34 Wild NFL Crimes You Haven't Heard About - Rolling Stone
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34 Wild NFL Crimes You Haven’t Heard About

The armada of American athletics has incurred 399 arrests since 2006

Since becoming NFL commissioner on September 1st, 2006, Roger Goodell has kept the league – the armada of American athletics – on course, with $10 billion in annual revenues and unrivaled television ratings. But the crackdown on delinquent behavior he envisioned seven years ago has not made much of a dent, according to data compiled by USA Today. Under his watch, the league has incurred 399 arrests, including 109 for DUIs, 63 for drugs, 44 for assaults, 39 for domestic violence, 33 for guns and 12 for battery. There is, of course, that smattering of the most attention-grabbing and violent crimes: when Braylon Edwards started beef with LeBron James' crew; when Chad Johnson head-butted Evelyn Lozada; when Josh Brent drove drunk, flipped his car and killed teammate Jerry Brown; when Aaron Hernandez overwhelmed the offseason with news of his murder charge; and when Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend 10 times, then drove to the Chiefs facility and fatally shot himself in head. Oh, there's also that whole concussion thing that the league has been denying, that sly cover-up, that indelible stain, that endless slow drip of football-induced trauma that is on the cusp of flooding the NFL's New York offices. Yet still, for all of the arrests that fans may have heard about, there are dozens more that have been forgotten or never known to begin with. Here are 34 of the most jarring infractions under Goodell's watch. —Hunter Atkins

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Adam Jones, September 23rd, 2013

Jones was arraigned last month in his eighth incident since 2005, which leads all active players. The Bengals cornerback was given a disorderly conduct citation for making offensive comments to police (while drunk!) during a traffic stop, and in June, he was arrested for allegedly punching a woman outside a Cincinnati bar (a judge found him not guilty on October 8th). Both arrests are window dressing compared to the infamous 2007 NBA All-Star Game shooting, wherein Jones grabbed a stripper by her hair and pounded her skull against the ground for picking up money that he had thrown down himself. In the ensuing melee, one of Jones' associates returned to the club with a handgun and shot three people.

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Mike Goodson, May 17th, 2013

The Jets running back was in the passenger seat of a GMC Yukon stopped on Interstate 80 West in New Jersey when State Police say a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets and two marijuana cigars were found in the vehicle. The Garden State has stringent laws regarding hollow points, which are particularly damaging and can pierce the vests police use for protection.

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Da’Quan Bowers, February 18th, 2013

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end was arrested when he alerted LaGuardia Airport employees he had a gun in his bag while checking in for a flight out of New York (the charges were later lessened to disorderly conduct).

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Andre Smith, January 17th, 2013

The Bengals bigman was caught with a loaded .380 caliber pistol in his carry-on bag as he was preparing to board a flight from Atlanta to Miami. According to people familiar with the arrest, Smith didn't have any knowledge that there was a gun in his belongings.

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Chris Rainey, January 10th, 2013

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey was charged with battery after he slapped his girlfriend; the two were arguing over his cell phone. Rainey pulled his girlfriend out of a car and slapped her in the face with an open hand. Both fell to the ground and Rainey later chased and grabbed her to retrieve his phone. It's not the first domestic violence arrest for Rainey, who is currently a free agent. He was arrested on Sept. 14th, 2010 while attending the University of Florida after sending a threatening text message to his on-again, off-again girlfriend that read, "Time to Die Bitch u and ur???" Rainey was charged with felony aggravated stalking, and then-coach Urban Meyer immediately dismissed him from the team.

Antonio Bryant

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Antonio Bryant, September 11th, 2012

Former Seahawks WR Antontio Bryant was charged with domestic battery by strangulation, domestic violence and culpable negligence against the mother of his child. Police say the pair got into a verbal fight that escalated when Bryant pushed her, allegedly began hitting her and grabbed her neck as she was holding their young child. She said Bryant then told her to put the baby down, then kicked and punched her. She "did have some swelling to the left side of her mouth as well as a large piece of skin hanging from the [inside] of her mouth," a responding officer wrote. "I also observed several scratches on the [victim's] arm and neck." Bryant was previously arrested November 19th, 2006 on reckless and drunken driving charges after his Lamborghini was seen speeding faster than 100 mph on a freeway. Police said he was uncooperative, combative and verbally abusive – officers were forced to use leather restraints to put Bryant in a seated position with his legs straight and his hands cuffed behind his back.

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Kenny Britt, July 20th, 2012

Titans receiver Kenny Britt was arrested for the seventh time of his young career last year when he was charged with drunk driving after trying to pass through a security gate at Fort Campbell Army post in Kentucky. While he was found not guilty, it seems like Britt is actively trying to remind fans of his rap sheet: arrest for two outstanding warrants (2011); resisting arrest in New Jersey after police suspected him of trying to hide a marijuana cigar (2011); eluding police in a car chase (2011); theft by deception (2011); misdemeanor driving without a valid license (2010); and, not to be forgotten, three outstanding traffic warrants (2010).

