5 Disgraced Pro Athletes

Pro Athletes and Their Fall From Grace

  • OJ Simpson
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Chris Benoit
  • Aaron Hernandez
  • Mike Tyson

Disgraced pro athletes are those who played at the professional level and both disgraced their sports and their fans. Many of these players faced criminal charges for their actions and appeared on the top television shows and in magazine pages for years later. Students working on sports management and similar degrees may want to take a look at some of these players.

Another interesting read: 50 Most Affordable Small Southern Colleges for a Sports Management Degree

OJ Simpson

No list of pro athletes who fell from grace is complete without OJ Simpson. Nicknamed “The Juice” during his playing years, Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as a college player and then went pro. He played several years in the NFL before becoming an actor. Though he gave to charities and raised money for funds, he also faced charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend. After the court found him not guilty, he was later convicted on other charges and sentenced to time in prison for robbing a man.

Lance Armstrong

Cycling fans named Lance Armstrong their favorite athlete for a number of years running. He won the Tour de France several years in a row. Even though he took time off after receiving a cancer diagnosis, he came back and won that race again. Armstrong also started the LIVESTRONG Foundation. According to Journalist Jacob Shelton, Armstrong ranks as one of the top disgraced athletes of all time because he admitted to doping and using illegal steroids in the past. Armstrong is one of the only cyclists in history to receive a permanent ban on competing.

Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit was one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. His face was familiar to WWE fans, and many fans waited in line for hours just to meet him. He had a reputation for doing his own stunts, which led to frequent injuries. Police arrived at his home in 2007 after receiving calls from loved ones who hadn’t heard from his family in some time. They discovered the bodies of both him and his wife as well as their son. An investigation later determined that Benoit killed his wife and son before taking his own life.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez seemingly had the world at his feet. After winning a national championship in college, he signed with the New England Patriots and launched his professional football career. Hernandez had multiple run-ins with the police after others called law enforcement to the scene after fights in bars and other issues. There was even an investigation into whether he committed a double homicide. Though Hernandez escaped those charges, a court later found him guilty of killing his close friend. Hernandez took his own life while in prison.

Mike Tyson

Some people call Mike Tyson the “Comeback King” because he recovered from his past failures. As one of the top boxing champions of all time, Tyson shocked fans after biting the ear of another boxer during a match. He also served time in prison for the rape of a woman. His ex-wife and former girlfriends came out and accused the boxer of rape and assault later, and he also filed for bankruptcy. Despite starring in several films and finding religion, some still think he’s one of the top disgraced athletes of all time.

Disgraced athletes include those who served time in prison and those who did things that made fans turn away from them. A list of the top disgraced pro athletes of all time must include names like OJ Simpson, Chris Benoit, Aaron Hernandez, Mike Tyson and Lance Armstrong.