hitmen to murder a judge and witness in the case.
#8 Jovan Belcher
Jovan Belcher left the footballing world stunned in 2012 when he murdered his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins in front of his own mother. On the same day, moreover, he drove to the Kansas City Chiefs’ training ground and fatally shot himself in the head. The star was spending his third season with the N.F.L., having previously excelled at the University of Maine’s football team, the Maine Black Bears.
#9 Dwayne Goodrich
Basically a slap on the wrist. In a weird turn of events, just one year after his brother was killed by a drunk driver in a motorcycle accident, Goodrich killed two people in a hit and run on a North Dallas freeway. The victims, who at the time were reportedly helping a man escape from a flaming vehicle, were hit at 54mph by the former Dallas Cowboys star. Consequently, he was later sent to prison for 90 months, which is not much for killing two innocent people.
#10 Thomas Henderson
The downfall of this Dallas Cowboy was underaged sex and drugs. The three-time Super Bowl winner spent eight months in rehab and over two years in prison after he pleaded no contest to charges of trading drugs for consensual sex with two underage girls in California. He was charged with threatening them with a gun after they refused sex upon receiving the drugs. Henderson gave himself the nickname "Hollywood" for his flamboyant play and high-visibility lifestyle.
#11 Anthony Smith
Smith, once an Oakland Raiders defensive end, is serving triple life sentences for various charges including murder. He was found guilty of kidnapping, torturing and murdering two brothers and murdering another man in a separate incident. What’s more, he was also accused of killing a fourth over a botched business deal, but jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case.
#12 Nate Webster
Currently serving 12 years in prison, the ex-linebacker Webster was convicted of four counts of illegal sexual activity with a minor. He played for three different NFL teams in his career but it was the 15-year-old daughter of his coach for the Cincinnati Bengals who was the victim. The girl claimed that Webster had also threatened to kill her and her family if she told anybody about his conduct. The truth came out after her mother found the two talking on the phone.
#13 Rae Carruth
Rae Carruth has spent the majority of this century in jail after being convicted of plotting to kill a woman whom he’d been casually dating and who was also pregnant with his baby. The woman in question, real estate agent Cherica Adams, died after being shot four times by an acquaintance of the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver in 1999. In her dying moments, however, Adams was able to tell the police who was responsible for the shooting.
#14 Keith Wright
In what is surely the longest prison term ever handed out to an NFL player, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers member Keith Wright was given an astonishing 234 years and eight months in 2012. Indeed, the one-time defensive tackle will likely spend the rest of his life in jail after being convicted of numerous sexual assaults and break-ins that took place in Sacramento. Wright was found guilty on 19 charges including armed robbery, kidnapping, forced oral copulation, first-degree burglary, and false imprisonment.
#15 O.J. Simpson
The most notorious on the list, Simpson made his murder charges into a national television event as the trial was broadcast daily on network TV and made tabloid news for years. The case proved one thing. A good team of lawyers can get you off if you're famous and wealthy. The former Buffalo Bills running back was charged with, and acquitted of, murdering his ex-wife and her friend. The murderer has never been found and people wanted justice. That finally came, 11 years later, when he was jailed for 33 years for various offenses including kidnapping and armed robbery.