The good, the bad and the ugly of sports stars who broke the law


From wife-beaters to ear-eaters and drug users to drunks, sport has seem them all. But that has not stopped the damage being inflicted on sport as bad boys go off the rails every once in a while. Take the case of Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion who on Thursday evening was arrested in Albuquerque on suspicion of ‘driving under the influence’ (DUI). Not only that, Jones was also found in possession of an unlicensed firearm, a spent cartridge and was driving an unregistered vehicle. Jones, who in February retained his UFC title with a debatable unanimous decision victory over Mexican-American Dominick Reyes, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated DUI, negligent use of firearms, possession of an open container of alcohol and no proof of insurance for a vehicle. In the meanwhile let us is look at the air of mystery surrounding sport’s perennial bad boys. So, in no particular order, here are a few case studies of the most famous anti-heroes.

Think sporting bad boy and the name that comes up first is the Argentina football great who has built up an arm’s-length list of misdemeanours. Forget his legendary ‘Hand of God’ punched goal in Argentina’s 2-1 victory over England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final. That was nothing compared to his other transgressions. He has drop-kicked an opponent in a game, tested positive for cocaine and was even expelled from the 1994 World Cup for performance-enhancing drugs. He has allegedly smuggled cocaine for the Italian mob and also suffered a heart attack after an alleged overdose. All that from one of the most talented players every to grace the game…

The former Manchester United star was world-famous for his exquisite football skills and insufferable good looks which earned him an army of women friends. But Best was also a man who loved the bottle and beating up people. He had several run-ins with the law due to accusations of beating females and drunken misbehaviour.

The 1995 Open Champion, famous for his Hawaiian print trousers, questionable hairstyle and big belly was a gambling and bottle-loving addic – not to mention the number of divorces he’s been through. However, Daly has overcome his demons and is still a force to be reckoned with on the tee, in the rough or on the greens.

The “Hurricane’ broke the norm by smoking and drinking alcohol during official snooker tournaments, exploiting the game rules and claims he was approached several times to throw matches for cash. He was also bad-tempered and once head-butted a referee, and kicked another official in the stomach during a media conference. Higgins spent most of the four million pounds he earned from sports on alcohol and cigarettes and did not care about his domestic surrounds having once reported lived in abandoned houses in the outskirts of Blackburn, England.

The Frenchman has had his fair share of convictions – from drunk driving to speeding to sexual misdemeanours. But the most notorious incident came in the 2006 World Cup final when he headbutted Marco Materazzi after the Italian abused his mother.

Tyson was intimidating and scary in the ring and outside it as well. Nicknamed ‘The Baddest Man on The Planet’, his most famous violation was when he bit off his opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear during a fight. He once famously said: “All I know is how to hurt people,” and he did as the 44 opponents who felt his wrath have testified. He was also associated with drugs, crimes and sex scandals.