Credit: from ines saraiva via Flickr Creative Commons

Stupid Pro Sports Figures

and what they did to earn a spot on this list

How many times have sports fans said "he got HOW MUCH?" when we hear of multi-year multi million dollar contracts? When pro athletes screw up, it blows up the twittersphere, facebook, google trends, and the next day it is on the front page of the newspaper and leads ESPN's sportscenter.  Then we as sports fans shake our heads and talk about how much that person is "just throwing away." Most of us would give up just about anything to play our favorite sport as a pro.  Mine would have been baseball.  I would love to trade places with the baseball players on this list, and I would have done more to protect the integrity of the game.  So, without further ado, here is my list of dumbest athletes.

Ryan Leaf - NFL

One of the great college quarterbacks of all time, Leaf was selected behind only Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL draft.  However, recurring injuries, lack of focus and discipline, and a case of the shanks, left him to be considered the biggest draft bust of all time. By 2001 he was out of the NFL.  So, what do incredibly good looking, failed-to-reach-potential young men do? They commit crimes of course.  In 2008, while a coach for West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX, he tried to get a pain pill off of one of the team's players "for pain stemming from past injuries".  He "resigned" following that incident.  In 2009 he was indicted and later convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and delivery of a controlled substance, was given a fine and 10 years probation.  Just 8 years short of his probation concluding, he was arrested in his hometown for burglary, theft and drug related charges.  His bond was paid, but he was arrested four days later for... wait for it, burglary, theft and drug related charges! As a part of his plea agreement, he was only required to plea guilty to one count each of burglary and drug possession.

Nate Newton - NFL

Being that Nate is a hometown hero, it is hard to put him on this list.  However, after a hall of fame caliber career with one of the best offensive lines to ever be assembled, he decided that drug trafficking would be the best post-football career move for him.  That idea backfired on him in 2001 when he was arrested for having over 200 pounds of marijuana in the back of his van.  A mere 5 weeks later, yeah 5 WEEKS later, he was again stopped and arrested, this time for having 175 pounds of weed in the back of his car.  Come on, Nate! The plus side of all this is that Nate has reportedly gone straight since his 30 months in federal prison, and is an active member of a Dallas area church.  Here's to hoping he chooses the road less traveled, especially with that much weed.

Michael Vick - NFL

Vick is one of the most talented players in the NFL.  He was the first black quarterback ever selected number one overall in the NFL draft, and changed the position from a drop and throw position, to a position that could "run first".  That opened the doors for many "Vick-Like" quarterbacks to make their way into the NFL.  He had six successful seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, and since coming back from what earned him a spot on this list, is now one of the best paid players in the NFL while with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He currently ranks first for quarter backs in career rushing yards.  However, this fan favorite became the fan-least-favorite over night when it was revealed that he had a hand in a gigantic dog-fighting ring.  While he was vilified by different people in different ways, he immediately became the poster boy for animal victimization.  His Falcons jerseys were turned into dog toys, his excuses were horrendous, and he was the butt of many jokes.  He was then sent to federal prison for 21 months and house arrest for an additional 2 months.  He lost endorsements, salary, and was dumb with his money prior to prison, and was forced to declare bankruptcy.  Even though he is now very highly paid, and plays for a very well recognized team, many NFL fans still boo, hiss and hate Michael Vick.

OJ Simpson - NFL

After a Heisman worthy college career, and a hall of fame pro career, and a few movies that weren't too bad, "The Juice" found himself in a world of hurt.  His wife, Nicole and her friend/lover Ronald Goldman, were found murdered in the Simpson home.  OJ was immediately considered a suspect, charged and was told to turn himself in.  However, after one of his lawyers read publicly what appeared to be a suicide note, the entire Los Angeles area began looking for OJ.  That led to a nationally televised low-speed car chase with OJ in a white Ford Bronco.  A year and a half later, he was acquitted of the murders and was allowed to walk out of the courtroom.  Most would think that would feel like a second lease on life, and would make their new life even better, but not OJ.  The Brown family and Goldman family filed civil Wrongful Death and Survivor suits, leading to a judgement of just over 46 million dollars to be paid from OJ to the victims' families.  That led OJ to do drastic things, including selling his Heisman Trophy.  Apparently, having lost everything, OJ wanted to get some of it back, and decided to hold sports memorabilia collector, Bruce Fromong, hostage and steal memorabilia from him.  After his co-conspirators made agreements with prosecutors, OJ was tried and convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery, and was sentenced to 33 years in prison.    

