Fans often hold elite athletes to a higher standard than themselves, but the reality is they are human too. Many of them make mistakes and pay the consequences. In the most extreme cases, sports teams have even kicked their players off their teams because they went too far. It even tainted many of their careers.
So today we’ll look at 30 athletes who were kicked off their teams. There are a lot of NFL stars on this list, but there are sportspeople and athletes from all across the spectrum. Check out the list below via Four Four Two and ElectroMech.
30. Cris Carter
Carter became a legend in Minnesota en route to a Hall of Fame career. But it all started so differently for the wide receiver. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in 1987 with the expectation that he would become a longtime starter. He only spent three seasons on their roster before they surprisingly cut him. However, Carter revealed that Coach Buddy Ryan kicked him off the team because of his lack of discipline and drug use.
Luckily, Carter received the guidance he required and turned his life around. Many players fall apart in similar circumstances and no one hears about them again. Leaving Philadelphia was the best possible move for Carter at the time because it forced him to reassess himself.
Early in his career, the Houston Rockets kicked Lawson off the team because of a DUI charge. However, that isn’t the main reason why he’s on this list. It is because of a bizarre incident that occurred in China. Lawson chased the money in the Middle Kingdom and joined the Fujian Sturgeons. But the team tore up his contract and the Chinese Basketball Association banned him for life.
This was because of some comments Lawson made about a Chinese woman on social media. In short, he used slang to say that she had an attractive body but the Chinese took it the wrong way. He received death threats and racial abuse. Meanwhile, the authorities accused him of disrespecting the woman. A chastised Lawson left China with his tail between his legs.
McDonald spent seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before an ill-fated move to Chicago. The defensive end was a solid presence throughout his time in the NFL but his career came to an abrupt end. Firstly, the Niners kicked him off the team after sexual assault allegations arose. He bounced back from this and signed on to the Chicago Bears, but it was a case of the last-chance saloon.
But he also blew this opportunity because he faced another arrest. This time law enforcement charged him with domestic violence and child endangerment. It was a miserable way for his time as a professional football player to end. Nobody likes to see somebody’s life collapse like this but McDonald had himself to blame. The Bears refused to stand by him because of his record.
This outside linebacker won the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Mingo then bounced around the NFL as he played for seven different franchises. Unfortunately for Mingo, his time in the league came to an abrupt halt after his shocking arrest in 2021. The Atlanta Falcons cut him after allegations emerged of indecent contact with a minor in Arlington.
Allegedly, Mingo tugged on a teenage boy’s underwear and attempted to initiate sex with him on a hotel bed in Texas. The 13-year-old reported the incident and the police responded by arresting the NFL star. It was a sordid and horrible incident to read about because nobody thinks this way about athletes.
Technically, the UFC is a promotion but the principle, in this case, is the same. Daley was one of the UFC’s first British stars. ‘Semtex’ carried incredible power in his left hand and emerged as a fan favorite because of his knockout power. Unfortunately, the MMA fighter lost his place on the roster following a shocking post-fight incident in 2010.
After losing a decision to Josh Koscheck, Daley walked up to his opponent and punched him from behind. Chaos erupted and in the end, the UFC kicked him out. Company President Dana White said he would never fight for the promotion again. This didn’t end Daley’s career because he continued fighting and became a star for Bellator. However, it damaged his chance to be one of the best.
Forget about Rice’s personal issues for a moment because he was genuinely one of the most exciting running backs in the NFL. He played a major role in the Baltimore Raven’s Super Bowl win but that’s the last positive thing we can say about him. The Ravens kicked him off the team in 2014 after a disgraceful incident in Atlantic City in 2014 that was incredibly vile.
Video footage emerged of Rice spitting in his girlfriend’s face, hitting her, and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. Needless to say, this isn’t acceptable behavior in the 21st century. Police arrested him for the incident and the NFL suspended him for a couple of games. It’s very disappointing when a player reveals their true colors like this.
Social media is an important marketing tool for athletes in the modern world. But it can also be very damaging if they don’t use it properly. Leipsic played for the Washington Capitals in the NHL and was carving out a decent career for himself. However, he ruined it all for himself after a series of messages he left on Instagram making misogynistic comments about women.
Furthermore, he left some abusive comments in the group chat about his teammates. The Capitals kicked him off the team and waived his contract because of the incident. Meanwhile, Jack Rodewald, a right-wing for the Florida Panthers, was also involved in the chat. The Panthers traded him as soon as they could after the incident, which was pure stupidity.
Another NFL player and another domestic abuse case. Wheeler starred for the USC Trojans but went undrafted. Finally, the New York Giants picked him up as a free agent and he spent a couple of seasons with them. That was before a move to the Seattle Seahawks. But his time on the West Coast ended in tears because of his legal issues after he battered his girlfriend.
