Elite athletes appear to have perfect lives because they get paid lots of cash to do what they love every day. But unfortunately, some of them are garbage human beings who commit terrible acts. Their franchises and leagues have suspended them to punish them for their vile deeds. These controversies rocked the world of sports.
Today, we’ll look at some of the most disgusting actions that sports stars committed. Most of them returned to action after serving their penalties. However, some of them served time in jail or became public enemies. Check out the list via The Sportster.
30. Vontaze Burfict
Unlike other players on this list, Burfict makes this list for on-field reasons. The former Raiders linebacker is one of the dirtiest players ever to step onto a football field. The NFL suspended him numerous times because of his violent play against rival athletes (via Yahoo Sports). He brutalized other players and seemingly had no regard for their well-being.
He also became notorious because of his brutal late hits. Burfict infamously knocked out Antonio Brown in a playoff game. But this wasn’t an isolated incident because he has had an insane number of suspensions. He was a good player but he lived on the edge.
Nobody likes domestic abusers, but sadly many of them feature on this list. Reed is a former NBA star but he plays in Europe now. After a domestic abuse scandal, he left the league forever. The NBA suspended him for six games after an incident in 2017. He assaulted his wife after she demanded a divorce from him. It’s hardly a surprise that she wanted to leave him.
This made Reed incredibly undesirable because no franchise wanted him. The Pistons traded him to Chicago but the Bulls swiftly waived him. Then he went to Greece and played for Olympiacos. One idiotic decision changed the course of his career and ruined his prospects (via Sports Illustrated).
Saunders is one of the best British boxers of the past decade but he’s also controversial. The U.K. star doesn’t appear to have a filter and says many unsavory things. The British Board of Boxing Control suspended him in 2020 because of an online video (via The Guardian).
In the footage, Saunders gave his viewers advice on how to beat their wives. He compared women to punchbags and proceeded to unleash a beating. It was extremely distasteful but Saunders claimed he was only joking. Finally, they reinstated him before he fought Canelo Alvarez, who inflicted a brutal beating on him. We can call it karma because he had it coming.
Zverev is one of the most exciting tennis players on the planet. But the young German also has a vicious temper as a hapless umpire discovered. He played at the Mexican Open in 2022 when it all went wrong. The umpire cited him for a violation but Zverev reacted badly (via Yahoo Sports). Nobody can justify assaulting an official because of a controversial decision.
He lashed out and whacked the umpire’s stool with his racquet. This caused it to break and the tournament kicked him out. They hit him with a fine and the ATP suspended him for eight weeks. It was embarrassing for him because there was no justifying that reaction.
Nurmagomedov is arguably the greatest UFC lightweight ever. The Russian fighter had a dominant wrestling base that overwhelmed his opponents. He also had an intense rivalry with Conor McGregor. In 2018, he defeated the Irishman but the fight didn’t end at the bell.
The Eagle climbed over the fence and jumped on McGregor’s team. This instigated a massive and chaotic brawl that shamed the sport. Afterward, the Nevada Athletic Commission suspended him for nine months. They also fined him half a million dollars (via Global News). Several other brawls broke out in the arena because of the high tension.
Elliot is one of the top running backs in the NFL. But he’s also a questionable human being because of his links to domestic violence. The NFL suspended him for six games without pay because of his actions toward his former girlfriend. She alleged that he abused her for five days before his 21st birthday.
An NFL letter stated that the Cowboys’ star used physical force on the woman and left marks on her body. It’s shameful that any man would do such a thing. But for a gigantic football player to harm a female is a new low. Sadly, many of them have done this (via Bleacher Report). Somehow many fans were prepared to overlook this.
Mendy is allegedly one of the worst human beings on this list. Manchester City suspended their player in 2021 after police arrested him for alleged rape. A court released him on bail but he went to jail after he violated the conditions. The World Cup winner hosted a party when he wasn’t supposed to.
The soccer star went to prison for months before his court case continued. Meanwhile, City continues to place him on leave without pay. Mendy faces nine charges of rape and sexual assault with a severe prison penalty. The police confiscated his passport because he’s a flight risk (via Marca).
Atlanta selected Hayes in the first round of the 2019 draft before sending him to New Orleans. Since then, Hayes has had an up-and-down career. He’s also been embroiled in several controversies. The most serious of these involved an assault on a police officer.
Law enforcement responded to a domestic abuse incident and tried to intervene. Then Hayes reacted violently and shoved an officer into a wall. This proved that he wasn’t just a terrible person but a moron. The police arrested him and it put him in serious trouble (via TMZ Sports).
Polo isn’t the most famous athlete on this list but he’s still a disgusting person. The Peruvian had a good MLS career with the Portland Timbers. He also went to the 2018 World Cup with his country. Sadly, he’s notorious for abusing his former girlfriend (via Defector). All of his achievements mean nothing to his former fans now.
MLS suspended him after the news of a police investigation broke. Then the Timbers fired him because he brought the franchise into disrepute. But there was a major scandal when it emerged that Portland tried to pay his victim not to press charges.
