Sports
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Athletes Who Have Killed People

Updated April 9, 2021 365.7k views16 items

Death by athlete: it could happen to you. Several famous boxers, NFL players, NBA stars, and other athletes have killed people. Some of these athletes accidentally killed after being involved in car accidents, while others brutally murdered their victims. From first-degree homicide to accidental manslaughter, these sports stars will have the deaths of innocent people on their consciences forever. Whatever the explanation, these athletes are technically killers.

Who is the most famous athlete who killed someone? NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis tops our list. In 2000, the former Ravens star Ray Lewis and his friends were involved in a fight that resulted in the stabbing deaths of two people. Lewis made a plea deal to provide testimony against his companions in exchange for prosecutors dropping the murder charges and he was able to avoid jail for the crime. He was fined $250,000 by the NFL and reached settlements with the victims' families.

For some sports stars, the deaths came as part of the jobs. On March 24, 1962 Emile Griffith went 12 rounds against Benny "the Kid" Paret. The fight ended when Paret went into a coma after being punched 29 consecutive times. He died in the hospital 10 days later. The fight was televised live on ABC.

Are you surprised that there are so many professional athletes who have killed people? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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  • Phillip Adams

    Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed himself on April 8, 2021, after killing five people on a shooting rampage in South Carolina

    The victims, according to the York County coroner’s office, were Dr. Robert Lesslie, who had reportedly previously treated Adams and lived near the athlete's parents' home in Rock Hill; Lesslie's wife, Barbara; their grandchildren Adah and Noah Lesslie; and a man who had been working at their home, James Lewis. A sixth person and co-worker of Lewis, Robert Shook, was hospitalized in critical condition.

    Adams then shot himself with the .45-caliber weapon after hours of police negotiation and a standoff at his parents' home. The police had searched for hours for the gunman, before finding Adams at the South Carolina home. 

    Adams played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams; the San Francisco 49ers (2010), New England Patriots (2011), Seattle Seahawks (2011), Oakland Raiders (2012–2013), Seattle Seahawks (2014), New York Jets (2014), and Atlanta Falcons (2015). He suffered a severe ankle injury in 2010 that required surgery as well as several screws being inserted into his leg. Adams later suffered two concussions over three games with the Raiders in 2012. It is not clear whether Adams suffered long-term damage from the injuries, as he was not eligible for the settlement between the NFL and former players because he hadn't retired by 2014; however, his father believes football is to blame for all of the problems his son had, including the violence in South Carolina. 

    • Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

      Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, 25, was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was first charged with killing his fiancé's sister's boyfriend, Odin Lloyd, 27, in 2013. According to the prosecution, Hernandez and two other men picked up Lloyd at his home, drove him to a secluded industrial park, and shot him six times. They never presented a possible motive for the murder, nor did they find a murder weapon or any witnesses, yet they were still able to convince a jury that Hernandez had orchestrated the killing. Security video from his home showed Hernandez holding a gun just a few minutes after Lloyd was killed.

      The two men with Hernandez at the time, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were also charged and will be tried separately. Hernandez's lawyers claimed he was but a witness to the crime. He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

      In 2012, Hernandez was accused of killing two other men - Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado - in Boston. He was later found not guilty and acquitted of the charges. 

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      • In 2000, Ray Lewis and his friends were involved in a fight that resulted in the stabbing deaths of two people. Lewis made a plea deal to provide testimony against his companions in exchange for prosecutors dropping the murder charges. He was fined $250,000 by the NFL and reached settlements with the victims' families.

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        • Photo: Gerald Johnson / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

          O.J. Simpson may have been acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman back in 1995, but two years later, a civil jury found him liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman.

          In 2007, O. J. Simpson was also convicted of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy. He was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison for these crimes.

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