Law enforcement picked the offensive tackle up and charged him with three counts of domestic violence. A judge set bail at $400,000. Meanwhile, the Seahawks felt that they had no choice but to waive his contract. Wheeler may return to the NFL but he tarnished his reputation forever. Fans don’t forget when athletes beat up women.
Most athletes on this list didn’t make it because they played badly. However, Wentz’s situation was so dramatic that we’ve made an exception for him. The former Eagles quarterback signed a mega-contract after the franchise’s Super Bowl win in 2018. Incidentally, he didn’t even play in that game because of injury. Since then, his form declined until things culminated with a miserable season in 2020.
Wentz was horrifically bad as he led the league in interceptions. Nothing he attempted was right and finally, Doug Pedersen lost patience. He removed Wentz from the starting role and inserted Jalen Hurts into the team. Finally, they traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles preferred to spend an insane amount of money instead of keeping him on their roster.
Dern broke onto the scene as one of the most exciting Brazilian jiu-jitsu players in the world. The Brazilian-American transitioned to MMA and eventually signed for the UFC as a blue-chip prospect. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as fans expected. She had issues with her weight and also with her camp. Dern trained at Black House MMA but had a disagreement with the team.
She claims that her coach owed her husband money but Black House dispute this. In the end, Black House kicked both of them off the team and told them to find somewhere else. Many fans wrote Dern off at this point because they didn’t think she had the mental fortitude to make it in MMA. Then, she moved to RVCA Sports and became an even more deadly fighter.
A legendary goalkeeper for Arsenal, Lehmann had a dedicated fanbase because of his personality and ability. He was a member of the iconic ‘Invincibles’ team who went undefeated throughout the 2003-04 season. After he retired, he worked with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. But one idiotic and racist WhatsApp message ended his time with the club earlier than he expected.
Former Germany international Dennis Aogo worked as a pundit for ESPN. When Lehmann saw this he asked in a group chat if Aogo was the network’s “token black person.” However, he didn’t realize that Aogo was in the group and didn’t appreciate the comment. The media ran with the story and Berlin kicked Lehmann off their books. It was an embarrassing way for his time in soccer to end.
Sanchez won the very first edition of The Ultimate Fighter reality show in 2005. Unbelievably, he maintained his place on the UFC roster for the next 16 years. While he was a strange individual, Sanchez always delivered entertaining fights. However, things became even stranger when his new coach Joshua Fabia introduced training methods like throwing knives at his fighter.
Furthermore, Fabia accused the UFC of taking advantage of Sanchez. He claimed that Sanchez’s mental condition was vulnerable. The UFC responded by cutting Sanchez from their roster. In sum, they kicked him off because his coach said he wasn’t fit to fight. Inadvertently, Fabia ruined the end of his fighter’s career. After, Sanchez announced that he split from Fabia. The MMA community applauded.
NASCAR is trying to shake off a reputation for being intolerant of women and minority groups. Larson emerged as one of their biggest young stars but damaged the racing sport’s reputation in 2020. During the global health crisis, he participated in an online race. He shocked the nation when he used a racist slur when he believed that he was offline. Unfortunately for Larson, this wasn’t the case.
CGR kicked Larson off their racing team but NASCAR allowed him to return if he underwent sensitivity training. Finally, he came back and joined Hendrick Racing. Larson lost a huge number of endorsements because of his racist slur and a lot of money. The former Daytona winner returned to racing with aplomb. It appeared that most NASCAR fans are prepared to overlook his choice of language.
Siverand just couldn’t keep it in his pants. The former Seahawks CB damaged his career prospects in 2021 after he smuggled a woman into his hotel room. But the issue was that the Seahawks had health protocols in place and were operating under a bubble. The former Oklahoma State star dressed his female acquaintance in Seattle training gear but failed to trick the security cameras.
The Seahawks kicked him off their roster but this wasn’t the last time that he lost his place on a roster. In 2021, he joined the Raiders on a futures contract. But police arrested him for street racing and the Raiders shook their heads. It’s clear that this volatile young man is his own worst enemy and has already cost himself millions of dollars.
Washington made Haskins their first-round pick in 2019. Unfortunately, Haskins wasn’t able to live up to expectations and they kicked him out two years before his contract ended. They figured that it was better to suck up the dead money than keep him on their roster. This was because Haskins was inconsistent on the field and didn’t respect their rules off it.
Haskins started 2020 as the team’s starter but Ron Rivera dropped him after just three games. Meanwhile, there were multiple incidents throughout the season where Haskins made negative press. He went to a strip club without masks and violated health and safety restrictions. He played 16 games over two seasons and won just three. It was a shambolic run and finally, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in a possible third-string role.