Holmes is a former Super Bowl MVP but that doesn’t make him a good person. Perhaps playing with Ben Roethlisberger had a bad influence on him. That’s because he treats women terribly and even faced legal action. Meanwhile, he remained a role model for children.
That is one of the most difficult aspects for parents because they can’t stop them from watching. They don’t want domestic abusers to be famous because it sets an appalling example. Holmes is just one of many superstars who behaved disgustingly (via Vice).
Mitrione is a former UFC heavyweight fighter. However, the promotion suspended him in 2013 after his disgusting comments about Fallon Fox. He insulted the transgender MMA fighter in a despicable way. The UFC claimed that he violated their code of conduct.
Several high-profile figures called out Fox including Joe Rogan. The popular commentator said that she presented a danger to cisgender women. But he made it clear that his criticism wasn’t personal toward Fox. On the other hand, Mitrione made disgraceful comments (via Bleacher Report).
Johnson was a talented NFL star but he was a controversial figure. His 2012 domestic battery arrest tainted his career. The league suspended him for his actions but he resumed his career after. However, Ochocinco didn’t express remorse and resented the punishment.
In 2020, he tweeted that the three-second incident damaged his career prospects. This was disgraceful because he allegedly abused Evelyn Lozada on multiple occasions. Lozada made a brave statement on Instagram where she told survivors to continue spreading their truth (via E! News).
Sigurdsson is one of Iceland’s greatest-ever soccer players. He enjoyed a great career at a high level with Spurs and Everton in the Premier League. However, this came crashing down in 2021 after police arrested him on alleged child molestation charges.
The midfielder inexplicably disappeared from Everton’s roster before the news broke. Then it became clear that the club suspended him pending the result of the investigation. An Icelandic news source confirmed that he was facing criminal charges for the disgusting acts (via GM Sports).
Larson is one of the top NASCAR drivers right now. However, he also created a massive controversy in 2020 after an online race went wrong. Larson didn’t realize that his microphone was live when he dropped a racial slur. NASCAR is notorious for racial divisions but they instantly suspended him.
Meanwhile, his team fired him immediately. Larson apologized for his words and made a return to racing with Hendrick Motorsports. He sought to achieve redemption but the question is whether he was just sorry that people heard him (via USA Today).
The NFL loves physical, borderline psychotic linebackers and Merriman is another one. He spent the bulk of his career with the Chargers before he retired with the Bills. But he is a polarizing figure off the field. Somehow he continues to forge a media career despite a history of domestic violence.
In 2009, he choked his ex-girlfriend Tia Tequila and forcibly restrained her in his house. San Diego suspended him for that incident. Then there was an appalling drug-related incident in 2017. Allegedly, he put the drug in Kimberley Fattornini’s drink before she died (via Oklahoman).
Former UFC fighter Perry went through a lot of issues in 2020. Disgusting footage emerged of the Floridian knocking out an older man in a Texas restaurant after the pair had a verbal dispute. Finally, an emotional Perry ended the dispute with his fists (via Daily Mail).
It was disgraceful because he was a trained fighter against another vulnerable person. This wasn’t a fair fight because of his youth and training. In the end, the UFC suspended him because they wanted him to seek treatment. In 2022, he became a bare-knuckle boxer, which will not help his brain health.
Washington joins the ranks of disgusting linebackers whose teams suspended them. Maybe they take too much head trauma and it makes them crazy. But that isn’t an excuse because they don’t have to play football. Meanwhile, their victims live with the consequences.
He assaulted his girlfriend in 2013 and she fell over, breaking her collarbone. First, the Cardinals suspended him but they released him after a court placed him on probation. Nobody else wanted to hire him after this because he would have damaged their image (via Bleacher Report).
Vazquez is one of the most deplorable athletes on this list. The Venezuelan appeared to be a future Hall of Famer but it came to a sickening end. A court sentenced him to four years in prison after he sexually abused a 13-year-old girl. His name instantly became notorious (via Trib Live).
He also possessed child pornography after the victim sent him photographs. Vazquez maintained the relationship for two years as he groomed the girl. Sadly, she also lives with the consequences of his actions. She claims that she suffers from anxiety and depression after he stole her innocence.
Hardy made the Pro Bowl in 2013 when he played for the Carolina Panthers. It looked like he was on course for a decent professional career but then the police arrested him. This was another horrible domestic abuse case. He battered his girlfriend before throwing her onto a pile of guns. It’s a surreal situation but it rocked her world.
His name instantly became dirt in the NFL and they suspended him. He received a second chance in Dallas but the franchise gave up on him. Hardy trained in MMA and joined the UFC but the fans reviled him. They booed him every time he featured until finally, the promotion cut him (via Deadspin).
Greenwood was one of the most exciting English soccer players on the planet. The young man broke out as Manchester United’s next hope. But his star faded in an instant when police arrested him on rape and assault charges. United instantly suspended him pending an investigation.
