Athletes getting into trouble seemed to be a recurring theme in 2012.
While most legal issues involving athletes were just boneheaded, some stories that came out this past year were tragic too.
Here's a highlight reel of our Top 5 legal sports stories from 2012:
- Jerry Sandusky. While this story broke in 2011, the trial and his eventual conviction were the biggest sports stories of 2012 too. The former Penn State assistant coach was effectively sentenced to life in prison for the sexual abuse of several young boys.
- Saints "Bounty Gate." The New Orleans Saints faced a host of troubles for allegedly putting a bounty on several opposing players including Brett Favre. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slammed his iron fist down on the Saints, apparently crushing the team's chances for 2012. However, while the Saints' season was dashed following the suspension of several players and Coach Sean Payton, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped in and ultimately overturned the players' suspensions.
- Jovan Belcher Murder-Suicide. A domestic dispute between Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins turned deadly when the young Chiefs linebacker shot her multiple times, killing her, and then killed himself in front of his coach. The couple had a young child, and the incident shed light on domestic disputes and domestic violence in the NFL.
- Josh Brent's DUI Crash Kills Teammate Jerry Brown. In the second NFL death in a month, Dallas Cowboys lineman Josh Brent allegedly had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he lost control of his car and crashed. While Brent survived, his friend and teammate Jerry Brown did not.
- Chad Johnson. Chad Johnson started the year as Chad Ochocinco. For the love of his fiance, Evelyn Lozada, he changed his name back to Chad Johnson. By the end of year, Johnson was accused of headbutting his wife, leading to her filing for divorce -- and Johnson tattooing her face onto his thigh.
- AL Man Pleads Guilty to Rubbing Genitals on Passed-Out LSU Fan (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Olympic Runner Suzy Favor Hamilton Is a Vegas Call Girl: Report (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Learn About the Law (FindLaw)