1 minute read

Sports Law

Exposure Of Athletes' Off-the-field Legal Problems

When athletes run afoul of the law outside of sporting events, the stories often garner national attention. During the 1990s and early 2000s, a number of athletes were involved in high-profile criminal trials, some of whom were convicted for their crimes. Two of the more well-known examples were Mike Tyson's conviction for rape in 1992, leading to a six-year sentence, and Hall-of-Fame football player O. J. Simpson's trial for the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1995, in which Simpson was acquitted.

Sociologists disagree as to the primary cause of some athletes' legal problems. Some say the reason is athletes are pampered throughout their childhood and early adulthood because of their athletic prowess. Given that these athletes have been shielded from rules that apply to everyone else, they have difficulty adjusting when they turn professional and earn a great deal of money, sometimes in the tens of millions of dollars. Other sociologists note that many athletes involved in these off-the-field incidents endured a rough childhood. Moreover, statistics show that the crime rate of professional athletes is no higher than the general population. Some argue that the public perceives athletes' legal problems in a different light because of the intense media scrutiny that accompanies these problems.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Special power to Strategic Lawsuits against Public ParticipationSports Law - Come Back, Shane: The Movement Of Professional Sports Teams, Amateur Athletes, 1919 Black Sox Scandal