His alleged victim rejected his sexual advances but he forced himself on her. Greenwood also allegedly threatened to kill her if she didn’t accept. It was a shocking story because of Greenwood’s profile and popularity. This was horrible for his alleged victim (via Daily Express).
Vick was one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL in 2007. He was the first black QB to become the first overall pick and redefined the position with the Falcons. But then a major scandal erupted when federal law enforcement arrested him.
The signal-caller was also the ringleader of a dog-fighting ring. Horrendous details emerged about his cruelty toward animals and he went to jail. Meanwhile, the NFL suspended him. He rehabilitated his career after his release and joined the Eagles (via Marca).
Pulev is one of Europe’s most recognizable heavyweight boxers. The Bulgarian challenged for titles against the likes of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. However, he fell short in key clashes and never won the glory he sought. But he did achieve notoriety in 2019 when he sexually harassed a reporter.
Jennifer Ravalo interviewed Pulev after a victory but didn’t expect him to violate her. First, he kissed her on the lips without consent while the cameras rolled. He also allegedly groped her buttocks with both hands. The Californian State Atheltic Commission suspended him for his actions (via Time).
Jones remains the youngest UFC champion ever. But perhaps the fame went to his head because he continues to go off the rails. He constantly creates problems for himself and the UFC suspended him multiple times. There were multiple drug test failures but the worst incident occurred in 2014.
That’s when he crashed his vehicle into a pregnant woman before fleeing the scene. It was a cowardly act and he received global condemnation. It also left the UFC with no choice but to act and they stripped him of his title. He also faced legal consequences because of his criminal actions (via N.Y. Post).
Carragher spent his entire career with Liverpool as a no-nonsense defender. Then he left the soccer field and became a T.V. analyst. He quickly won acclaim for his chemistry with former rival Gary Neville. But a notorious incident in 2018 tainted the public’s perception of him (via Sky Sports).
The Liverpudlian was in his car when some fans drove beside him and teased him about his team’s result. Carragher responded by spitting in the direction of a 14-year-old girl in the passenger seat. Sky suspended him for the rest of the season but his victim pleaded on his behalf because he showed genuine remorse.
Peterson was one of the best running backs ever. But he also committed the unforgivable act of domestic violence. There’s no excusing it, regardless of the individual’s status. This wasn’t even an isolated incident because he abused his son and his wife. Peterson proved that he’s a terrible person.
First, the Vikings suspended him because he consistently beat his child with a wooden switch. Then, police arrested him in 2022 for an act of domestic violence. It’s a shame that such a great player is a terrible person. All those Pro Bowl appearances mean nothing (via NBC News).
McGregor is the most famous MMA fighter on the planet. But he’s a polarizing figure because of his dubious life choices. He has more driving citations than title defenses and has been involved in unsavory incidents. The N.A.C. suspended him for his role in the Khabib Nurmagomedov brawl in 2018.
Furthermore, he had problems with the law because of sexual assault allegations. McGregor paid off multiple lawsuits because of his alleged behavior. He constantly becomes involved in unnecessary situations that cost him thousands of dollars. In 2021, he even attempted to assault Machine Gun Kelly (via G.Q.)
Johnson was a dynamic English winger. After playing for Manchester City, he moved to Sunderland where he became a key player. However, his career crashed to a halt when police arrested him. This came after he groomed a 14-year-old girl (via Mirror). It rocked the soccer world because of his profile.
He admitted that he kissed the underage girl and engaged in sexual activity. He manipulated her on Whatsapp before committing the sickening act. First, Sunderland suspended him while the investigation was ongoing. Then, they fired him for being such a disgraceful human being.
Zouma is a French international soccer player. He also plays for West Ham in the Premier League. In 2022, he disgusted the world when alarming video footage emerged. The clip showed Zouma kicking his cat like a football. Meanwhile, his brother and his son watched and laughed.
Animal rights groups condemned the soccer star and he apologized. Meanwhile, the Premier League suspended him for a game. However, his club failed to take any further action against him. It was shameful because the animal couldn’t defend itself (via Mirror).
Rice was an elite running back for the Baltimore Ravens. He won a Super Bowl with the franchise and earned three Pro Bowl appearances. However, fans don’t remember him for his magic on the field. It’s his brutal antics toward his girlfriend that live in infamy (via CNN). It should have been different because he was a sensational athlete.
This was a major scandal at the time and the NFL attracted controversy for how it handled it. In the end, they suspended him indefinitely. After his suspension was lifted nobody wanted to hire him because of his actions. Remember, he dragged his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator.
MLB suspended Bauer for a record amount of time because of his sexual assault allegations. Bauer denies any involvement in sexual violence or domestic assault. It will also cost him about $60 million in salary. However, the damage to his reputation is worth even more.
Bauer allegedly assaulted three women in separate incidents. He appealed because he refuses to admit that he did it. It remains to be seen if his appeal is successful. But it’s difficult to see a positive outcome for him (via Marca). If the allegations are true then his career is over.