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Kiante Tripp, July 1st, 2012

Former Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Kiante Tripp was arrested for burglary after he and two others threatened a group of people inside an apartment and then ransacked their place. Investigators said the trio were looking for a man that had allegedly stolen money from them.

Caleb King

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Caleb King, April 28th, 2012

Caleb King beat up a man at a birthday party for saying he resembled Eddie Murphy. King first followed the man outside and punched him in the face, deputies say. The man then got into his car, locked the passenger door and called 911, but the former Minnesota Vikings running back allegedly opened the driver's door, pulled the man out, punched him repeatedly and threw him headfirst to the ground. The victim suffered a skull fracture and needed 19 stiches; King was sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

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Everson Griffen, January 31, 2011

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was arrested for public intoxication on a Friday, released by the team on Saturday and then arrested again on Sunday for a situation he worsened by trying to flee. When officers pulled him over and questioned his invalid driver's license, Griffen said he "did not want to go back to jail," ran off, allegedly grabbed one officer in the groin area and was eventually subdued with a Taser by another officer.

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Rolando McClain, November 30th, 2011

Rolando McClain was charged with third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in Decatur, Georgia city limits in 2011. According to a statement released by the local police department, the former Oakland Raiders linebacker pointed a gun at another man's head and threatened to kill him before firing it beside his ear. He was sentenced to 180 days last May.

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Robaire Smith, July 1st, 2010

Robaire Smith, who played for four clubs over a 12-year career, was arrested for carrying a gun in his luggage at Flint's Bishop Airport. Smith told authorities he forgot he packed the Belgium 5.7 gun, which contained between 15 and 17 rounds in its magazine.

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Brandon Underwood, June 10th, 2010

Packers corner Brandon Underwood pleaded no contest to soliciting a prostitute and paid a $379 fine after accusations of sexual assault changed in this back-and-forth case. Underwood allegedly solicited one or two women to return from Chubby's strip club to a condo where he and other members of the team were staying. Then, while an "encounter" between Underwood and one of the women was taking place, the other woman tried to rob him. When the theft was discovered, the women were thrown out – and then they cried rape.

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Phillip Merling, May 26th, 2010

Former Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling was charged with felony aggravated battery after striking his pregnant girlfriend on the head and face, which caused redness and swelling and led to a cut on her lip according to the police report. (The case were later dropped after Merling's accuser refused to cooperate with the authorities.)

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Shaun Rogers, April 1st, 2010

Browns tackle Shaun Rogers was arrested for carrying a loaded gun – which was cocked and had a bullet in the chamber – in his luggage at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He told authorities he forgot it was in his bag.

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Jermaine Phillips, January 10th, 2010

According to police reports, former Bucs safety Jermaine Phillips was awakened by his wife after she found a telephone number entered in his cell phone. When she questioned Phillips about the person's identity, a fight ensued that transitioned from the bedroom to the living room, where Phillips placed his hands around the his wife's throat and choked her. He later entered a court-ordered diversion program.

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Cornell Green, March 21st, 2009

Former Raider Cornell Green was accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he pushed the mother of his children into a wall and struck her right arm with an aluminum mop handle. Green fled the scene and was later arrested at Tampa International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Oakland.

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Matt Jones, July 10th, 2008

Former Jaguars wideout Matt Jones was arrested on a felony drug charge after police say he was inside a car cutting up cocaine with a credit card. Police found a plastic bag filled with cocaine on Jones' floorboard, along with a card that contained powder residue. According to the police report, a second bag of white powder was also uncovered, along with a black bag that supposedly contained a jar of marijuana residue. The charges were dismissed after Jones completed a diversion program.

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Willie Andrews, June 30th, 2008

Andrews was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm when he allegedly pointed a handgun at his girlfriend's head during an argument, which she told authorities started after she accused him of cheating. Police later recovered a Glock .45-caliber handgun they believe was used in the dispute. Charges were dropped in March of 2009 after the victim refused to testify against him in court; months prior, Andrews had also been found with a half-pound of marijuana and $6,808 in cash, and pleaded guilty.

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Brandon Jones, June 13th, 2008

Former Titan Brandon Jones was arrested for carrying a handgun into a Nashville airport on his way to Phoenix. He said he had forgotten the .32-caliber gun was in a small pouch inside a bag.

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Charles Grant, May 20th, 2008

Grant was one of seven men charged for various levels of involvement in a brawl outside of a nightclub in Blakely, Georgia, that led to the shooting death of an innocent bystander who was five months pregnant. Although the involuntary manslaughter charge against former Saints defensive end was dropped, he agreed to plead no contest to the misdemeanor charge of affray (fighting) and also agreed to pay $20,000 in restitution to the Early County Sheriff's Office for the cost of the investigation.

