Despite their hero-Esque statuses, sports stars are human and they make mistakes just like everyday people. And also like everyday people, they’re also susceptible to making dumb excuses when things go wrong. It could be losing a key game or perhaps failing a drug test. They occasionally even do things that cause fans to roll their eyes and question their IQs.
Some of these excuses will cause you to laugh because they are so foolish. It’s lucky that these athletes were so talented because most of them might not have thrived in other avenues of life. So today we’re going to take a look at 35 athletes who made sports fans roll their eyes because of dumb excuses. Check out the list below via Pledge Sports.
35. Color Blindness
Vinny Testaverde spent 21 seasons in the NFL as one of the league’s longest-serving quarterbacks. His best period came with the New York Jets but he played for six other franchises. Meanwhile, Testaverde was also a two-time Pro Bowler. However, it wasn’t all good times for the signal-caller. In 1990, he started 15 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but threw a league-high 35 interceptions.
Later, Testaverde claimed that colorblindness was the reason behind his low success rate. However, he wore a total of seven different color shirts throughout his career. Also, he knew who his teammates were and where they should have been on the field for different plays. Time wasn’t kind to this excuse because he proved that colorblindness didn’t affect the remainder of his time in the league.
Alberto Contador was one of the best cyclists of his generation. Of course, this meant that he failed a drug test because all of the best cyclists do this. Why would he be any different? He won multiple Tour De Frances, Giro D’Italias, and Vuelta Espanas in a glittering career. However, he tested positive for clenbuterol in 2010 after the final race of the Tour De France.
As a result, he lost the title and suffered a suspension. Contador claimed that it was a case of contaminated meat. He says that the affected food was brought from Spain to France and that several riders ate it. Furthermore, he said that the UCI said to his face that it was a clear case of food contamination. But this didn’t stop World Cycling from stripping him of all his major titles for that year.
David James was one of the Premier League’s longest-serving goalkeepers. The England international played in the World Cup as well as for teams like Liverpool and Portsmouth. However, a poor run of form in the late ’90s earned him the nickname, ‘Calamity James.’ He shook this off as his career progressed but maintained a reputation for high-profile errors.
In 1997, he was in the running for the England squad but continuous blunders affected his progress. After he conceded three goals in a game for Liverpool against Newcastle, one of the strangest excuses emerged. James claimed that he had spent too much time playing Tekken and Tomb Raider. The goalkeeper pointed the blame at his PlayStation because he was addicted to it.
In 2010 the New York Knicks traveled to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder. It’s a long way to go and lose a game, but the Knicks being the Knicks did exactly this. However, the alleged reason for their lackluster display was one of the strangest excuses in NBA history. It all came down to the hotel where they spent the night. The Skirvin Hotel has a reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in the USA.
The story goes that a maid had an affair with the hotel’s owner. When it was discovered, legend says she jumped out of the window with their baby in her arms. Many of the Knicks players pointed to this reason as to why they lost. They tried to say that they couldn’t sleep because the hotel was haunted. Needless to say, not many people bought this and said it was one of the dumbest excuses ever.
The biggest name in snooker, Ronnie O’Sullivan has over 20 titles to his name. He is a six-time world champion as well as a seven-time Masters champion. However, even this serial winner is prone to off-days. In 1997, the young O’Sullivan participated in the Benson and Hedges trophy. It looked like he was on his way to an easy win against the grizzled veteran Steve Davis, as he took an 8-3 lead.
But then a disaster struck for O’Sullivan. A streaker ran out across the arena and from then on O’Sullivan played terribly. He claimed that the female streaker totally put him off his game as he proceeded to implode dramatically. The snooker legend lost the next seven sets and of course the tournament. No doubt he had probably seen a naked woman before so it was strange that this totally ruined it for him.
Landis looked like he had achieved the greatest moment of his career in 2006. It appeared as though he had won the Tour De France and become the iconic tournament’s third non-American winner. However, he had to go and ruin it all by testing positive for PEDs. This is so typical of cycling which is historically one of the dirtiest sports out there. Meanwhile, Landis had a special excuse saved up for this notorious moment.