Plaxico Burress - NFL

After being injured, the first thing you should do to help yourself recover is, of course, go to a night club.  At least that's what New York Giants receiver thought.  Then, just for fun, he decided to take his best friend with him, his Glock.  Burress had the pistol tucked into the waistband of his sweatpants, and while climbing the stairs, felt the pistol falling.  In an attempt to keep the weapon from falling, he reached and accidentally grabbed the trigger, causing it to fire and Burress shot himself in the leg.  Burress had no New York licence to carry the weapon, and New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg insisted that Burress be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  After investigations and an indictment, Burress accepted a four-year plea deal, including two years in prison and two years of supervised release.  Burress lost two of his prime playing years, has spent time in prison, and is now known as the guy that shot himself in the leg.   

Maurice Clarett - NFL (barely)

Although a highly thought of college football player for Ohio State University, his first issue with stupidity was his attempt to change the NFL's eligibility rules.  He was dismissed from Ohio State after several run-ins with the law, and sued the NFL to be included in the 2004 draft, a year earlier than the rules allow.  After being denied that opportunity, he apparently did nothing but sit on his couch and eat.  When he was able to enter the draft, and attend the NFL combine, reporters and scouts referred to him as "Slo-Mo" because of his inability to run faster than 4.7 seconds on a 40 yard dash.  Despite unimpressive showings in pre-draft scouting, Clarett was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft.  He was released however, before ever being able to play a single down in the NFL.  In 2006, Clarett's stupidity rose to a much higher level.  In February 2006 he was indicted on charges of Aggravated Robbery for an incident at a nightclub in which he made off with only a cell phone.  However, while that trial was delayed, a Kevlar wearing Clarett was stopped for making an illegal U-Turn, and after a short chase came to a conclusion with police spike strips, police found weapons, including a loaded AK-47 assault rifle.  He was sentenced to 7 1/2 years and was granted his release in April of 2010.  

Rae Carruth - NFL

In the words of Steve Harvey, "C'mon Rae-Rae!" University of Colorado standout Rae, was a first round draft pick to the Carolina Panthers in 1997.  He had a successful rookie season, and looked poised to have an even better sophomore year with the Panthers, but it was cut short due to injury.  The following year was also cut short, but for a much different reason.  His girlfriend, Cherica Adams, who was 8 months pregnant with their child, was shot by night club owner Van Watkins.  Adams survived the shooting for a time and was able to describe the scene to police, and letting them know that Carruth was a party to the crime.  Adams died weeks later, but doctors were able to save the child.  Police began a nationwide search for Carruth, who decided to attempt to make his get away in the trunk of a car.  Carruth and the car were found outside of a motel in central Tennessee.  Carruth had with him a few thousand dollars, a few candy bars, a cell phone and bottles to hold his "human waste."  Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to nearly 19 years in prison.  


Honorable mention goes to:

AJ Allmendinger, but is a race car driver really an athlete?

Tiger Woods, but his infidelity put Elin back on the market.

Pete Rose, but he belongs in the Hall of Fame anyway.

Tonya Harding, who would have made the list had she not been a cast member on "World's Dumbest...".

Ron "Metta World Peace" Artest, who would have made the list except I thought him giving thanks to his therapist after winning a championship was great comedy.

Ricky Williams, but if I'm not gonna get mad a Willie Nelson for liking weed, how can I get mad at R-Dub?


Who did I miss? Comment and let me know!