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Sports legends tainted by court cases

Kenya’s athletics legend Kipchoge Keino is facing corruption allegations over misuse of Sh55m meant for the 2016 Rio Olympics. For a man who put Kenyan sport on the map, this is a low point with several leaders already calling for him to be spared. However, other big names elsewhere have similarly walked the same path.

1. Kipchoge Keino

A two-time Olympic gold medallist, Kipchoge Keino was among the first in a long line of successful middle and long distance runners from Kenya and has helped and inspired many of his compatriots into stardom.

However, last week, Keino alongside six others was charged with misusing Sh55 million meant for athletes during the 2016 Rio Olympics Games in Brazil.

He did not appear in court and was given more time to report to police on the corruption case. The 78-year-old is accused of misappropriating the money when he was chairman of the National Olympics Committee of Kenya.

2. Diego Maradona

One of the game’s immovable legends to ever grace a football pitch has a shrouded backlog of criminal activity. While playing for Napoli, Maradona was tested positive for cocaine and banned for 15 months as a result in 1991.

In 1994, he was sent home from the World Cup in the USA after failing a drugs test for ephedrine and was banned for another 15 months again. That same year he was arrested after shooting at journalists, being convicted of this crime in 1998.

3. Oscar Pistorius

South Africa’s highest court rejected Oscar Pistorius’s request to appeal against his 13-year jail term in April, ending the long legal battle over his conviction for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. The former Paralympic athlete, 31, had asked the constitutional court to review the jail term, which was increased to 13 years last November.

But the court ruling released on Monday said that “the application for leave to appeal is dismissed” as it was not a constitutional matter. Pistorius shot dead Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the locked door of his bedroom toilet, later saying that he thought she was an intruder.

4. OJ Simpson

There’ is the long, strange road traveled by OJ Simpson, the ex-NFL star turned Hertz pitchman and co-star of Hollywood films such as “The Naked Gun” and “The Towering Inferno.” In one of the most closely-watched murder trials in history, Simpson was acquitted of stabbing his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman to death in 1995.

But the former Heisman Trophy winner was jailed in Nevada in 2008 after being convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery revolving around the stickup of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison.

5. Marion Jones

The former Olympic gold medallist served six months in federal prison for lying to federal agents investigating the BALCO doping conspiracy. She won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but was later stripped of the titles after admitting to steroid use. Jones did retain her three gold medals as a world champion from 1997 to 1999.

6. Mike Tyson

The former heavyweight champion served three years after being convicted in 1992 of raping an 18-year-old beauty-pageant contestant. In a rape case that attracted worldwide attention and prompted debate about sexual roles and racial attitudes in the criminal justice system, Tyson was sentenced to 10 years but the judge suspended the last four, meaning he was to spend no more than six years behind bars. He was, however, freed after three years for good behaviour.

7. Troy Deeney

The Watford frontman was jailed in 2012 for 10 months after pleading guilty to attacking a number of students in Birmingham. He was sentenced along with three other men, one of which was his younger brother. Deeney served three months behind bars, a reduced sentence for good behaviour before returning to action. He is Watford’s record goalscorer with 114 goals from 342 matches and counting.

8. Hiroshi Ogawa

Hiroshi Ogawa, a retired pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, is convicted of murder in the first degree. According to the prosecution, Ogawa was heavily in debt and demanded money from the housekeeper of the chairman of an industrial waste plant.

When she refused, he burglarised the house, stealing $20,000 (Sh2 million), and drowned the housekeeper, 67-year-old Kazuko Nishiuchi, in a nearby lake. On September 29, 2005, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

9. Tony Adams

In December 1990, the former Arsenal defender was caught drink driving and found to be four times over the legal limit. Jailed for four months, Adams served two before returning for the Gunners.

10. Eric Cantona

Walking towards the tunnel after being dismissed during Manchester United’s Premiership game with Crystal Palace in January 1995, Eric Cantona’s rage got the better of him.

A fan hauling heavy abuse at the Frenchman angered the striker so much he ‘kung-fu’ kicked the fan, before punching the man several times. He was arrested for assault before a two-week jail sentence was overturned on appeal, instead doing 120 hours of community service as a result.

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