Barton is one of the most controversial English soccer players ever. The dynamic athlete infamously assaulted a teammate on the training field. He also assaulted a man during a night out in Liverpool. This is just a small taste of his seemingly endless list of offenses.
However, Barton’s longest suspension came in 2017 when the F.A. found him guilty of violating their betting rules. They sidelined him for 18 months and essentially ended his playing career. It was a harsh punishment but his record was stacked against him (via Bleacher Report).
Peterson is one of the NFL’s greatest running backs ever. But brilliance on the playing field doesn’t mean that somebody is a good person in real life. The former Vikings star’s parenting methods attracted negative attention in 2014. This came after he lashed his son with a switch as a punishment.
The seedy star narrowly avoided prison time but the NFL suspended him for the remainder of the season. He also attended community service because it was a terrible thing to do. Peterson had a tough upbringing and saw nothing wrong with his actions at the time (via NFL.com).
Keane is one of the most interesting cases on this list because of the nature of his suspension. He savagely tackled Alf-Inge Haaland in 2001 and left the City midfielder in a heap on the floor. The referee immediately sent him off but that wasn’t the end of the affair (via SportBible).
The Irishman released his autobiography the following season and polarized the masses. He suggested that his tackle on Haaland was a premeditated assault because the Norwegian laughed at him several years earlier. Then, the Premier League suspended the seedy superstar for another five games.
Alvarez is one of the most marketable and famous athletes on the planet. The Mexican boxer won titles in multiple weight classes but controversy stained him in 2018. He failed a drug test after he tested positive for Clenbuterol, an anabolic steroid. This resulted in a six-month ban for the seedy superstar.
His team claimed that contaminated Mexican meat was responsible. But Canelo’s opponents cried foul and boxing fans claimed that he was a cheat. Alvarez rebounded from the incident and did a great job of brushing it under the table. But it happened and there is no denying that fact (via Mirror).
Some soccer players party too hard and pay the consequences of their actions. Mutu was a great example because he ruined his Premier League career. Chelsea thought that they had made a coup when they signed the Romanian. But then he tested positive for cocaine and received a massive suspension (via Daily Star).
Chelsea fired him because he violated the terms of his contract. They also sued their former player for millions of dollars in damages. Mutu also received another suspension during his time in Italy with Fiorentina. The seedy superstar tested positive for drugs again because he couldn’t stay clean.
Some NFL players live on the edge and are always a moment from violence. Garrett is one of the best defensive players in the league and a key figure for the Cleveland Browns. But he produced a shocking moment in 2019 when he hit Mason Rudolph with the latter’s helmet.
The Browns played the Steelers when the stunning incident occurred. Rudolph’s helmet came off before the pair went head-to-head. Then Garrett picked it up and swung it at the Pittsburgh quarterback’s face. Garrett was one of several players who received suspensions for their behavior (via TribLive).
Sharapova spent 11 years as the most lucrative female athlete on the planet. The Russian star won every Major and sealed her status as one of the greatest tennis players ever. But she tarnished her legacy in 2016 when it emerged that she had failed a drug test.
This was very disappointing because of her status in the sport. It instantly generated questions about her achievements and the authenticity of her wins. Unfortunately, drug test failures create doubt but that’s something a seedy athlete lives with it (via The Guardian).
Simon gained a reputation for being one of the NHL’s most controversial athletes. The seedy superstar tended toward violence and infamously drew a 30-game suspension. This came after he savagely stood on Jarko Ruuko’s ankle with his skate in 2007.
It was a disgusting incident but there was more to it than met the eye. Later, Simon checked himself into rehab because of a battle with alcohol. Simon also assaulted a Rangers player with his stick earlier that year. In short, he wasn’t a figure to mess with (via NHL.com).
Greenwood was one of England’s most exciting prospects as well as the future of Manchester United’s forward line. However, it all came crashing to a halt when his girlfriend revealed the extent of his domestic violence. She claimed that he even left her fearing for her life (via Express).
The condemnation was instantaneous as legal proceedings began against him. Meanwhile, United suspended the player pending the outcome of the investigation. It was shocking because no woman should have to deal with this type of behavior. Furthermore, it was a terrible waste of potential on his part.
Dillashaw was on top of the world before it came falling around him. He won plaudits for his science-based approach to fight preparation but soon became a villain. That’s because the former bantamweight champion failed a drug test after a defeat to Henry Cejudo in 2019 (via MMA Junkie).
EPO is a PED that enhances endurance. Dillashaw was unlucky because testers often don’t check for this substance but they detected it this time. USADA suspended him for two years after he violated their drug policy. The seedy superstar returned as one of the UFC’s villains-in-chief.
