LEEInks List: Boston pro athletes put in cuffs
|10.11.10 at 9:33 am ET|
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is the latest high-profile athlete to be put in the spotlight for his questionable behavior, for incidents of apparent sexual harassment while he was a member of the Jets. In recent months, Jets receiver Braylon Edwards was charged with DUI, and Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was arrested for striking his girlfriend’s father outside the team’s family lounge at Citi Field.
While Boston has been fortunate to avoid major problems this season with its star players, we are not immune to the situation. Here’s a look back at some local pro athletes in the last three decades to be put into cuffs.
10. Gabe Pruitt, 2009
Pruitt hasn’t seen a lot of playing time in the NBA since being selected by the Celtics in the second round of the 2007 NBA draft. That may have been the reason that he went out celebrating after playing five minutes against his hometown Clippers on Feb. 25, 2009. He was subsequently arrested at 3 a.m. the following morning for drunken driving. Pruitt had been pulled over in the first place not for erratic driving but because his tinted windows were illegal in California. He was released five hours later and posted $5,000 bail. The C’s waived him after the season, and he has been mired in basketball obscurity ever since, with stints in the NBA Development League and Europe.
9. Joe Thornton, 2003
Sometimes it can be a little difficult to separate work from pleasure. The 23-year-old Bruins captain was out at the Burty Bob’s II bar in his hometown of St. Thomas, Ontario, with his older brother John during the offseason when a bar brawl broke out. The bar owner called police after he failed to bring the bout to a halt, and that’s where it began to get sticky for the former No. 1 pick. Neither of the Thornton brothers went very easily, and both were arrested, Joe for assaulting and obstructing police and John for resisting arrest and trespassing.
8. Irving Fryar, 1988
Speaking of former No. 1 picks, Fryar had himself quite a couple of seasons off the field in New England. One of the more famous incidents came in 1986 when his wife allegedly sliced his hand in a domestic dispute just before the AFC championship game against the Dolphins. But that’s not what gets Fryar on this list (he wasn’t arrested in that case). Instead, he’s here because of an arrest stemming from a weapons charge. The wide receiver had a loaded shotgun and handgun along with a hunting knife in his vehicle when police pulled him over in Pemberton, N.J. Local laws stated that only policemen could have loaded guns in their cars. What gives the story an extra kick is that Fryar was staying with his mother in the area when the arrest occurred.
7. Wil Cordero, 1997
Cordero came to the Red Sox in 1996, but his best season in town came in 1997 when he hit .281 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI. However, he still didn’t have many friends in the area following an arrest that year on domestic abuse charges. Despite posting bail, Cordero couldn’t stay out of trouble for long as he was arrested yet again for getting too close with his wife. He pleaded guilty in November of that year, but not before the Red Sox had already released him despite the career year.
6. Wes Gardner, 1989
It’s tough to be known for just an arrest, but when you put up rather forgettable career stats like an 18-30 record and a 4.90 ERA, this is what happens. Gardner infamously was arrested for allegedly striking his wife in August of 1989 in a Baltimore hotel while the Sox were on a road trip. Despite the arrest, the team allowed him to make his scheduled start two days later. (He gave up four earned runs in just three innings in that start, in case you were wondering.)
5. Tony Allen, 2005
Allen was taken into custody months after a summer brawl he was involved in turned into a shooting. Two men alleged that Allen ordered the shooting by telling the actual shooter to “[expletive] him up,” and they forced a civil suit against the Celtics guard. It took a year-and-a-half for Allen to be cleared of all the charges in 2007.
4. Julio Valdez, 1983
Francisco Rodriguez’ arrest at his hometown ballyard has nothing on the arrest of the Sox utilityman Julio Valdez in 1983. Police took Valdez into custody in the seventh inning of a game at Fenway Park based on charges of statutory rape for allegedly having an affair with a 14-year-old runaway (who admitted lying about her age). It didn’t catch anyone off-guard, though. The team had been notified that the arrest was going to occur, and Valdez was actually waiting with his lawyer for the men in blue in the Sox clubhouse when they arrived. He never played in the majors again following that game.
3. Robert Parish, 1993
Now, we get into some of the arrests of the more high-profile athletes to pass through Boston. Parish was quite literally the biggest member of the C’s original Big Three that won three championships in the 1980’s. However by 1993, the then-39-year-old’s career was beginning to slow down. But that didn’t mean the end of the “high” times for the center. He was arrested on marijuana charges after a drug-sniffing dog in San Francisco smelt the drug in a package addressed to him and officials found five ounces of the drug in his Weston home. He would go on to play four more years in the league without further incident.
2. Oil Can Boyd, 1986
The Can certainly was one of the strangest characters to ever don a Red Sox uniform, but for a stretch in 1986, things seemed out of control. He was great fodder for the local tabloids, with rumors of drug use (never substantiated) and financial problems, and a visit to the hospital for undisclosed reasons. After throwing a tantrum because he wasn’t named to the All-Star Game, earning a three-day suspension, he was arrested for an incident in Chelsea when he allegedly threatened a police officer who pulled him over. Later that month, he was arrested again, this time for an outstanding speeding ticket.
1. Roger Clemens, 1991
Finally, there’s Roger Clemens’ memorable arrest in 1991. Like Thornton, Clemens got a little too involved with police when they tried to arrest his older brother, Gary, in the Bayou Mama bar in West Houston. The police claimed that the Rocket jumped on the arresting officer’s back and attempted to put him in a choke hold. Both brothers were eventually arrested for their tag-team effort and charged with aggravated assault on an officer and could have faced up to 10 years in prison. Clemens denied putting the choke hold on the officer, and the issue was later resolved after both brothers posted $2,000 bond. Interestingly enough, in his last game before the incident, Clemens was fined $10,000 and suspended five games for an altercation with an umpire during a playoff game.
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