He tried to blame his drug test failure on a contaminated bottle of whiskey. First of all, he had won the goodwill of everybody in America. This was because he won the Tour De France with a crumbling hip and became the least likely winner in its history. But then he insulted everybody’s intelligence by trying to pass it off on a Jack Daniels’ binge. In sum, nobody believed him and the authorities stripped him of his title.
In 2019, it looked like ‘Big Baby’ Jarrell Miller had the world at his feet. The undefeated American heavyweight boxer was about to fight the UK’s Anthony Joshua for his titles. However, it fell apart after ‘Big Baby’ failed a drug test. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Anyway, after receiving a six-month reduction in his sentence, Miller was about to get his professional career back on track.
Then the 24-0 up-and-coming star failed another drug test. This time he blamed the violation on sex pills. However, this excuse proved flaccid in the face of the sanctioning commissions. They refused to issue him a license, upheld his suspension, and left him in the boxing wilderness. Let’s hope that at the very least he gave his lady the night of her life because that’s some price to pay.
As the most lucrative individual athlete on the planet, nobody wants to hear about Alvarez failing drug tests. But that’s exactly what he did in 2018. The Mexican superstar took Floyd Mayweather’s mantle as the biggest name in the sport. However, before a key fight with rival Gennady Golovkin, Alvarez tested positive for elevated levels of clenbuterol. Clenbuterol aids weight loss and enhances muscle growth.
However, Mexican meat has a reputation for containing banned substances. UFC title contender Brandon Moreno avoided a suspension after proving this was the case. Meanwhile, WADA advises athletes against consuming Mexican meat. But it’s still a bizarre excuse to hear from one of the world’s most recognizable sports stars. In the end, he won his fight against his Kazakh opponent.
This is another example where meat played an unfortunate role in a player’s career, but not in the way most people expect. Barnes enjoyed a strong 13-year MLB career with the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado Rockies. However, in 2005, he suffered an injury at home and ended his season early after he broke his collarbone.
First, he claimed that he tripped while carrying his groceries, but this wasn’t the truth. Later, Barnes explained the reality of the situation. His teammate, Todd Barnes, gifted him some deer meat and Barnes fell over as he carried it upstairs in his house. It was bizarre that he felt the need to lie about it but he didn’t want to bring his teammate’s name into the situation. Maybe try not eating Bambi next time.
One of the most popular players in the Premier League during his career, Toure was a top defender. Firstly, he was a member of the ‘Invincibles’ with Arsenal. Then he had success with Manchester City and Liverpool. However, during his time with the Citizens, he failed a drug test. This was major news in the soccer world at the time because violations are very rare in the sport.
However, Toure had one of the most unique excuses ever for his failure. He blamed it on his wife’s slimming pills. The hapless Ivorian said that he was struggling to cut down on some pounds before the new season. However, he didn’t realize that these pills contained banned substances. The FA hit him with a six-month ban for his negligence. In the end, he bounced back to continue his career.
Now with the New Orleans Saints, Jameis Winston attracted a lot of controversies prior to the 2015 NFL draft. He fell afoul of the law with one of the most bizarre shoplifting scenarios ever. Winston strolled into a Tallahassee, Florida, supermarket and went to the deli. He picked up some crab legs and was set to enjoy a fine feast. But the problem was that he walked out without paying a dollar for his seafood cuisine.
Obviously, his decision didn’t go over well with the law. They picked him up and asked him to justify his thievery. Winston didn’t throw out any fancy excuses and simply said that he forgot. Cue the eye-rolls. In the end, the court slapped him with a civil citation and sent him on his way. It wasn’t his brightest moment, but he got away with it. Now he’s probably rich enough that he could have bought the supermarket.