Manchester City suspended Mendy in 2021 after police arrested the seedy superstar on rape charges. A judge granted him parole but he wasn’t allowed to host guests or consume alcohol. Unsurprisingly, Mendy didn’t impress the judge when he held a house party and found himself behind bars.
Things became worse for the French international when the police charged him with an eighth count of rape. He went from winning the World Cup and the Premier League to becoming a pariah. It’s a shameful case because it’s vile as well as incredibly stupid (via Irish Mirror).
Saunders is an excellent boxer but that doesn’t mean that he’s a nice human being. The Englishman has a history of putting his foot in his mouth and this cost him dearly in 2021. After agreeing on a deal to fight Canelo Alvarez he made an unfortunate video with big consequences (via The Guardian).
He produced a clip where he punched a bag and compared it to beating a woman. The British Boxing Commission promptly suspended his license pending an investigation. Eventually, they allowed him to fight again but the seedy superstar didn’t do his reputation any favors.
Braun received a 65-game suspension after he violated MLB’s anti-drug policies. This wasn’t even the worst part of the situation. He lied about his PED abuse and also received the support of high-profile athletes. These included icons like the Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
Many of these stars disassociated themselves from Braun after the truth emerged. He embarrassed them because they stuck their necks out for the player. It was a shambles and he also experienced a lot of criticism from his fellow professionals (via CNBC).
We already mentioned Gilbert Arenas but what about his dance partner Crittenton? The former Wizards star was even more volatile than his teammate and ended up behind bars. The NBA suspended Crittenton for his role in the locker room gun incident (via ABC News).
However, things took a darker turn for Crittenton because he became a murderer. He notoriously killed Julian Jones and received a 23-year jail term. It was shocking because he took somebody’s life away and destroyed his own life in the process.
Diaz was one of the biggest UFC stars before his suspension in 2015. The Stockton native became a cult figure because of his attitude in the cage as well as in real life. He fought Anderson Silva and initially lost the bout but it became a no-contest after they failed drug tests.
Silva tested positive for steroids while Diaz had marijuana in his system. Bizarrely and controversially, Diaz received a longer ban than Silva despite the latter using PEDs. It cost him some of the best years of his career in a decision that many fans still resent (via Sportskeeda).
Baker’s case is interesting because he received a six-game suspension in 2022. This came after he took PEDs ahead of the new season. It was a dumb move and dangerous for his opponents. But the craziest aspect is that he got the same ban as Deshaun Watson.
Watson settled cases with multiple women after he allegedly touched them inappropriately and forced them to perform sexual acts. Many people thought that it was outrageous that he had the same punishment as Baker. Baker indeed broke the rules but it was less disgusting than Watson’s case (via USA Today).
It shouldn’t have been a surprise when Jones tested positive for PEDs after the Sydney Olympics. The American athlete had a She-Hulk physique during the competition. However, it was a massive blow to women around the world because they held her up as a role model.
The BALCO scandal uncovered the truth about Jones and several other high-profile athletes. Jones even spent time behind bars after she lied to federal agents during the investigation. The seedy superstar betrayed the trust of all her fans and brought athletics into disrepute (via NPR).
Roethlisberger is one of the Steelers’ best-ever quarterbacks. However, opposition NFL fans loath him because of the way he treated women. The QB had several sexual assault scandals and found law enforcement breathing down his neck (via CBS Sports).
The NFL also suspended him because of one of the incidents. It’s terrible that some high-profile athletes abuse their position because they think they’re above the law. However, everybody knows that this is the type of person he is. He may be rich but that doesn’t mean he’s a good person.
Drink driving is always a terrible idea because of the potential consequences. Tragically Brent discovered this the hard way when he accidentally killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown. The Cowboys DL enjoyed a night on a town and couldn’t recollect how much he drank before sitting in the driver’s seat.
He received jail time as well as 10 years of probation. Meanwhile, the NFL hit him with a suspension to compound his misery. Brent knew that he had to live with his actions and that opposition teams wouldn’t forget. It’s a terrible story that shows that nobody is untouchable (via Sportscasting).
Few players had the same impact on a franchise as Vick. The former Falcons quarterback became the face of the franchise and also changed the perspective of his position. His ability to rush was unlike anything that NFL fans saw before but his legacy imploded (via The Spun).
That’s because an FBI investigation uncovered that Vick was the leader of a dogfighting ring. He found himself in jail for a couple of years before a return to the NFL. The Eagles decided it was worth granting him a second chance and he re-established himself in the league.
Brady is one of the most famous athletes on the planet. He’s also the greatest NFL quarterback ever but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t fallen foul of the rules. He infamously suffered a four-game ban as a result of the DeflateGate scandal in 2015 (via CBS Sports).