Brown joined the ranks of NFL abusers in 2016. The placekicker spent 14 seasons in the league where he played for the likes of Seattle and St. Louis before a season with Cincinnati. Then, he moved to the New York Giants where he spent the final four years of his career. He even underwent a late renaissance as he made the Pro Bowl in 2015. But things went downhill rapidly.
It was revealed that Brown was a serial abuser and made his wife’s life a living hell. The Giants kicked him off the team because his position was untenable. After this, nobody wanted to touch him because of his disgusting behavior. Brown acknowledged that he was a terrible person but tried to make something positive of it. He became a public speaker and supported domestic abuse sufferers.
Many great strikers have tried to succeed at Chelsea but failed miserably. However, nobody tore up their career prospects in the same manner as Mutu. The Romanian forward had a productive spell in Italy before a big move to London. However, he only made 27 appearances for the team before they kicked him out and sued him for good measure. He tested positive for cocaine.
This was a major story at the time because not many soccer players fail drug tests. The F.A. suspended him for seven months but the craziest part was his financial penalty. FIFA hit him with a massive, record-breaking $20 million fine. It didn’t end Mutu’s career because he returned to Italy and spent several seasons with Fiorentina. Meanwhile, Romanians adore their former star.
Foster has all of the potentials in the world but he is in danger of destroying his career. He caught the attention of NFL scouts during his time with the Crimson Tide. That’s where the Alabama linebacker won the Butkus Award for his excellence. Then, the Niners drafted him and thought that they had a building block for the future. But Foster’s disgraceful legal problems cost him a spot on the roster.
After a cocktail of criminal offenses including weapons charges and domestic violence allegations, San Francisco kicked him off the team. This seriously damaged his career and Foster failed to recapture his previous form. He joined the Washington Football but team but spent the majority of two seasons on injured reserve. This came after he tore knee ligaments.
A Super Bowl champion in 2020 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brown underwent an incredible redemption. Many NFL fans wrote his career off after sexual assault allegations put his career on hold. But first Brown had a nightmare with the Oakland Raiders. A poor relationship with the coaching staff meant that he departed without playing a game for the franchise.
Then he made a single appearance for the Patriots before the sexual assault allegations broke. However, he escaped a conviction because the statute of limitations had expired. Controversially, Brown returned to the NFL with Tampa Bay and helped to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He’s still a polarizing figure because of the allegations and his past personal conduct.
One of the strangest sports stories of 2021 emerged when the UFC cut Azaiter from their roster. They kicked him out of their bubble in Abu Dhabi after he broke their health regulations. The Moroccan fighter removed his wristband and clambered down multiple balconies in his hotel to give a rucksack to an outsider. However, the UFC went back on their decision a few weeks later.
They decided to give him another chance because Azaiter is personal friends with the King of Morocco. The UFC is hoping to make in-roads in Africa and see Azaiter as a star. There is little doubt that an average American fighter would not have received the same opportunity. It’s also believed that the rucksack contained a bunch of potatoes. It was bizarre but hilarious.
Not many people were familiar with Serbian star Katai before his girlfriend made him famous. However, the L.A. Galaxy midfielder didn’t make the headlines for a good reason. The Galaxy kicked him off their team after his girlfriend made several offensive posts on Instagram. These posts came back to bite Katai because they tarnished the franchise.
The posts came during the civil rights protests in 2020. His girlfriend wrote ‘shoot those cattle’ in reference to the protestors in New York. Katai condemned his girlfriend’s words in an effort to limit the damage but it was too late. The Galaxy had a no-tolerance approach and bowed to fan pressure. Finally, Katai departed for his native Serbia, where he joined Red Star Belgrade.
The U.S. sprinter broke the internet when she tested positive for marijuana a month before the Tokyo Olympics. Experts expected Richardson to be a medal contender but she received a suspension after taking a banned substance. She revealed that she smoked cannabis after her mother’s death but didn’t plead for clemency. However, there was still a chance for her to attend the Games.
Richardson’s ban meant that she was unable to participate in individual races. But the ban expired before the relay races. Many fans expected the relay team to select her. In the end, U.S.A. Track and Field decided not to pick her because they didn’t think it was fair on other athletes. While many people agree that marijuana shouldn’t be on the banned list, there’s no doubt that Richardson’s choice cost her.
Leonard is an unexceptional NBA player who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers. In 2020, he joined the Miami Heat where he made headlines for the first time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for a good reason because the power forward ruined his career. After just three games of his second season, the Heat suspended him because of a gaming session.