Pop icon Jackson is one of the most successful music artists of all-time. Nobody associates him with sports except for former Fulham FC owner Mohammed Al-Fayed, who for some reason, did. Al-Fayed commissioned a statue of Jackson outside the team’s stadium because he was friends with the “King of Pop.” Fans were horrified because it was incredibly kitschy. When you add in Jackson’s sexual assault allegations, it also got messy.
Fulham was dreadful in 2013 and their awful form saw them suffer relegation. The club voted to remove the hideous and pointless statue earlier in the year. Al-Fayed immediately pointed his finger at this and said that the team lost their lucky charm. Or as Al-Fayed said, “A special touch.” This unfortunate choice of words saw the former Harrods’ owner receive even more ridicule.
Firstly, we have to admit that winters are different in Wisconsin. But Detroit enjoys its fair share of snow too. Somebody should have told Ndamukong Suh this before the Lions played the Packers in 2014. He stomped on Aaron Rodgers’ leg but then tried to claim his feet were so numb that he couldn’t feel the difference between the ground and a body part. Not many believed him.
The NFL initially suspended him for Detroit’s next playoff game but changed their minds. Instead, they handed him a $75,000 fine. He got off much lighter than Rodgers, who was lucky not to suffer a broken bone from the monstrous defensive juggernaut. It was dirty from Suh, plain and simple. Luckily he didn’t hurt Rodgers because his next welcome to Wisconsin would have been even colder than his feet.
If you didn’t know about Rose’s coaching history, you’d think that his absence from baseball’s Hall of Fame is a travesty. MLB’s all-time leader in hits won an outrageous number of accolades. The three-time World Series champion led the Cincinnati Reds for three seasons. Furthermore, the 17-time All-Star was a decent manager. But then his betting scandal emerged and ruined his legacy.
Now serving a lifetime ban from baseball, the three-time Gold Glove winner explained his reasons for betting in his autobiography. He said he suffered from a condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. But the problem was that this was a childhood disease and not something that adults get. As justifications go, this one was incredibly weak. It’s a pity that Rose stained his reputation forever.
Spain fell to a surprise 1-0 loss to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup. They were rubbish, but star goalkeeper Iker Casillas had a novel excuse for his own performance. He tried to pin it on his girlfriend Sara Carbonero, who was a reporter at the game. We’re not sure that his teammates appreciated him saying this, but Casillas said Carbonero distracted him too much.
Carbonero was on the sidelines when Casillas let in the only goal of the game. As you can see from the image above, the media star is clearly distracting so this might not be such a bad reason after all. However, in the end, it all ended well for the couple who now have two children together. We’re not quite sure that compensates for losing a massive soccer game on the biggest stage of them all, but that’s life.
We’ve come across many reasons for losing but pointing to the air conditioning as the reason is definitely original. But that’s exactly what Englishman Mervyn King did back in 2003. He faced off against Raymond Van Barneveld in the semifinal of the Embassy World Darts and lost to his Dutch opponent 5-3. However, King wasn’t gracious in defeat and revealed his fury towards the event organizers.
In short, King claimed to throw a ‘light dart’ and that the air-con sent them off course. He asked the officials to turn it off, but they did not. The controversial darts player acted as though they had sent him out to play in Hurricane Katrina. Instead of living with it, he became the object of ridicule. Sometimes you just have to get on with life. Just don’t give stupid reasons when you lose.
Cycling and doping unfortunately go hand-in-hand. The doping brigade found alien red blood cells in Hamilton’s system back in 2003. However, he denied all wrongdoing. Hamilton said that he suffered from a condition called ‘chimerism.’ Incredibly rare, this condition is where an unborn twin passes some of its cells to their sibling. Hamilton said that it belonged to his unborn brother and not him.
At least Hamilton referred to an actual condition, unlike Brian Cushing. But it was so rare that officials totally disregarded this explanation and suspended him anyway. Excuses aside, the US Anti-Doping Agency put him out to pasture for two years. In 2011, Hamilton admitted to doping throughout his career so they were right. You just can’t trust some cyclists to be truthful, unfortunately.
Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful and respected sports’ coaches on the planet. But even he is capable of producing bad excuses when things don’t go his way. The Manchester City manager wins more than he loses. BHe tends to react badly to defeat. Of course, this is the sign of a real winner, but sometimes you just have to laugh at what he says because it’s far too often nonsense.
However, he went on the attack after a penalty shootout victory over Wolves in the Carabao Cup. He said that the ball was garbage and unacceptable for the level of competition. He believed it was too light and that it was impossible for his players to score with it. Considering some of his players learned to play on the streets in bare feet, we’re pretty sure that he could have found other excuses.
Michael Vick was a phenomenal quarterback yet also an intensely flawed human being. However, he isn’t on this list because of anything to do with the whole dogfighting scandal. The former Atlanta Falcons star makes it for another reason. One time when he passed through airport security, they detected a hidden compartment in his water bottle. They could smell marijuana but didn’t find any.
Airport security was still suspicious but let him pass. However, Vick produced one of the most hilarious excuses ever when he claimed that the compartment was there to hide his expensive jewelry when he wasn’t wearing it. To sum up, Vick’s excuse just wasn’t believable for the vast majority of the sports world.
What is it with professional athletes and their apparent short-term memory? We’ve already seen how Jameis Winston ‘forgot’ to pay for crab legs. Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also used this most tenuous of excuses. However, the reason this is higher up the list is that he missed a drug test. When you’re an elite sports star, this is unforgivable.
Ferdinand received an eight-month ban from the sport after he failed to provide a sample to testers. He also paid a $50,000 fine in addition to the suspension. His club was furious because this was rather unprecedented in the league. But the FA wanted to make an example out of the England international and they taught everybody an important lesson. Maybe he should have stuck a sticky note to remind himself.
Cushing spent nine seasons with the Houston Texans. The linebacker is the franchise’s all-time leading tackler, quite the accolade. However, he was stymied by controversy throughout his career. After testing positive for a fertility drug in 2009, he somehow played the season. Furthermore, he even won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. However, the NFL then suspended him for a few games at the start of the next season.
The New Jersey native said he suffered from Overtrained Athlete Syndrome. He explained that this caused hormonal spikes and resulted in a false-positive test. However, if you claim to suffer from some kind of disease, you should at least pick one that’s real. No medical practitioner had ever heard of the condition and essentially said that he made it up. Needless to say, his excuses didn’t reduce his suspension.
Spain didn’t win the 2006 World Cup but they were on the rise. In one game, they bulldozed through Ukraine with a blistering 4-0 win. Their team with the likes of Fernando Torres, Xavi, and David Villa was just too good for the Eastern European side. However, the Ukrainians didn’t see it this way and proceeded to blame their humiliation on noisy frogs. Yes, you read that right.
It’s certainly one of the most unique excuses we’ve come across. Noisy amphibians outside of their hotel in Germany kept them from falling asleep. Then they allegedly agreed to find some frog-hunting apparatus and hunt them. They proceeded to spend most of the night doing this. We’d also like to remind you that the majority of these players were multimillionaires playing in the biggest leagues in Europe.
At least Ricky Williams was honest. The 12-season NFL veteran loved marijuana so much that he fell foul of drug testers on multiple occasions. When he failed a drug test in 2006, someone asked him what had happened. His justification was that he was so high that he forgot about it. You almost have to appreciate that kind of commitment to addiction. But unfortunately, the doping committee didn’t see it that way.
Very few athletes love marijuana as much as Williams does. After the NFL suspended him in 2006, he went North to the Toronto Argonauts instead of sitting on the sidelines. When he eventually returned to the Dolphins, he tested positive for the banned substance again. You would think that he would learn if he actually wanted to play, but he just loved it too much. Still, this is one of the craziest excuses ever.
