Extorting Sports Figures Is the Latest Rage

Robert Griffin III, left (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images);Mark Jackson (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Robert Griffin III, left (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images);Mark Jackson (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Unless you normally pose in the nude or star in porn films, it's probably a bad idea to circulate pictures of yourself naked. And it's a really, really bad idea if you're a celebrity or public figure of any kind. Just ask former Rep. Anthony Weiner.


So we have to ask Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson: "What were you thinking?"

It's one thing to have an affair. But it's something else altogether to send your mistress naked pictures of yourself, especially when she's a former stripper with an acquaintance who spent 12 years in prison and they decide to blackmail you.


"My family and I were the victims of an extortion scheme," Jackson said Thursday in a statement Thursday, after Alexis Adams and Marcus Shaw were arrested on federal charges. According to an affidavit from an FBI agent, Jackson paid Shaw $5,000 earlier this year. But — surprise, surprise — Shaw later demanded more money, prompting Jackson to contact the FBI.

"I recognize the extremely poor judgment that I used both in having an affair six years ago — including the embarrassing communication I exhibited during that time — and in attempting to deal with the extortion scheme at first by myself," Jackson said. "I made some egregious errors. I apologize for any embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends and, of course, the Warriors."

Jackson brought the mess on himself, much like former NFL receiver Terrell Owens, who apparently can't keep his hand off himself during naked Skype sessions. A woman this week contacted TMZ and other celebrity media outlets in an effort to sell pictures of Owens allegedly masturbating. She was unsuccessful, but her story appeared Wednesday in the Philadelphia Daily News, with the writer claiming to have seen the photos.

According to the story: "During their first Skype encounter, the woman claims, Owens was already naked and erect when the video call began. She estimates watching Owens pleasure himself on 10 separate occasions, during which she denies exposing herself or talking dirty."


"It's obvious that she has nothing because it's illegal with what she's trying to do, or otherwise TMZ would have bought the photos," Owens told the newspaper. "This is a case of extortion, this is a waste of my time, and you're wasting your time because I have nothing to say."

We don't know if Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III decided to "show off" like Jackson and Owens. But we know that Richard Khamir Hurd, who was arraigned Monday on a federal extortion charge, allegedly threatened to release "derogatory information" about RG3 unless he was paid a "substantial sum" of money.


"There's vultures out there, people looking to climb on top of all your money," Griffin told reporters Tuesday. He went on SiriusXM Radio later and lamented "just the fact that there's gonna be people out there that are trying to get at you, trying to tear you down, it's just really unfortunate that that has to happen."

Athletes and other celebrities are prime targets for blackmail schemes and often try to resolve them alone, as Jackson did. We all have things in our past that we don't want folks to know about, but most of us aren't rich and/or famous. Otherwise we'd have to pray and cross our fingers that no one threatened to reveal our dirty secrets.


For public (and not-so-public) figures, self-defense is the best defense. Which means it's best to keep your behavior honest … and keep your clothes on in pictures.

Deron Snyder's Loose Ball column appears regularly on The Root. Follow him on Twitter and reach him at BlackDoor Ventures, Inc.

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