Former Chicago Bears player Michael Richardson has been arrested by Arizona police on murder charges, according to news sources. The NFL star, 59, was taken in on Wednesday, December 30, in connection with the shooting death of a 47-year-old Phoenix man, Ronald Like.
According to reports, Richardson was charged with murder, misconduct involving weapons and a felony warrant. He was booked into a Maricopa County jail where he is being held without bond, state online jail records, and is scheduled to appear in court January 7.
Richardson has had a rollercoaster history of highs and lows. He grew up in the Compton area of Los Angeles and engineered an illustrious football career, having landed on the Bears in 1983 as a second-round NFL draft pick from Arizona State University, where he was an All-American.
He, along with his fellow Bears, made pop culture history with the “Super Bowl Shuffle” in 1985, a video featuring the team rapping about their championship.
Richardson, who is No. 27, has a featured rap in the video, which can be seen starting at 3:33 above. “I’m L.A. Mike and I play it cool. They don’t sneak by me because I’m no fool,” he grooves along to the catchy beat.
However, his fame took a turn quickly. Just a few years following his high point with the Bears and his final season with the NFL in 1989, Richardson spiraled into crime, landing in prison in 1992 for drug felonies. According to ESPN, he had 21 drug-related convictions and five felonies to his name by 2008. His public defender at the time reported that Richardson had “a deep dependency” to drugs since the age of 13 as a result of growing up in a rough urban neighborhood.
His troubles continued to this day, with numerous drug-related arrests in 2018 and 2019; state records show accusations of him possessing meth, crack cocaine and heroin. He additionally was hauled in twice this year already for drug-related charges.
While he has a long rap sheet, his most current charge is by far the most serious he has faced.
His former coach, NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, told ESPN back in 2008 that Richardson was a good person who’d had an unfortunate start in life. “There’s not a bad bone in his body,” Ditka said. “What happens with a kid, you’re caught up in all the crap and you don’t think sometimes and you don’t get rid of your past.”