The Heat player was participating in a livestream video game session when he made an extremely bad choice. His use of an anti-Semitic slur came back to haunt him because Miami kicked him off their roster. Furthermore, the NBA sanctioned him too. Eventually, Oklahoma traded for him but only because they needed a salary filler. In sum, one sentence shattered his prospects.
It’s easy to forget the time that Tebow joined the Philadelphia Eagles. For some reason, they decided that four bad quarterbacks were better than one decent one. Tebow had a strong start to his career with the Denver Broncos but his limitations exposed him. Finally, Tebowmania ended with a whimper. From there, Tebow went to the New England Patriots but didn’t make their roster.
It looked like he had a better chance with the Eagles because he played in multiple practice games for the franchise. Tebow actually performed better than fans expected throughout the preseason. He became more confident with each game and Coach Chip Kelly admitted that the quarterback improved. In the end, it wasn’t enough for them to hand him a contract and they kicked him out.
Masvidal became one of the UFC’s biggest stars in 2019 after beating the likes of Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. This late-career renaissance brought him into the public spotlight and also into conflict with his own team member. He trained with fellow UFC fighter, Colby Covington at American Top Team in Florida. But the gym kicked them both out after they had a gym brawl.
Gym founder Dan Lambert warned the pair that their rivalry was unacceptable. Lambert said that they can only fight if it’s an official bout. Finally, he allowed Masvidal to return to ATT but Covington departed for pastures new. Since then, the former friends regularly feud online and are two of the biggest personalities in the division. Maybe one day their paths will cross again.
The Atlanta Falcons had the most exciting quarterback in the NFL in the form of Vick. He redefined the role and it looked like he was going to become the league’s biggest star. But then a major scandal erupted when it emerged that he was the leader of a dog-fighting ring. This rocked the NFL and the Falcons because he was such a high-profile figure. The cruelty was horrific.
In the end, Vick received a jail sentence and obviously, the Falcons kicked him off the team. It wasn’t the end of his career because he returned to the NFL after his release. The Philadelphia Eagles were prepared to give him a second chance because they thought his talents were too good to turn down. He played well for them before innocuous spells with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh.
Anelka played for half of the teams in Europe before finally retiring from soccer. The French star was an excellent striker but had a volatile personality. He was also prone to making poor decisions. One of these came when he played for West Brom in 2014. He scored two goals in a game but that wasn’t why he received a lot of attention. No, it was because of a hand signal he made called the ‘quenelle.’
A French comedian, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala created the gesture and intended it to be anti-semitic. Essentially a downward salute, Anelka performed the ‘quenelle’ in solidarity with the comedian. The F.A. hit Anelka with a suspension because of the anti-semitic nature of the salute. But things became worse for him when West Brom kicked him off the team for gross misconduct.
NFL franchises are taking an increasingly tough stance against domestic violence offenders. In 2021, they kicked their cornerback, Gladney, off their roster after a Texan court indicted him on multiple domestic violence charges. The shocking affidavit revealed that Gladney allegedly kicked and choked a woman against a vehicle. This was obviously a disgusting thing to do and also a bad move for his career.
He signed an $11 million deal in 2020 but now his entire career is in jeopardy. This indiction basically made him untouchable because of the risk of a criminal conviction. It’s insane that young athletes continue to make such bad decisions but that’s the reality of today. The evidence was damning and also revealed that Gladney held the woman against her will for several hours.
Evra was one of the best left-backs in the world when he played for Manchester United. The French star won the Champion’s League as well as five Premier League titles with the Red Devils. After departing England, he played for Juventus in Italy. Then he had a short spell with Marseille in France. However, this contract came to an abrupt end after a crazy incident in 2017.
The defender was warming up before a game when a fan began antagonizing him. Whatever the supporter said, it infuriated Evra who responded by kicking him. It was insane because Evra was a consummate professional and a veteran of the sport. Marseille kicked him off the team and UEFA hit him with a lengthy suspension. Many players envied Evra for his attack because they receive similar abuse every game.
The Carolina Panthers kicked Hardy off their roster in 2014 after he assaulted his girlfriend. This incident disgusted the entire NFL fanbase because it was so violent and brutal. She alleged that he threatened to kill her and even threw her into a pile of guns. A court convicted Hardy of his crimes after finding him guilty. But they dropped the charges after his ex-girlfriend failed to testify during the appeal.
This wasn’t the end of Hardy’s NFL career because he moved on to a short spell with the Dallas Cowboys. However, he decided to transition to MMA and joined the UFC. The promotion attempted to make him a star because of his name recognition but fans despised him. Hardy’s past has irrevocably damaged his image. That’s why the Panthers didn’t want him anymore.