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Darrion Scott, April 30th, 2008

Scott pled guilty to child endangerment after he placed a dry-cleaning bag over his 2-year-old son's head. According to a complaint filed by the boy's mother, she went to Scott's home on April 26th to pick up the boy when she heard him crying. Shortly thereafter she found Scott holding a bag around the boy's neck. The examining doctor reported that the marks appeared to be intentionally inflicted and were consistent with burn or impact injuries (Scott was found not responsible). The former Vikings lineman admitted that his actions were "stupid and reckless."

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Nick Kaczur, April 27, 2008

Kaczur was arrested following a traffic stop in New York after police found a small amount of OxyContin in his truck. The former Patriots lineman pled guilty to a reduced charge of possessing 202 pills labeled as being made in Canada and later helped federal track down Daniel Ekasala, the man accused of supplying him with the opioid.

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Rocky Bernard, April 21, 2008

Bernard, then a Seahawks defensive tackle, was arrested and charged with domestic violence after punching his ex-girlfriend, which "caus[ed] her forehead to hit a glass divider," according to a police report. He later agreed to a court-ordered diversion program.

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James Harrison, March 8th, 2008

Harrison was arrested after slapping his girlfriend; they were arguing about whether or not to baptize his son. Harrison told police he broke through her bedroom door, slapped her in the face and snapped her cell phone in half. All charges were dropped after the former Steelers linebacker completed anger management counseling and psychological counseling.

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Bryant McKinnie, February 24, 2008

A four-time offender in the NFL and a legacy member of the Vikings' infamous "Sex Boat" scandal, McKinnie was arrested and charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence after attacking a bouncer. Miami police said McKinnie spit in the face of a bouncer when he was removed from a club following a street brawl. Then, after heading across the street to another establishment, he returned, allegedly shoved a camera phone into the bouncer's face, picked up a heavy pole and slammed it over his head. A judge ordered McKinnie to complete anger management classes and 25 hours of community service.

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Jerome Mathis, February 18th, 2008

Mathis, who last played in the NFL with the Redskins in 2008, was charged with assault for pushing and choking his pregnant girlfriend. She told deputies that Mathis came home angry and drunk after he couldn't locate his phone charger. He reportedly pushed her onto a bed, started choking her and applied his body weight to hold her down. The charges were later dropped (at her request) after she moved to another state.

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Claude Terrell, October 23rd, 2007

The former Rams lineman pled guilty to assaulting his wife at hotel, where she was found with "obvious signs of physical injury." Terrell last played in '07, but this wasn't his last crime: He was charged in 2011 with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and burglary in connection with an alleged Valentine's Day attack in Texas, where he held a woman at gunpoint and forced her to have sex with him over the course of several hours at her house. (When she returned home, the 28-year-old was waiting for her and had found a .38-caliber handgun in her home, according to a police spokesman, who said the woman endured "a full day of terror.")

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Jeremy Bridges, July 26th, 2007

Bridges was convicted of pointing a gun at a strip club employee the day before his club, the Carolina Panthers, reported to training camp in '07. He was found guilty and given a 60-day suspended sentence and one year of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and do 60 hours of community service.

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David Kircus, May 20th, 2007

Kircus pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge for punching a man and leaving him bleeding in a driveway. The victim also attempted to hold Kircus financially liable for the damages, which necessitated multiple surgeries to repair a broken eye socket and cheek bones. Kircus filed for bankruptcy in 2010, which put the Colorado case on hold, but the victim contended that Kircus couldn't be discharged and requested more than $500,000 in compensation for economic loss, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement and punitive damages. Kircus, who claimed self-defense, passed a lie-detector test administered by his club, the Broncos, but was released a few months later.

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Lionel Gates, March 29th, 2007

Gates was charged with battery and burglary after kicking a pregnant woman's door in, destroying her property, hitting her in the face and pushing her into a wall after arguing about whether or not he was the father of her unborn child. The former Bucs running back completed a diversion program, an anger management course and paid $3,200 in restitution.

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Dominique Byrd, December 4th, 2006

Former Rams tight end Dominique Byrd pled guilty to two misdemeanors after grabbing a woman's buttocks and smashing a bystander's head with a bottle. The bottle broke and the man needed stitches to close the wound. Byrd served two years probation, attended anger and alcohol treatment and paid a $100,000 civil settlement after the boyfriend claimed he caused "serious, permanent and disfiguring" damage.

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Khalif Barnes, November 10th, 2006

After being charged for driving his silver 2007 Mercedes 101 mph in a 60 mph zone, the former Jaguars tackle unleashed some vitriol for his team's city. As he sat handcuffed in the back of a police car, Barnes railed, "It's all racist. That's all that was right there. All racist. This is unbelievable, man, unbelievable being a pro athlete in Jacksonville. I can't wait to get out of here. Can't wait." Barnes also referred to Jacksonville as a "hick town" and called the sheriff's deputy who arrested him a "white KKK devil who hates all colored people."

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Terrence Kiel, September 26th, 2006

Kiel pled guilty to felony and misdemeanor drug charges for shipping codeine-based cough syrup to Texas. The former Chargers safety admitted to shipping at least two parcels of prescription cough syrup, apparently to be mixed with soft drinks to make a concoction known as "lean."

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