Oscar Pistorius


Another day, another athlete arrested. What is it about athletes that makes them prone to this kind of trouble?
—L&M, via Twitter

I assume you speak of Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius, the South African Olympic runner charged with murdering model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius may have mistaken the woman for an intruder when he allegedly opened fire; he's expected to appear in court Friday.

I threw your question past a guy who would know, and the answer may surprise you. I also dug up a few other athletes whose troubles might be of interest. (Two words: Deer antlers.)

According to Dr. Jack Singer, a southern California based psychologist who treats plenty of athletes, there is no mental link between violence and physical talent on a football field or racetrack. There is, however, a sense of infallibility that comes with fame, and that includes, of course, well known athletes like Pistorius.

"It comes with years of being told they can do whatever they want," Singer says.

The result: Top athletes may be more likely to, say, grow angry when someone crosses or insults them.

Athletes are also largely left-brained, which can lead to neglect of the more emotional parts of the mind, Singer says. That, in turn, can lead to emotional problems if ignored. But it's important to know that, as Singer puts it, "we're really talking about a small minority of athletes. Ninety-nine percent of athletes live nice, clean lives."

Here are four other athletes who definitely do not fit into the nice and clean category at the moment.

Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp

Lucky Nxumalo/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Simon Cho: The American short-track speed skater recently admitted that he tampered with the skates of a Canadian rival during a 2011 competition in Poland. Cho insisted that his U.S. coach, Jae Su Chun, ordered the athlete to do the tampering. Chun has denied any such role. Now reports indicate that the International Skating Union may be gearing up to to take a closer look at the whole affair.

Lance Armstrong

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Lance Armstrong: Unless you've been living in a ditch, you know by now that Armstrong lied for years about doping. (He did dope, but insisted he didn't, until Oprah cornered him.) Now an insurance company, SCA Promotions, is suing Armstrong and his associates over money bonuses the bicyclist pocketed from ill-gotten wins.

Vijay Singh: Ever hear of deer antler spray? Right about now, golfer Singh sure wishes he hadn't. A few weeks ago, Sports Illustrated reported that the golfer spent $9,000 on products including the spray, which may contain a substance that's banned under the PGA Tour's anti-doping rules. Singh maintains he had no idea that the spray may contain a no-no substance. But major sports outlets are calling for Singh to take a leave of absence from the tour.

Dan Marino: Tabloids recently revealed that the former NFL hero had a secret love child with a woman who is not his wife. Donna Savattere had the child with Marino 7 years ago, the stories claim, and Savattere has been lying low but emerged in London last week.

Of course these scandals don't come anywhere close to an alleged murder.

But deer antler spray? Now that is epic.

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