Balotelli had all the potential in the world. But he needlessly destroyed his career through a series of foolish incidents. He showed a lack of commitment to greatness and preferred to focus on his life off the field. The Italian star had flashes of brilliance for Inter Milan and Manchester City but failed to sustain it. Meanwhile, his list of ludicrous misdemeanors is remarkable.
Only Balotelli could crash his Lamborghini into a women’s prison. He once used the City youth team for darts practice. Another time, the fire department rushed to his home after he lit fireworks indoors. Despite this, his teammates loved him because his personality made it impossible to hate him. But he was an unreliable player and his career stagnated (via The Sun).
Malone is arguably the greatest player in Utah Jazz history. But this doesn’t make him a good person. He’s one of the worst deadbeat fathers in the world. He had twins but failed to play any role in their lives until they turned 17. Then, a tabloid ran a story on them and he decided he was interested. Meanwhile, he once got a 13-year-old girl pregnant. The family decided not to press charges because he was a local.
Then, there were all of the times that he hit on his teammates’ wives. These included Kobe Bryant’s partner Vanessa. The public reacted with extreme negativity to this and Malone eventually apologized. Meanwhile, he refused to pay any child support for his offspring despite a net worth of millions of dollars (via Medium). Somehow he escaped without a lot of criticism during his playing career.
Covington would argue that his controversy was necessary. This is because they attracted public attention and forced the UFC to retain him. However, the MMA fighter needlessly crossed the line on multiple occasions. He’s a great fighter but he’s not a pleasant person. His fake persona is also extremely polarizing (via Sportskeeda). It’s not safe for him to go to Brazil after he referred to the population as ‘filthy animals.’
However, one of the worst things he did was take a selfie with Polyana Viana and then make lewd comments about her. She was a fellow UFC fighter and this was in extremely poor taste. Many people thought that this was too far because she took the photo with him in good faith. In the end, Covington does what it takes to stay relevant. He’s a product of the world that we live in, unfortunately.
Kidd was a very talented NBA star but he made life difficult for those around him. Kidd faced multiple counts of domestic violence and sexual assault in 2001. Somehow he escaped without charges despite evidence towards his guilt. It’s difficult to shake those kinds of allegations because nobody likes an abuser. This made his appointment as Mavericks’ coach all the more controversial.
He did plead guilty to spousal abuse but this didn’t stop him. His former wife claimed that he beat her repeatedly over the next few years. Finally, she filed for divorce and left him. Kidd was in a position where he could meet some of the most glamorous women in the world. But he needlessly inflicted pain upon one poor woman. In the end, he didn’t pay much of a price (via USA Today).
Durden was an obscure UFC fighter in 2021. He attracted attention after he defeated Qileng Aori in Las Vegas. It wasn’t a dominant victory but he did enough to secure a close decision. Then he made everybody uncomfortable with his post-fight interview. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from,” Durden told Daniel Cormier (via SBNation).
The outcry was instantaneous. Most people agreed that he had needlessly ruined his moment with a racist comment. Later, Durden apologized and explained that the words came out wrong. However, his Twitter feed revealed a host of abuse toward China, including derogatory comments about Chinese women. His interview was mild in comparison to the horrible things he said online.
Barton was a decent soccer player but not a good human. He had a solid career with several mid-tier Premier League teams but needlessly invited controversies all of the time. There was something wrong in his mind because of the things he did. For example, he stubbed a cigarette in another player’s eye. Then there was the time he battered Ousmane Dabo on the Manchester City training ground.
Then there was an incident in Liverpool where he assaulted a man. He punched him over 20 times and served 74 days in prison for his actions. Barton also had gambling issues as well as a charge of violence against a woman. Furthermore, there are countless stories of bust-ups with his coaches. Barton is a complex figure who brings a lot of drama wherever he goes (via The Mirror).
‘Thug Rose’ is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC today. She prefers gardening to fighting and famously shaved her head despite her good looks. She claimed it was more practical and every fighter should do the same. However, even she needlessly invited controversy when she fought Weili Zhang in 2020. Namajunas infamously used the phrase “Better dead than red,” to describe Zhang.
Many people criticized her for this because they felt it was unfair on Zhang. Critics said that Zhang wasn’t the embodiment of the Chinese state. Yet this was how Namajunas treated her. It also resulted in a toxic reaction from the crowd during the fight. They booed Zhang and chanted ‘U.S.A.’ repeatedly. Namajunas inspired them with her poor choice of words.
Few people court controversy like Adam Jones. The former Bengals star had a lot of talent but unfortunately, fans forget his football. That’s because he needlessly created drama for himself. He partied endlessly and this was his downfall. That’s because he landed in many avoidable situations that ended in a visit to the local precinct. Strippers still shudder in fear at his name.
Meanwhile, there were multiple public brawls and shooting incidents. He even fought with an airport worker in Atlanta. His list of drinking offenses is endless. In 2021, police arrested him for an assault. However, Jones’s worst situation was the Las Vegas shooting that left a man paralyzed. Nobody proved that Jones pulled the trigger but he was an instigator.
Few athletes polarize public opinion like Fury. Some believe he is a role model because of his return from depression and mental health advocacy. However, others remember his comments directed at gay people and women earlier in his career. That’s why he failed to win the BBC Personality of the Year award despite sporting successes. He’s too problematic to receive a mainstream endorsement.
A case in point occurred in 2020. Fury announced that he reached a deal to fight U.K. rival, Anthony Joshua. This was a highly-anticipated bout for the undisputed heavyweight crown. However, controversy arose when Fury thanked Irish gang lord Daniel Kinahan for helping out (via The Times). The Irish government protested and it became a global issue. In the end, the fight between Fury and Joshua never materialized.
McGregor needlessly attracts controversy like a hobby. The Irishman burst onto the scene as an elite athlete. He became the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. However, he increasingly became a caricature of himself. ‘The Notorious’ infamously punched an older man in a bar in Dublin. Another time, he foolishly smashed a fan’s phone off the ground outside a nightclub. He even had a face-off with Machine Gun Kelly at the MTV Video Music Awards (via FOX Sports).
Then there was the time he stormed Brooklyn’s Barclay Center with a posse of 20 goons. Meanwhile, somebody should confiscate his phone because of his drunken tweets. There was a time when McGregor galvanized his entire nation but now they mostly treat him with indifference. It’s disappointing because now people forget how good he was but that’s his fault.
Irving had a tough start to life in Brooklyn after arriving from the Celtics. Boston fans expected him to stay for the long haul but he jumped ship to “the Big Apple.” Then he succumbed to injury for most of his first season and missed key games in the second. Fans hoped that they would see the best of him in his third year alongside teammates James Harden and Kevin Durant.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way they thought. That’s because Irving refused a vaccination to play. According to New York State law, all athletes based in the region had to receive vaccinations to play. Visiting sports stars were an exception. Irving refused and played hardball with the franchise (via Fox News). It left them in a tight spot because they were without one of their best players.
Rodgers was a popular and unproblematic figure for the longest time. Even if NFL fans didn’t like the Packers, they still thought that the QB was a decent man. However, perceptions changed in 2021 when he demanded a trade from Green Bay. This was despite their roster enjoying an enhanced strength in depth. In the end, he agreed to stay until the end of the season.
But the drama didn’t end. NFL rules mandated athletes to receive vaccines. When asked if he had his, Rodgers said that he was “immunized” against the disease. It emerged that he used this choice of words for a reason. Instead of taking the vaccine like the majority of other people, he sought alternative treatments (via N.Y. Times). Needless to say, he fell ill and missed a key game for the Packers.