His defenders say that Bates didn’t have the life skills that could have protected him from the people who prey on professional athletes. Regardless, in his third season, Bates’ life began its downward spiral. He drank heavily, did drugs, and arrived late for practices and games. Bates lost all of his money and finally hit bottom in 1998, when he was arrested for robbing a New Jersey Texaco station at knife point. He served nearly 5 years in prison.