As disgraced England footballer Adam Johnson faces the prospect of a custodial sentence for sexual activity with a child, we take a look at some other sports stars gone very very wrong...
Arguably the most famous sports star gone bad, retired American football legend and actor O.J. Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ron Goldman. Sensationally ‘Juice’ was acquitted after a high-profile trial that lasted eight months. But the story didn’t end there as both the families of the victims sued Simpson for damages totalling $40m in a civil trial. A jury unanimously found there was enough evidence to hold him liable for damages in the wrongful death of Ron Goldman and the battery of Nicole.
Former England cricketer Chris Lewis was hailed as ‘the next Ian Botham’, but that didn’t stop his spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted alongside an accomplice of trying to smuggle cocaine with a street value of £140,000 into Britain from the Caribbean. He received a 13-year sentence, and was released in 2015.
The only woman on our list is former figure skater Tonya Harding. She pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in the attack on her figure-skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session in 1994. Harding avoided prison for her guilty plea, but four others served time inside for the attack on Kerrigan which was designed to keep her out of the 1994 Winter Olympics.
A moment of madness from ‘King’ Eric Cantona saw the French Manchester United star lunge a kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons. Cantona had reacted to taunts as he was given a red card. He was found guilty of common assault and sentenced to 14 days in prison – after appeal, he was instead ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service.
The Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, was the man who made the world aware of just how good a runner an amputee could be. Tragically, Pistorius also showed the world something far less positive. He was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting and killing his partner Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. He was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years. On appeal, he was convicted of murder but has been bailed pending an appeal.