Reid isn’t necessarily a sports star in his own right but he was a valued member of his father Andy’s coaching staff. The Super Bowl-winning coach was on course to enjoy a successful career on the touchline. But then he changed the course of his life with one stupid decision. To rub salt into the Chiefs’ wounds, it came just a week before the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay.
The coach was driving at 82 mph in a 65 mph zone when he crashed into two vehicles (via KSN). However, the most horrific part was that Reid left a five-year-old girl with life-changing injuries. She suffered brain damage and will never fully recover. Reid was drinking and using Adderall at the time so it was entirely his fault. It’s a tragedy because a little girl’s future disappeared in a split second.
This wasn’t a split-second decision but it was an appalling one. Vick was one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and a superstar for the Atlanta Falcons. However, he left his franchise high-and-dry when he started a dog-fighting syndicate. A federal investigation uncovered the dastardly scheme and arrested Vick. The details were sickening and Vick went to jail for almost two years.
This changed the public’s perception of the four-time Pro Bowler. Before this, fans across the NFL held him in high regard because he revolutionized the quarterback position (via Bleacher Report). After he left prison, the Eagles handed him a contract. There was a mixed response because some people thought that he should never play in the public eye again. Others thought that he had served his punishment and it was time to move on.
McCormick isn’t the most famous professional athlete on this list but he has a haunting story. The goalkeeper made a horrific mistake that changed his life as well as multiple families’. The Plymouth star went to a wedding where he drank all night with just two hours of sleep. Then, he decided to drive home despite his horrible condition. His friends begged him to take a taxi but he laughed them off.
He smashed into another vehicle on the motorway at 100mph (via Plymouth Herald). McCormick killed two young brothers (aged seven and 10) and left their father with spinal injuries. Police rushed to the scene and arrested the soccer star. Finally, he served four years in jail before his early release. It wasn’t the end of his soccer career because he returned to the sport. But opposition fans continued to verbally abuse him for as long as he played.
Ruggs had the world at his feet. The Raiders star was enjoying a breakout season in his sophomore year when he changed his life forever. After emerging as one of the most important cogs in the Las Vegas offense, Ruggs ruined everything after he chose to drink and drive. Police arrested him after he smashed into another vehicle and killed the 23-year-old female driver (via The Guardian).
The wideout was driving at 156 mph before he rammed his Corvette into the back of her car. Meanwhile, his blood alcohol was twice the Nevada legal limit. Police revealed that Ruggs also had a loaded firearm in the vehicle. He faced a jail term of up to 26 years and the Raiders immediately released him. It was a horrifying waste of life both in terms of the woman who died and the young man who wasted his talent.