Israel Adesanya destroyed Paulo Costa with a second-round TKO at 2020’s UFC 253. It was an unbelievable display from the Nigerian-born New Zealand native. However, Brazil’s Costa couldn’t comprehend that ‘The Last Stylebender’ had dissected him. ‘Borrachinha’ proceeded to unleash a host of embarrassing excuses in the weeks that followed that did nothing to improve his status in the eyes of fans.
He first claimed to have suffered an injury before the fight. This is a go-to, get-out clause for fighters when they lose. Needless to say, not many bought this and put it down to sour grapes. Then he tried to act as though Adesanya hadn’t totally destroyed him and continued to call for a rematch that nobody wanted except for him. This proves sometimes you just have to admit defeat and stay quiet.
Former WBO Super-Lightweight champion Linardatou fought and lost against the incredible Katie Taylor in 2019. Taylor won by unanimous decision as she showed far too much skill for her Greek opponent. However, Linardatou didn’t see it that way and condemned the decision. She then unleashed a blitz of excuses to explain why she had lost the fight. The only one that she forgot to admit was that she wasn’t as good as Taylor.
Linardatou labeled Taylor as ‘fake’ and accused judges of protecting her. However, if you’ve seen the fight then you’ll know that the Greek boxer swung like a wild woman and didn’t land many shots. Meanwhile, Taylor’s superior ringcraft and slick combinations were just too much for her. The delusional fighter continued to make excuses relating to judges and wouldn’t accept defeat graciously.
Many people regard Alan Pardew as one of soccer’s great charlatans. The English manager has coached a number of teams but it always ends in tears for those fans. His tenure in charge of Newcastle United ended in a meltdown. After their season threatened to collapse, Pardew came up with one of the best worst excuses ever. In short, he blamed the World Cup. The problem was, however, that it was six months away.
Pardew believed that the World Cup distracted his players and put them off their game. For some reason, he thought they were underperforming instead of trying harder. And still, only three members of the squad knew that they would definitely make their international squads. This just makes his excuses even more ridiculous. It’s easier to blame everybody except yourself.
Patrick was the most successful female driver in the history of Nascar but also notorious for her terrible range of excuses. This didn’t endear her to fans at all but, yet she still wouldn’t stop doing it. One of the worst came at the Brickyard 400 in 2014. There she went on an expletive-laden rant to her teammates. It’s nothing that male drivers don’t do too, but she was arguably a bigger star than most of them so she got more attention.
Nobody wants to hear you moan on about how unlucky you are or listen to you curse at them. Especially in the middle of the race, you should most likely be quiet and focus. In the end, she finished outside the top-10 in the race because she was doing busy ranting and making excuses instead of trying to get back to where she was before.
Italy played Denmark in the opening round of Euro 2004. The contest was one of the drabbest draws in the history of the competition. There would literally be nothing interesting to say about this game if the Italians hadn’t come out with one of the best excuses for the poor performance we’ve encountered. They blamed the texture and thickness of their socks for their terrible display against the Scandinavians.
First, Christian Panucci claimed his socks were rough and uncomfortable. Francesco Totti and Genarro Gattuso joined in. They said that their shoes were too tight and crushed their feet. Perhaps they should have gone to the Milan Fashion Show instead of the European Championships. Stunningly, these Italians didn’t make it out of their group.
Silva is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all-time. After recovering from a gory leg break, he returned to action in late January 2015 against Nick Diaz. Silva won the fight but then tested positive for two banned steroids. In short, this stunned the world but the Brazilian denied knowingly ingesting the substances. Meanwhile, he pointed to his use of sexual enhancement pills as the source of the substances.
He tried to say that these sexual enhancement pills caused him to fail the drug test. The UFC’s anti-doping partner USADA suspended the former middleweight champion for a year after determining that he had ingested contaminated substances. One of the silliest excuses in the sport worked. Furthermore, the commission overturned the fight’s result to a no-contest because Diaz tested positive for marijuana.
