Out of Control Athletes Getting Attention Off the Field

Out of Control Athletes Getting Attention Off the Field

Eli Havlik, Contributing Reporter

Over the last couple decades, there have been many instances of athletes having issues off-the-field that sometimes draw more attention than all their on-field accomplishments. These off-the-field incidents range from cheating with steroids, to serious crimes and affairs, and involve some of the biggest stars in sports. Let’s take a closer look at some of the stars who have lost their shine.

Tiger Woods– Tiger is the most famous golfer of all-time and was on pace to win more major tournaments than any golfer ever. The narrative of his career was completely shifted by news that broke on Thanksgiving Day, 2009. That morning, he was caught having an affair after crashing his car into a tree and a fire hydrant. In the days after, reports came out that he had cheated on his wife with at least 12 women. After this, he took a long absence from golf and returned in the spring of 2010. In the nine years since the incident, he has dealt with many injuries, and has not won a major since.

Alex Rodriguez– Also known as A-Rod, he gained fame as one of the most talented baseball players ever. He won multiple MVP awards, was the highest paid player in baseball and won a World Series with the Yankees. His legacy was tarnished when he was caught using performance enhancing steroids. This resulted in a 211 game suspension, which was the longest non-life suspension in baseball history. After returning from the year-long suspension, he was far past his prime and never returned to what he once was. A-Rod has done a lot to repair his legacy, by becoming an analyst and TV personality for FS1 and ESPN. He also is a shark on the business show Shark Tank.

Michael Vick- Vick was one of the most exciting and electric quarterbacks that football has ever seen. He is also remembered for being the most fun player in Madden games because of his arm talent and speed. But in 2007, Vick plead guilty to charges of being involved in a dog fighting ring. He was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and later released by the Falcons while spending 21 months in federal prison. After being released from prison, people did not want him to be re-signed by any team, but the Eagles signed him. He played for two more years but was never quite the same. During his glory days, he was viewed as a revolutionary quarterback, but he lost a lot of respect after his arrest.

Aaron Hernandez- Hernandez was an elite up-and-coming tight end in the NFL, paired with quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. He appeared in one Super Bowl in his three seasons. He always was known for a troubled past, and he was accused of a shooting in Gainesville, Florida, along with a double homicide in Boston. He was then found guilty of the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013, and sentenced to life in prison. In prison, he committed suicide on April 19th, 2017. For what was such a short NFL career, he is a very infamous figure, in part due to the long story about his murders, and his eventual suicide.

Oscar Pistorius- Pistorius was originally famous for making it to the 2012 Olympics as a sprinter who ran on two prosthetic legs. He was the first amputee runner to ever qualify for the Olympics. On Valentine’s Day in 2013, he shot and killed his girlfriend as he “mistook her for an intruder”. In 2014, he was convicted with culpable homicide. In October of 2015, he was released from prison, and placed on house arrest. This is truly a tragic story because of how inspirational his athletic story was, and because he claims the shooting of his girlfriend was an accident. His career never regained its prominence after he served time in prison.

     Ray Rice- Rice was a star running back for the Baltimore Ravens, and he is their second all-time leading rusher, leading the team to a Super Bowl championship in 2013. In March of 2014, Rice was arrested for third degree aggravated assault when he assaulted his fiancé. This incident became a huge topic in the media after TMZ released the footage of him punching her in the face in a hotel. He ended up serving no prison time but had to go to court-ordered counselling. After being cut by the Ravens, he offered to donate his entire season salary to charities supporting abused women but nobody ever signed him. He received roughly $3.5 million after suing the NFL for wrongful termination, but never played football again.

Events like these have tarnished many athletes’ legacies, and many of these peoples’ reputations are broken without repair. While Tiger and A-Rod have seemingly both done many things to repair their reputations, not all have been so lucky. Many of these athletes will now be remembered for their off-field antics and transgressions, rather than for their actions on the field.