Opinion by Larry Alex Taunton, special to CNN
(CNN) -- Being a sports fan these days almost requires a law degree. What with all the legal troubles of athletes, who can keep up?
Lawyers certainly have the edge in the fantasy leagues. The rest of us keep one on retainer.
Still, even they might have some difficulty predicting outcomes. Will the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez actually be suspended? Will Riley Cooper be cut from the Philadelphia Eagles? Will Johnny Manziel lose his NCAA eligibility?
With this in mind, my crack team of researchers has produced a list of Seven Deadly Sins in Sports and the punishments you can expect to be meted out to the athletes in question.
Before we get to the list, however, there are a couple of principles you must bear in mind to make sense of crime and the sporting landscape:
The First Principle is that there are no principles.
This will become obvious as we go along, but it is nonetheless critical that you understand this if you want to win that coveted league championship.
The Second Principle is that the athlete stands a better chance of weathering controversy if he is really good.
Albert Speer and Werner von Braun were both members of Germany's SS and both used slave labor. But Speer was an architect. America didn’t need another architect and Speer got 20 years in prison.
Von Braun, on the other hand, was a rocket scientist. Now here was a franchise player. Von Braun received fame, fortune and a lot of buildings named after him.
So it is in sports. Get it?
Now, to the list (from least to most deadly):
7. Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Accessory to Murder, and Manslaughter
Got a guy on your roster accused of being involved in a murder? Don’t panic. The truth is, this deadly sin isn’t all that deadly for the alleged perp.
How this plays out largely depends on the Second Principle: Is he really good?
No, on second thought, in these instances your draftee must be great.
Aaron Hernandez was good. He’s being held in jail on murder charges. Ray Lewis was great. So were his lawyers. They negotiated a plea agreement to obstruction of justice and authorities dropped a murder charge. Lewis served probation but did not miss a game, and is now an elder statesman of the NFL.
READ MORE: Search warrant: Aaron Hernandez stored guns in box
The lesson here is this: If you have someone like Hernandez on your fantasy team, try to trade him. But don’t expect much in return.
If, however, your player has been accused of manslaughter, you can breathe easy. The first part of that word is the key: manslaughter. If he killed a dog, he’s looking at hard time.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Remember, your players can afford solid legal counsel and so long as the victim is anonymous and not, say, Justin Bieber, you can expect your player to receive something along the lines of probation or community service.
This depends on the sport. Tour de France? Your guy is done for the season, if not for life.