Scotland is one of the most consistent teams in world soccer. They’re almost always awful. One of their worst periods in recent history was under manager Gordon Strachan. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after a series of performances. Then Strachan raised eyebrows with one of the dumbest excuses in the history of sports. He claimed that Scottish people had weaker genetics than other nations.
The coach said that only Spain had smaller players than Scotland in Europe. We’re talking about the same Spain who won the previous World Cup and European Championships. In sum, this argument just doesn’t hold up. Pseudoscience doesn’t hide the fact that his leadership and tactics were shambolic. Finally, he departed after losing the support of his nation.
Carroll is a great coach but he produced arguably the worst call in Super Bowl history. In 2015, the Seattle Seahawks were a minute away from beating the New England Patriots. Everybody thought that Russell Wilson was about to hand off to Marshawn Lynch at the one-yard line. Instead, he threw towards Javon Kearse, but Pats rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler pulled off a stunning and dramatic interception.
Carroll tried to justify the play by explaining that the Patriots had their goal line unit on the field. This makes some sense but it still doesn’t excuse one of the most naive attempts we have ever seen. They should either have been more conservative with the ball or just given it to Lynch, who was one of the top backs in the league at the time. In the end, they paid the ultimate price.
Olympic track and field stars are notorious for doping. One of the most disappointing incidents came in 2006 when Gatlin tested positive for tetrahydrogestrinone. Banned substance THG improves your endurance by producing short-term energy when oxygen is short. Obviously, it’s not exactly kosher for a 100m Olympic gold medallist. When he failed a drug test, the sport’s governing body banned Gatlin for four years from the track and field competitions.
However, Gatlin’s coach came out with one of the most ridiculous excuses in the history of humanity. In short, he claimed that a massage therapist rubbed it into the athlete’s body without him knowing. This is about as likely as the Charlotte Hornets winning the NBA championship. Needless to say, he didn’t convince many if anyone with this defense and Gatlin served out his ban. It was a downward moment.
McGregor’s rivalry with Khabib Nurmagamedov was one of the most toxic in the history of combat sports. MMA fans saw a bus attack, multiple arrests, racism, as well as a brawl to top it all off. With all of this in mind, it’s easy to forget that there was actually a sanctioned fight. In the end, Khabib won this convincingly by fourth-round submission. However, ‘The Notorious’ is not one to let things go.
However, the most ridiculous of his excuses came as a comment on Joe Rogan’s Instagram. The podcaster and comedian shared a post relating his excitement about Khabib’s upcoming match against Justin Gaethje. He commented: “Chill bro, I’d a hangover.” ‘The Notorious’ was particularly unhinged before this bout but this is one of the worst excuses that we’ve ever heard.
It was 1996 and Manchester United played Southampton in the Premiership. United went 3-o down before half-time and their legendary manager Sir. Alex Ferguson wasn’t happy. He remarkably blamed their uniforms for negatively affecting their play. Usually ‘The Red Devils’ wore red jerseys with black or white shorts, but this time they had a drab grey away kit.
Ferguson forced his players to change their uniforms during the break. They managed to pull a goal back but still went on to lose. The manager ensured that his team never wore the grey uniform again because he believed that it affected the speed of eye muscle reactions. Actually he may have had a point, but excuses aside, his team was just rubbish against ‘The Saints.’ To the day, this is an iconic moment in league history.
Former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder lost his rematch to Tyson Fury in 2019. Wilder’s cornerman Mark Breland threw in the towel because Fury was battering his fighter. Sometimes you have to admit that the better man won and live to fight another day. But Wilder is unable to accept defeat and has unloaded an assault of excuses including the infamous, ‘My entrance outfit was too heavy.’
The Alabama native actually claimed that his garish 40-pound outfit (see above) weighed so much that it sapped his strength. Later, he released a bizarre, cringe-worthy video on Instagram complete with awful music, where he explained his disgust. He called Breland a traitor and even accused him of poisoning the water. It was just incredibly disappointing from one of the sport’s most inspirational figures.