We already knew Ray Rice had somehow knocked his wife out cold in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. Now we have all seen the video, so we know he did it with a vicious left hook. And, not surprisingly, this revelation has made Rice public enemy number one in America.
As sad as this situation is, however, it’s important to remember that Rice is just one of many pro athletes accused of domestic violence. This has been a major problem in the sports world for a long time. And unless sports leagues or franchises start instituting zero tolerance policies toward athletes who beat the women in their lives, it’s not going away any time soon.
Today we’re going to take a look at 11 other famous pro douchebag athletes accused of domestic violence over the years. Tragically, the list is hardly comprehensive. Instead, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson—the athlete formerly known as "Ochocinco"—married reality TV star Evelyn Lozada in a beautiful wedding on July 4, 2012.
Just 38 days later, on August 11, he was arrested for headbutting his wife during an argument, allegedly over condoms she found in his car. Three days after that Lozada filed for divorce, and by September 19 the split was finalized.
Thankfully Lozada had the sense to realize that headbutting is kind of a deal-breaker.
Jason Kidd, former NBA point guard and current coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife Joumana in January of 2001. He pleaded guilty to the charge and underwent six-months of court-mandated anger management therapy, and after that it seemed like he and his wife had patched things up.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. In 2007, Kidd filed for divorce, citing "extreme cruelty," which including the allegation that Joumana threatened to make false abuse claims against him. Joumana then countered that by actually making abuse claims, saying Kidd had broken one of her ribs and smashed her head on a car dashboard.
Of course, these claims were never verified, but this was obviously a tumultuous and violent relationship.
No, not Will Smith the actor. Will Smith the defensive end. On November 27, 2010, police in Lafayette, Louisiana, observe Smith arguing with his wife outside a club and dragging her down the street...by her hair. So they arrested him and charged him with domestic violence.
Of course, those chargers were dropped once Smith completed a "diversion program," which means he avoided prosecution by agreeing to community service and counselling.
Sweet deal, no?
NFL cornerback A.J. Jefferson was arrested for domestic assault on November 25, 2013, after police received a call from his 23-year-old girlfriend. The Vikings released him that very same day, and the NFL later handed him a four-game suspension—apparently because he's not as famous as Ray Rice and they knew nobody would object.
So what happened to Jefferson? Nothing, of course. He's now a member of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Lance Stephenson isn't just some annoying basketball player who blows in people's ears. He's also got a history of abusing women.
Back in 2008, when he was just a prep star, Stephenson was accused of sexually abusing a female student inside his school. However, he pled to "disorderly conduct" and got a full scholarship to Cincinnati.
Two years later, as a member of the Pacers in 2010, Stephenson was charged with felony assault, menacing, and harrassment after pushing the mother of his child down a flight of stairs. But as you probably know, this summer Stephenson signed a two-year, $18 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
So he's obviously still dealing with the repercussions of his actions.
In 2009, Mike Tyson sat down with Oprah Winfrey and talked about his marriage to Robin Givens. In that interview he made this admission:
"I have socked her before, and she socked me before, as well. It was just that kind of relationship."
The audience laughed, if you can believe that. And Oprah didn't bat an eye, because hey, the thought of the heavyweight boxing champion of the world punching his wife is pretty hilarious, right? Right?
Anyway, Robin Givens later wrote a letter to Oprah calling her out on this, and Oprah said, "oops, my bad."
This is by far the least definitive example of domestic violence on this list. Joe DiMaggio was never arrested for hitting Marilyn Monroe, his wife of two-thirds-a-year. And Marilyn never publicly claimed he hit her.
However, a biography by J. Randy Taraborrelli called The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe claims that several people close to DiMaggio knew the truth:
"'He was smacking her around,' said one of his closest friends. 'He didn't seem too ashamed of it, either. He said that she brought the worst out in him, that he wasn't usually that kind of man. He said she was spoiled and very self-centred and it drove him crazy.'"
If this book were the only source of this claim, I might not believe it. But rumors that Joltin' Joe hit Marilyn have been around for years, so I'm inclined to believe it.
UFC fighter Thiago Silva as was arrested in February 2014 after a series of escalating threats to his wife—threats which culminated in a standoff with the SWAT team outside a Florida gym—UFC president Dana White said Silva would never fight in the UFC again.
Of course, now that Silva's wife has fled the country, the charges against him have been dropped. And to Dana White, having charges dropped because you scared the witness out of the country is that same thing as getting acquitted. So yeah, as of September 6 Thiago Silva is reinstated.
In September 2010, Floyd Mayweather Jr., the highest paid athlete in the world, beat up the mother of three of his children as two of those children looked on. Facing felony assault charges, he pled guilty to lesser domestic battery charge and in December of 2011 was sentenced to 90 days in jail, of which he served 60.
In short, don't feel bad when 50 Cent makes fun of him for not being able to read. He's got it coming.
O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. So it may not accurate to count their murders as "domestic violence" since in the eyes of the law he didn't do it.
However, O.J. did plead guilty to spousal abuse charges in 1989, three years before they divorced and five years before she was brutally stabbed to death. So I'd say that definitely earns him a "wife beater" label.
While serving time in prison in 2010—one several stints in the big house for assault—MMA fighter/adult film actor War Machine (nee Jonathan Koppenhaver) tweeted that "The oppression of MEN is worse than oppression of Jews in Nazi Germany, worse than the slavery of Blacks in early America... I'm not exaggerating either."
So when War Machine's girlfriend, adult film actress Christy Mack, turned up at a hospital in Las Vegas with 18 broken bones, missing teeth, and a ruptured liver? Well, it was tragic, but in hindsight hardly surprising. War Machine sounds like a pretty evil dude.
Today, in addition to felony charges of battery, assault, coercion, and lewdness, he's also facing charges of attempted rape and murder. Hopefully there will be no plea bargains this time, and he'll wind up in jail for the rest of his life.