Paralympic athletes rarely experience mainstream fame. However, the brilliance of Oscar Pistorius transcended his sport. He even competed against non-disabled sprinters because he was so fast. The South African was a superstar in his native country. But the world came crashing down around him after he shot his wife. Pistorius’s trial seized global attention.
He killed Reeva Steenkamp when she emerged from the bathroom of their home. Pistorius claimed that he freaked out because he thought there was an intruder. After multiple trials, Pistorius finally went to jail for 15 years. Originally, a judge convicted him of culpable homicide. Then it went to retrial and they upgraded it to murder (via Reuters).
Monzon was a tremendous boxer who became a folk hero in Argentina. He was an undisputed middleweight champion and had an incredible nine successful defenses. But Monzon was a complex individual. The Argentine public loved him despite his intense flaws. Monzon had two wives and many affairs. However, the boxer battered every woman he was involved with.
He even freaked out and attacked the media on multiple occasions. His most controversial moment came in 1988. That’s when he pushed his wife Alicia over the side of a balcony. She died from her injuries and Monzon went to prison for 11 years (via The Independent). Monzon died in a car crash while on temporary release. He was a brilliant boxer but a difficult human being.
Rice was one of the best running backs in the NFL during his heyday. The Ravens star had electric feet and the ability to dance past opponents. He was a three-time Pro Bowler with the franchise and also won a Super Bowl. However, he contrived to ruin his career in the most disgraceful way. In short, Rice freaked out and battered his wife in an Atlantic City casino.
Video footage captured the NFL star dragging her unconscious body from an elevator. He punched her head and slammed her against the side of the elevator. Naturally, this was a major scandal and the NFL made it worse. Roger Goodell failed to punish him properly (via Baltimore Sun). Finally, the Ravens cut him during his suspension. Nobody wanted to touch him after that.
Few figures stirred up as much controversy on the court as Artest. It’s easy to forget that he was genuinely talented. He was a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year as well as a Finals winner. However, his career went downhill after the Malice at the Palace. This brawl between the Pacers and the Pistons was one of the most dramatic in sporting history.
Artest received an 86-game ban for his central role in the chaos (via Business Insider). However, he infuriated his teammates by requesting a trade after it ended. They stood by him throughout the scandal after he freaked out and wreaked havoc. While he had some success after his return, he never made the same impact as before. He became something like a caricature of himself.
There was a time when Woods was one of the most clean-cut athletes on the planet. However, everything changed in 2009. Firstly, he crashed his Cadillac outside his mansion after a night of pills. Then his world spiraled out of control. Dozens of women, including strippers and adult film stars, emerged within a couple of weeks. They claimed to have had affairs with the golfer (via People).
Woods freaked out after this and entered rehab. The scandal came at the worst time because he was also suffering from injuries. He struggled to recapture his brilliance and didn’t win another Major until 2019. Woods should have enjoyed much more success over the years. But he wasn’t in a position to compete for a few years because of his mental and physical conditions.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to stop talking. Unfortunately, nobody told Solo because of her inability to stay quiet. The USWNT goalkeeper was one of the team’s most recognizable faces. She was also extremely vocal and had no problem giving her opinion. In 2016, the USA played Sweden in the Olympic semifinals. Finally, the Nordic nation defeated the defending champions on penalties.
After the game, Solo freaked out and called the Swedes ‘cowards’ because of their defensive performance (via The Guardian). The Swedish coach laughed it off because of the emotion of the occasion. However, the American soccer federation suspended her from playing for the team. This infuriated Solo and her teammates because she was a vocal advocate for equal pay. They wanted to remove her from the public eye.
Brown was already an extremely controversial figure before his wild incident in 2021. That’s because the wide receiver had a history of off-the-field problems. These even included sexual assault allegations and ultimately cost him his Patriots’ career. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recognized his talents and brought him in from the cold. It was a case of the last-chance saloon for the temperamental wideout.
Things went well in his first season as the Bucs won the Super Bowl. But his second year in Florida ended on a sour note. Tampa played the Jets in Week 17 when Brown freaked out. He took off his pads, helmet, and jersey in the third quarter and stormed off. Later, Bruce Arians said that Brown was no longer on the team. However, Brown accused the organization of plotting against him (via Sky Sports) by forcing him to play on an ankle that an MRI proved he needed serious surgery on. The team of course denied that, setting up a potential legal battle between the two sides. Brown’s football future remains in limbo, but it’s difficult to envision him getting more chances.