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Nowadays, fantasy sports are as American as apple pie. Fantasy football, basketball, baseball and even NASCAR are mainstays of Americana. We here at CRACKED love ‘em too. We love ‘em so much that we started our own fantasy league, one that honors that time-honored tradition of the American athlete: getting into trouble and breaking the law. We call it the Criminal Athlete Fantasy League and here’s our draft guide for this season.

The Top Picks



If you were lucky enough to get the top pick in your criminal athlete fantasy draft, it is almost impossible to pass up Darryl Strawberry. The most consistent and prolific criminal athlete in modern history, Strawberry is a five-tool crook, able to put up points in all the major stat categories: illegitimate children, domestic abuse, serious drug and alcohol problems, tax evasion, multiple prison terms and suspensions from his sport.

One of his best seasons was in 2001, when he faked his own kidnapping to try to get a $50,000 ransom, claiming he had been “pistol-whipped” while in captivity. Straw also got tossed out of a drug treatment center for having sex with a resident and trading baseballs for cigarettes. There should be some concern for his endurance in a keeper league though. In 2001, he told a judge he lost the will to live. “Life hasn’t been worth living for me, that’s the honest truth…I am not afraid of death.”

 

Mike Tyson should also be at the top of your draft board. Since his 1992 conviction on rape charges that earned him three years in the can, Iron Mike has continued to put up the stats of a top psychopath. His notable accomplishments and accusations include biting Evander Holyfield’s ear off, biting Lennox Lewis’ leg during a press conference scuffle, testing positive for marijuana, lobbing glass Christmas ornaments at journalists in a Havana hotel, brawling outside a Brooklyn hotel, assaulting a topless dancer, and declaring bankruptcy.

“I just want them to keep bringing guys on and I’m going to strip them of their health,” Tyson once declared. “I bring pain, a lot of pain…I’m on the Zoloft to keep me from killing y’all.” When Iron Mike finally does kill someone—and it’s only a matter of time—you’ll want him earning those kill points for your fantasy squad.

Solid First Rounders


Pete Rose might not have the lengthy rap sheet of a Strawberry, but he makes up for it with the severity of his missteps. He has received a distinction few athletes can claim, a lifetime ban from his sport, which is a points bonanza for fantasy owners. Arguably the greatest hitter to ever play the game, Rose received his permanent ban in 1989 for gambling on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

Rose managed to top that with five months spent in the slammer on a federal tax evasion conviction. Some might consider Rose a risky venture for a first rounder as he might not even commit a crime next season. But we say he’s worth the risk because if he does, you can bet it will be a big one.

Doc Gooden is another 1980s Met whose criminal accomplishments are every bit as impressive as his on-the-field successes. You knew the Doc was special early on—after winning the Cy Young Award in 1985 at age 20, Gooden led the Mets to a World Series Championship a year later, only to miss the ticker-tape parade “because he was hung over from an all-night binge.”

Gooden tested positive for cocaine in 1987, twice more in 1994, picked up a DUI in 2003, and was most recently arrested last August for a domestic disturbance. A dependable performer that can be counted on regularly for drug and alcohol induced scuffs with the law, the Doc just might have the prescription for your fantasy team to go all the way.

Sleeper Picks



In November 2001, Nate Newton was picked up driving a van with 213 pounds of marijuana stuffed in the back. One month—one month—later, cops found Newton driving a truck with 175 pounds of marijuana in the back. That’s 388 pounds of weed Newton got caught trafficking over the span of a few weeks.

Newton’s production has dropped off since he has found God but he has also said "It was all the fun the law would allow...and then some" about his drug smuggling days. To us, that sounds like a guy that could be a top criminal performer again in the near future. 


Former New Jersey Nets big man Jayson Williams cut his criminal teeth during his playing days, smashing a beer mug over some guy’s head in a Chicago bar in 1992. He was later accused of firing off a few rounds from a semiautomatic weapon in the Meadowlands parking lot. In 2002 Williams shot dead his limousine driver and then hopped into his pool to cleanse himself of evidence. Williams beat the manslaughter rap, but savvy fantasy managers should see a lot of potential. Get this guy near some guns again and he is a potential league leader.

After drug busts in 1986 and 1988, Lawrence Taylor hit rock bottom in 1996 when he was arrested for trying to buy $100 worth of crack cocaine from undercover agents in Myrtle Beach. When you also look at the three months of house arrest he served for tax evasion and his admission that in his playing days he would send whores to the hotel rooms of opposing teams, you can that L.T. has the drug dependency and lack of decency any criminal fantasy manager looks for.

 

Role Players



There are guys you pick up in fantasy baseball because they excel at stealing bases and guys you pick up in fantasy basketball because they get four blocks a game. A fantasy criminal athlete team has specialists too. Utah Jazz Center Olden Polynice is one of the few players who consistently racks up points for impersonating a police officer. Over a two-month span in 2001, Polynice twice pulled over a motorist, flashed a fake badge, and pretended to be a police officer. That got him 18 months of probation and a suspension from the NBA.


Onetime NBA star Shawn Kemp, in addition to various cocaine arrests, is the preeminent sire of illegitimate children. In the late ‘90s Sports Illustrated reported that Kemp was facing paternity suits over seven illegitimates, and now that he’s out of the league you figure he has even more time to have unprotected sex with women he is not married to.

As sexual deviants go, Mark Chmura is also worth a look. He was charged with sexual assault at a high-school after prom party the then 31-year old Green Bay Packers tight end who was eventually acquitted of sexually assaulting his 17 year old baby sitter at said after prom. Said Chmura’s jury foreman: “He put himself in a bad situation by being drunk with kids and in a hot tub in his underwear.” We say it might have been a bad situation for the delicate psychology of the adolescent involved, but it’s a great situation for a fantasy owner looking to score big in the underage sex crime category.

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