True crime podcasts are always great because there’s just something so fascinating about the circumstances surrounding law-breaking. When you can find a true-crime podcast that piques some of your other interests, too, that’s even better. That’s why, for many people, sports and crime podcasts – sports stories where crime is involved – are some of the best on the market. From Michael Vick’s infamous failure to Oscar Pistorius’s heinous actions (we’re defining sports crime here as when an athlete has done something bad), there’s a lot to digest in sports crime headlines.
Unfortunately, there aren’t so many crime in sports podcasts to digest. As more begin to pop up the niche diversifies some, but there still isn’t an awful lot of choice. When you compare this to sports podcasts in general or even the top tier, most gruesome true crime podcasts, it gets hard to pick. However, there are a few standout sports crime podcasts. These are the podcasts we suggest you check out.
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#1. Crime in Sports
Crime in Sports is the dominant sports crime podcast right now, and for good reason. Hilarious and enticing, Crime in Sports is a natural listen for sports fans and true crime fans alike. Whether you prefer to sit back and relax and have a laugh about the ridiculousness of all of the crime or like to get in the gritty details of it all, Crime in Sports has you covered. This is the most catch-all of all of these podcasts, which weigh in on topics from Mark Gastineau’s domestic abuse to petty crime to the OJ Simpson trials.
The Hosts: Based out of Arizona, James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman are 3 things: sports fans, true crime fans, and comedians. While neither has been seen on any Netflix original specials, they have found their medium in both of their podcasts. Small Town Murder kicked it off, a podcast where they discuss crime from places you’ve never heard of before. When the idea that they could mix that with an obvious love of sports, they found Crime in Sports.
The Guests: Crime in Sports does not feature guests.
Why You Have to Listen: Do you like sports? Do you like true crime? Do you like laughing? Then you need to listen to this podcast – there’s nothing more to it. Even if it isn’t your favorite, it will never be a waste of time. It’s undeniably funny, while not being too irreverent towards the crime and its victims. Classy but hilarious, and often revealing.
#2. Sports Crimes
Similar in spirit to Crime in Sports, Sports Criminals focuses on the crossover between good sports storylines and great true crime. Excellently narrated and deeply researched, there’s a lot of substance behind this podcast. In that way, it differs slightly from Crime in Sports. Less like a stand-up special and more like an award-winning film, this podcast is absolutely brilliant as it covers topics like the Tiger Woods scandals and Chris Benoit’s double murder-suicide.
The Hosts: Sports Criminals is hosted by Carter Roy and Tim Johnson. Carter is a former actor and director, and Tim is a bit more mysterious. Neither host is the feature of this show, however. Both have a knack for reading a script dramatically, and it’s on full display here.
The Guests: Sports Criminals does not feature guests.
Why You Have to Listen: The most lovable part of Sports Criminals is the brilliant writing, which is only enhanced by great narration. The hosts love to set the scene and do so with panache. As you get further into the podcast, you will notice that the hosts are adept at telling a story beat by beat. Often, the show will bring up obscurer facts that other shows sometimes lose.
Listen to: Sports Criminals
Rating: All Ages
#3 Lateral Damage
Sports Illustrated has been the pinnacle of sports journalism since before God left Chicago. With that known, there should be no shock when you learn that Sports Illustrated has hopped on the sports crime podcast train. Lateral Damage is the successor to Fall of a Titan, although they’re hosted under the same name now. Promising to dive deep into some of the most obscure unsolved sports crimes, there’s a lot to be excited about here.
The Hosts: Lateral Damage is currently hosted by Tim Rohan, although it seems like he may hand off the reins when the second season picks up. Rohan has been a writer for Sports Illustrated for some time, having written some of their most acclaimed recent articles. The man behind Death of a Heisman Winner, crime is nothing new to him. Should he pass the reins, it will be to S.I. Price, an older journalist with a similar portfolio.
The Guests: Other journalists and people involved in the stories will sometimes guest on Lateral Damage.
Why You Have to Listen: Lateral Damage is the most journalistic podcast on this list, without question. While others on this list will do deep research or even speak with people involved, this podcast manages to find depth in every story they cover. With some of the most respectable names in sports journalism available, the show has a lot to pull out. This also allows them to take an angle few other podcasts can, as they see through the media’s eyes, and are able to break down that part of cases.
Listen to: Lateral Damage
Rating: All Ages
#4 The Sneak
If you don’t know the name Anthony Curcio, you might want to learn it. The Sneak is the best reason to do it. The pinnacle of single-story true crime podcasts, you don’t need to know anything about sports to get into it. If you happen to know football, you’ll only be able to pick up a bit more. But nothing can show the similarities between football and a getaway like The Sneak.
