The Jailhouse Jocks Countdown will reveal the worst athletes of the past decade--not the worst in an athletic sense, the worst in the trouble-making sense. The athletes will be ordered according to the relative stupidity, notoriety and badness of their misconduct.
Vinnie will be joined by Will Leitch (Contributing Editor, New York Magazine; founder of Deadspin.com) and Ryan Smith (Host, In Session on TruTV; former counsel for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars). Plus, legendary sportscaster Len Berman will weigh in on the “Craziest Conduct” of the decade.
CRIME: On September 13, 2007, a group of men led by OJ Simpson was arrested after robbing sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room. The entire heist was captured on audio tape.
RESULT: Although Simpson pleaded not guilty to twelve counts including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon, on October 3, 2008 he was found guilty on all charges. He is currently serving a fifteen year sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada as Inmate #1027820.
CRIME: On November 19, 2004, a brawl broke out after the Pacers’ Ron Artest fouled Pistons center Ben Wallace. The brawl culminated in Artest punching a fan.
RESULT: Two days after the brawl, the NBA announced that Artest would be suspended for the remainder of the season (73 games and playoffs), the longest non-drug or betting related suspension in NBA history. Artest lost approximately $7 million in salary due to the suspension.
8. Dick Cheney
CRIME: While on a February 2006 Quail hunting trip in Texas, then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend and hunting companion Harry Whittington. Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, was sprayed across the face, neck, and upper torso with birdshot.
RESULT: Whittington suffered a mild heart attack, and atrial fibrillation. The Kenedy County Sheriff's office cleared Cheney of any criminal wrongdoing in the matter, and in an interview with Fox News, Cheney accepted full responsibility for the incident. Later, Whittington apologized to the vice-president for the trouble the event had caused him and his family.
7. Kobe Bryant
CRIME: On July 4, 2003, Eagle, Colorado Sheriff Joe Hoy issued an arrest warrant for Kobe Bryant in connection with a sexual assault complaint filed by 19 year-old hotel employee Katelyn Faber. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied her sexual assault allegation.
RESULT: In September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after Faber refused to testify in the trial. Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to Faber for the incident. The accusation tarnished Bryant's reputation, and the public's perception of Bryant plummeted. Faber filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides ultimately settled with undisclosed terms.
6. Tim Donaghy
CRIME: On July 20, 2007, columnist Murray Weiss of the New York Post revealed that the FBI was investigating allegations that NBA referee Tim Donaghy had placed tens of thousands of dollars in bets on games during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 season. By selectively calling fouls, Donaghy was able to manipulate the point spread of games he officiated.
RESULT: On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information through interstate commerce. Donaghy was sentenced in 15 months in prison. After serving 13 months of the sentence, he was released on November 4, 2009.
5. Jeremy Mayfield
CRIME: During a random drug screening on May 1, 2009 at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine. On July 6, 2009, Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine a second time.
RESULT: Mayfield has been suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy. He has countersued for breach of contract, discrimination and defamation, and the case remains in court. Mayfield recently auctioned off his 475-acre estate to raise legal funds, and hired celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos. He blames the drug test results on his ingestion of the allergy medicine Claritin D.
4. Jayson Williams
CRIME: On February 14, 2002, Jayson Williams shot and killed his driver Costas "Gus" Christofi while playing with a shotgun in his Alexandria Township, NJ home. Before alerting police of the incident, Williams attempted to disguise his role in the event.
RESULT: Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter in 2004 but convicted of covering up the shooting. He is expected to plead guilty to an additional charge of aggravated assault. In the plea deal, Williams will receive a three-year jail term, with eligibility for parole after 18 months.
3. Roger Clemens
CRIME: In his 2005 book, Juiced, Jose Canseco blew the whistle on Roger Clemens’ steroid use. Clemens was again indicated by follow pitcher Jason Grimsley, and the Mitchell Report on steroid use in Baseball.
RESULT: Clemens has repeatedly denied receiving any illegal performance enhancing drugs in the media, in court, and before hearings in Congress. After his Congressional testimony, a House committee recommended that the Justice Department investigate whether Clemens lied under oath. A grand jury was convened in January, 2009 to hear evidence of a possible perjury, but has not yet rendered a decision.
2. Michael Vick
CRIME: In July 2007, Vick was indicted on federal offense and state felony charges relating to the enterprise of an interstate dog fighting ring. Vick was accused of financing the dog fighting operations, and directly participating in the fighting and executions of at least six dogs.
RESULT: A month after his indictment, Vick pleaded guilty to "Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture.” Vick was sentenced to serve 23 months in federal prison. He was released from prison on May 20, 2009, and on August 13, 2009, Vick signed a one year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
1. 2000 Spanish Intellectual Disability Basketball Team
CRIME: After winning a gold medal in Intellectual Disability Basketball at the 2000 Paralympics Games in Syndey, Australia, a member of the team revealed that ten of the Spanish team’s twelve athletes were not, in fact, disabled. The team was outed by Carlos Ribagorda, an undercover journalist who was invited to join the team despite his lack of any disability.
In their first match, the team played too well and, when more than 30 points
ahead at half-time, were ordered by their coach to slow down their scoring
and let the other team shoot more. But their biggest mistake was to win
gold…. They were advised by officials to wear dark glasses and hats and grow
beards in order to pass unnoticed at the team's triumphal return home at
Madrid's Barajas airport. (The Guardian, 2008)
Ribagorda claims that the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports “didn't hesitate in signing up athletes without any type of handicap…..the aim of this policy was to win medals and gain more sponsorship.”
RESULT: The Spanish team was ordered to return its medals. After the incident, the International Paralympic Committee suspended all official sporting activities involving an intellectual disability, citing serious problems regarding the determination of eligibility.