15 sports stars who spent time in prison from murder to child sex offences

From celebrations to incarceration, not all sports stars are the role models that many would like them to be with a number of them committing some heavy crimes that led them to prison.

A wide-ranging number of offences have been carried out by some of the biggest stars in the game, who all got caught and sentenced to time behind bars. They include murderers, drug dealers and paedophiles, all who once had legions of fans singing their names.

Ultimately, though, justice prevailed and those that did the crime have done the time. Here on Daily Star Sport, we go over the biggest 15 to get nicked during their sports careers.

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Mike Tyson

The brutal boxer lived up to his "Baddest Man on the Planet" moniker – and not in the way he'd have liked – when he was convicted for rape in February 1992 after assaulting a woman who was just 18 at the time. Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison but served less than half that time when he was released in 1995.

Adam Johnson

One of the most publicised court cases in recent British sports history, Johnson was convicted of grooming a child and sexual activity with a minor in March 2016, being sentenced to six years. However, after three years the former Sunderland and Manchester City winger was released in 2019 – though his career is in tatters.

O.J Simpson

Famously, O.J was found innocent of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman despite heavy evidence on the contrary. While he was acquitted, a civil trial found him responsible for both deaths.

After such a brush with prison, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in jail after being arrested in 2007 for armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. Just nine years into his sentence, though, and O.J is back on the streets.

Marlon King

The former Watford striker has a rap sheet that includes 18 months in prison for groping a 20-year-old female and breaking her nose. After his release in 2013, he was arrested twice more – first for a car crash that left a man seriously injured and the second in connection with a hit-and-run incident where another was injured.

After pleading 'not guilty', King was sentenced to another 18 months in prison and banned from driving for three years in May 2014.

Jon Koppenhaver

The former UFC and Bellator fighter has had several run-ins with the law since retiring from the sport, serving two years in 2010 after being convicted of felony assault in Las Vegas. Soon after being released, 'War Machine' was back behind bars after assaulting his then-girlfriend and her associate and has since been sentenced to life in prison.

Floyd Mayweather

In December 2011, Mayweather was found guilty of battery of his former girlfriend Josie Harris, being sentenced to 90 days in county jail and 100 hours of community service. After clinching a deal with prosecutors, the charges were brought down from a felony battery charge to misdemeanour battery while Money also pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanour harassment.

Tony Adams

The former Arsenal captain has had a sad history with alcoholism which led to fights in nightclubs and drink-driving charges, the latter of which saw him serve 57 days inside. He was found to have been 27 times over the limit after crashing his car.

During his time in jail, Adams was critical of the lack of help offered to inmates. He said: "Prison didn’t teach me anything. There was no education about why I was in there or around my illness."

Chris Lewis

Lewis played for England for eight years between 1990 and 1998, taking part in 32 Test matches but years later, the former all-rounder is now a convicted drug dealer. In 2008, he was arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine after finding 3.37 kilograms on his person.

In 2009, Lewis was sentenced to 13 years in prison along with former basketball player Chad Kirnon and after six years in HMP High Down, the ex-cricketer was released.

Oscar Pistorius

One of the biggest sports stars to go down, Pistorius was initially found not guilty of killing Reeva Steenkamp but of culpable homicide. The South African had argued that he believed that his then-girlfriend was an intruder after shooting her multiple times through a bathroom door in February 2013.

After appeal, this verdict was overturned and he was convicted of murder, extending his sentence from five years to six years. Another appeal from the state extended his jail term, though, to 15 years.

Salman Butt

In one of the biggest scandals in the world of cricket, Butt was sentenced to 30 months after spot-fixing – along with Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif. As the Pakistan cricket captain, he ordered the two younger players to bowl no balls at a particular time during the fourth test against England in 2010.


In a bizarre turn of events, a trip to Paraguay led to Brazil legend Ronaldinho finding himself locked up. The Samba star was alleged to have used a fake passport to enter the country and he was held in custody, along with his brother.

During his time in jail, Ronaldinho took part in a prison futsal tournament where his team won 11-2. The former Barcelona ace netted five and assisted the other six.

Chris Mason

Known for his rivalry with Phil Taylor in darts, there was shock when Mason was arrested for aggravated burglary and intention to commit grievous bodily harm. In 2003, he was found guilty after he and two friends left their victim with a broken nose, scalp cuts, facial swelling and bruising.

After being sentenced to three years behind bars, Mason spent just one year in prison.

Naseem Hamed

Prince Naseem was undoubtedly one of the biggest boxers that Britain produced in the 90s as his flamboyant and unconventional style captivated the public. However, his career has now been stained after he was convicted of dangerous driving after a car crash led to another driver breaking nearly every bone in their body and suffering brain damage.

Hamed was stripped of his MBE and spent 16 weeks in prison while the rest of his 15-month term was served with an electronic tag.

Rae Carruth

In one of the most tragic cases, former NFL star Carruth was found guilty of conspiring to murder his then-girlfriend Cherica Adams, who was pregnant with his child in 2001. After being shot four times, an emergency caesarean section was needed to save the baby's life. Adams later died nearly a month after the shooting while the baby suffered permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of a lack of oxygen when born.

After attempting to evade arrest, Caruth was eventually found and was made to serve 18 to 24 years in prison, doing 18 years and being released in October 2018.

Michael Vick

The NFL quarterback served 23 months in jail in Virginia after being found guilty of operating a dogfighting ring. As one of the main financiers of the despicable operation, Vick managed to lower his sentence by agreeing to a plea bargain with the authorities in 2007.


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