The Hosts: The Sneak is hosted by Nate Scott, the editor of FTW Sports. Nate is a great interviewer and writer, two skills which help to make The Sneak so fantastic. You’ll find the small details Nate is able to provide immersive, while his questions are specific and bring the best out of his guests. Nate knows how to get a story told.
The Guests: The Sneak brings on many guests associated with the crime in question, and the surrounding incidents. The man who made the 911 call and the cop who made the arrest make an appearance. The most notable guest, however, is Anthony Crucio. The football star turned mastermind criminal is happy to provide his side of the story, as he now uses his failures for the betterment of American youth.
Why You Have to Listen: Anthony Crucio was a college football player who got caught in something terrible. (I won’t spoil anything.) However, when he chose to rob an armored car, it made national headlines. One of the greatest heists of all times, it’s surprising to hear Crucio talk about the “angles.” Football and robbery aren’t all that different, and The Sneak shows it.
Listen to: The Sneak
Rating: All Ages
Netflix brought the Aaron Hernandez story back to light with a recent series, which has won much critical acclaim. They are not who told it best, though; instead, Wondery came in to take an amazing story and make it even deeper. Gladiator follows the story of unanimously known New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez, who was implicated in the murder of 3 men and found guilty in 1 case. Aaron eventually took his own life in prison, leaving a whirlwind true crime story behind him.
The Hosts: Bob Hohler takes the reins of Gladiator, and that’s no surprise. A reporter for the Boston Globe, Hohler has been keeping on top of the Aaron Hernandez story since it began. His connection to the story and the people connected to it allow him to cover the story in amazing depth. Hohler is a wonderful host, carrying the story with its due weight and in great detail. Hohler makes this podcast as great as it is.
The Guests: With so many people aware of and connected to the story, there’s a glut of guests for Gladiator. Whether in recorded clips or podcast specific interviews, you’ll hear voices you’ll recognize and many that you’ll come to learn quickly.
Why You Have to Listen: The Aaron Hernandez story has been in American headlines since it began. Even today, you’re likely to see some new detail plastered on a magazine cover at the end cap of every grocery store near you. Re-entering the mainstream with the Netflix story, Aaron Hernandez is a need-to-know name. But even if you feel like you know it already, you need to tune into Gladiator.
Gladiator is the most in-depth coverage of any sports crime you’ll ever hear, and maybe of any crime ever. With so much to tell and so many aspects to the story, Gladiator covers every single one. There’s no stone left unturned, no olive branch unextended. Everything you ever need to know is on display.
Listen to: Gladiator
Rae Carruth is not a household name anymore, but he was not so long ago. And in Charlotte, he certainly still is. In 1999, the Panthers young star receiver was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder after shooting into a car with his then-pregnant girlfriend, Cherica, inside. Carruth is one of those local series that deserve national acclaim, especially when you’re discussing sports crime podcasts. From The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, this podcast is able to get very close to any otherwise cold story.
The Hosts: Scott Fowler is a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and the reporter who covered the Carruth story when it broke. Scott is clearly deeply affected by the story, which allows him to cover it in great detail. He’s a fantastic host with his southern charm and sharp, eloquent voice. But what really makes him shine is his ability to relate to a story that hurt the heart of North Carolina, which is not too far from his own.
The Guests: Much like Gladiator, Carruth is made so excellent by its ability to get close to the story. For example, they were able to bring out members of the victims family and friend group. They have even gone so far as to reach out to the perpetrator and his mother, although they received no comment. Fowler has previously spoken to both, however, and is able to provide prior quotes.
Why You Have to Listen: You may not know who Rae Carruth is, but this podcast will make you feel like you do quickly. With a great ability to introduce you to both Carruth and his victim, this podcast makes you feel personally involved. Both gripping and heartwrenching, this podcast sometimes gets difficult to listen to. But that makes it one of the best sports crime podcasts out there.
Listen to: Carruth
With so many great sports podcasts and true crime podcasts, it should come as no surprise that there’s greatness in where they crossover. Whether you prefer things to be played for laughs like in Crime in Sports or kept dramatic throughout, whether you prefer stories told quickly and moved on from like Sports Criminals or deep dives into single tales like Gladiator, there’s something out there for you.
If you like sports, crime, or both, you can easily find a sports crime podcast that’s perfect for you. This list should contain the one you love or at least the one that leads you to it. There’s a lot to love about each, and you just might love them all.
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