Person In Sports The Dumbest Professional Athletes

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List Rules Only athletes who have been in the news for poor decisions

The dumbest professional athletes might not be the least intelligent athletes overall, but each is responsible for at least one really dumb decision, incident, or mistake that forever tainted their reputations. From the dumb football players who can't seem to stay out of jail to the dumb baseball players who lie about steroid use and the dumb basketball players who can't seem to stop cheating on their gorgeous NBA wives, all of these men and women are known nearly as much for their very public gaffes as they are for their athletic ability.

It's really easy to single out the many NFL players who have, or currently are, serving time in the clink for legal issues, but few measure up to the many (alleged) crimes of O.J. Simpson. After being acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend in 1995, the former Heisman Trophy winner found himself sentenced to 33 years in prison after an armed robbery/kidnapping incident in Las Vegas.

Though other pro football players have done horrible things, few can compare to the idiocy of Simpson. Or idiot quarterback Michael Vick fought dogs on his own property. Plaxico Burress shot himself with his own gun in a night club. Brett Favre (allegedly) sent pictures of his junk to a team staff member. All stupid moves and all, with the exception of Favre, paid a huge price for their poor decisions.

Other dumb athletes either are not very book smart, like Vince Young and Morris Claiborne who scored record lows on the Wonderlic aptitude test (which measures how smart a football player is based in a series of different styles of questions), or thought they could cheat without anyone noticing. No one will ever forget those baseball players connected with the steroid era, like the shamed Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds, or even athletes like Tonya Harding who decided to hire a hitman to take out her closest competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Spoiler: All of them were caught and it wasn't pretty.

So from the stupid athletes who did dumb illegal things to the ones who lost the respect from their fans after public adultery incidents to those who are just not smart, all of these athletes are examples of why it's important for NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL players to abide by the law and play nice. Just because you're a rich and famous professional athlete doesn't mean you can get away with anything.

Who cares if you can't beat them on the field? Take a look at this list of the dumbest athletes of all time, and you'll immediately feel superior. Because who doesn't want to sit around and think about who the dumbest NFL players are while eating a giant bowl of nachos while downing it with an inhuman amount of beer? 
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List Photo: user uploaded image
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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O. J. Simpson


Got off for the double murder of his ex-wife Nicole and Ron Goldman. But was convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas in 2007, thus losing his get out of jail free card.

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Age: 68

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills

Also Ranked

#32 on The Most Obnoxious Athletes

#5 on The Best Buffalo Bills of All Time

#48 on Celebrities You Wouldn't Want as Neighbors

#1705 on The Best Athletes of All Time

see more on O. J. Simpson
Rae Carruth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Rae Carruth


Put out a hit on his ex-girlfriend and unborn child. The child survived and Carruth is currently in jail for conspiracy. 

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Age: age 41

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States of America

Teams: Carolina Panthers, Colorado Buffaloes football

Also Ranked

#124 on The Best Carolina Panthers of All Time

#84 on The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

#37 on The Dirtiest NFL Players of All Time

#28 on Sports Stars Who You Would Break Out of Jail

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Plaxico Burress is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Plaxico Burress


Shot himself in the leg at NYC nightclub in 2008, blowing a hole in his leg and the New York Giants Super Bowl chances. Spent nearly two years in jail.

More About

Age: age 38

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

Teams: New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets

Also Ranked

#4 on The Best Michigan State Football Players of All Time

#69 on The Best Pittsburgh Steelers of All Time

#49 on The Best New York Giants of All Time

#82 on Which Celebs Do You Think Have the Lowest IQ?

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Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Tonya Harding


Hired a hitman to take out her chief rival. Got caught and eventually disgraced.

More About

Age: 45

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States of America

Also Ranked

#10 on The Most Obnoxious Athletes

#67 on Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

#117 on The Best Olympic Athletes in Figure Skating

#9 on The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

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Adam Jones is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Adam Jones


Made it rain at Vegas strip club and expected his money back, which led to a gun being fired into the crowd, injuring a bouncer. Also caught with drugs.

More About

Age: 32

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Also Ranked

#23 on The Most Obnoxious Athletes

#61 on Athletes Who Should Get a Reality Show

#8 on The Best West Virginia Football Players of All Time

#17 on Athletes Famous Only for Off-Court Behavior

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Desmond Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Desmond Bryant


This mugshot says it all about his arrest

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Age: age 30

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Shorewood, Illinois, United States of America

Teams: Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns

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Ryan Leaf is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Ryan Leaf


Between his blowups and blowing off teammates, Leaf did the absolute minimum required and is considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Also in jail for drug possession and use after violating probation.

More About

Age: 39

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Great Falls, Montana, United States of America

Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Washington State Cougars football

Also Ranked

#1 on The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

#83 on Which Celebs Do You Think Have the Lowest IQ?

#29 on Sports Stars Who You Would Break Out of Jail

#15 on Athletes Famous Only for Off-Court Behavior

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Maurice Clarett is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Dumbest Professional Athletes
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Maurice Clarett


Tried to enter NFL Draft after freshman years, sued the league and lost. Ended up sitting out two seasons, got lazy, and washed out of the league. Ended up in jail for armed robbery.

More About

Age: age 32

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States of America

Teams: Denver Broncos, Ohio State Buckeyes football, Omaha Nighthawks

Also Ranked

#21 on The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

#139 on Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

#32 on The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time

#22 on Sports Stars Who You Would Break Out of Jail

see more on Maurice Clarett