The Patriots also paid a $1 million fine after the incident that saw them cheat again. However, Brady had the last laugh because he won the NFL MVP award after his return. But it was catnip to all of the New England haters out there who loathed the team with a passion.
Kyrgios is one of the most talented players of his era but the Australian invites controversy like it’s going out of fashion. He regularly throws tantrums when things don’t go his way and he doesn’t care what people think about him. Some fans appreciate his authenticity but others consider him to be petulant and arrogant.
In 2016, he infamously walked off the court in Shanghai and argued with a fan. The seedy superstar received a three-month suspension from competition. The ITF also hit him with a significant fine for his troubles. He never learned his lesson despite the financial sting (via Daily Express).
Ridley became a major talking point in 2022 when the NFL suspended him for the entire season. This was controversial because the Atlanta star only gambled $1500. But the wideout made the mistake of creating spreads that included Falcons games.
Some fans accused the NFL of giving him a disproportionate punishment. They compared his suspension to DeShaun Watson’s and pointed out that the NFL encouraged gambling. Unfortunately, this didn’t help Ridley who fell victim to the league’s zero-tolerance policy (via ESPN).
Johnson became an overnight superstar in Canada when he won gold medals at the L.A. Olympics. However, the seedy superstar destroyed his reputation and legacy when he failed a drug test. Instantly, he broke his fans’ hearts and received a lengthy suspension.
The IOC also stripped him of his wins because he cheated his way to victory. Global humiliation would usually be a good lesson but it didn’t teach Johnson anything. He took PEDs again later when he returned from his suspension. In the end, he became a parody figure of disgust and sympathy (via The Guardian).
Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports on the planet. It’s arguably more brutal than MMA because athletes receive more head trauma. That’s why it’s terrible to cheat because it could cause serious long-term damage to an opponent. But Margarito didn’t care and covered his wraps with Plaster of Paris.
The substance hardens when it makes contact with moisture and becomes solid. Fortunately, the California Athletic Commission detected the anomaly before his bout against Shane Mosley. Margarito lost his boxing license and it was as much as the seedy superstar deserved (via SB Nation).
Unfortunately, many NFL players think that they are above the law because of their success. This creates a sense of entitlement that causes many of them to act inappropriately. That’s what happened in Winston’s situation when he played for the Buccaneers (via NFL.com).
He was in an Uber with a female driver when he attempted to hit on her. She didn’t respond well to his flirting and then he sexually groped her. She pressed charges against him and an NFL investigation began too. In the end, the league hit the quarterback with a three-game suspension.
McGregor became the UFC’s first true superstar when he broke onto the scene in the mid-2010s. The Irishman claimed two titles on his way to becoming the face of the organization. However, he also had a dark side and infamously suffered a suspension for his role in a post-fight brawl.
The seedy superstar is no stranger to controversy. He once flew his friends to Brooklyn to stage a raid on the Barclay Center in a scandalous event. The Irishman also experienced multiple legal battles about alleged sexual assaults, battery, and driving offenses (via GiveMeSport).
Hargrove found himself as the player at the center of the Bountygate scandal. The Saints star dug a hole for himself because he initially lied about his involvement. It turns out that this is a terrible idea because the truth always emerges. Then the NFL threw the book at him for his conduct.
Furthermore, they made a point of saying that they suspended him for his lies rather than his actions. If he spoke honestly about the team’s dubious policy he may have avoided it. After all, it was the team coaches who came up with the immoral scheme, not the players (via Bleacher Report).
Hardy is another vile athlete who experienced more success in life than he deserved. The seedy superstar was an NFL defensive end with the Carolina Panthers. Then he had a nasty domestic battery case where he threw his girlfriend onto a pile of guns. Suspiciously, she withdrew charges after a court found him guilty.
He briefly played for the Cowboys after a suspension but nobody wanted him anymore. Then he transitioned to MMA and became a full-time professional fighter. Hardy fought in the UFC but didn’t win many fights. Furthermore, fans despised him and condemned the organization for pushing him (via Pro Football Network).
The name “Merle Hapes” may not mean much to modern NFL fans but it lives in infamy. Hapes began his football career with the New York Giants in 1942. After World War II he rejoined the franchise and played in the 1946 NFC Championship Game. But that’s where it went wrong for the seedy superstar quarterback.
The Giants played the Bears in the infamous game that rocked the sport to the core. Hapes and Bears quarterback Frank Filchock accepted bribes to fix the game. In the end, the truth emerged and Hapes received a lifetime ban from playing in the U.S. He spent the remainder of his career in Canada (via Vice).
Jones became the youngest UFC champion in history when he claimed the light heavyweight title for the first time. It appeared as though mainstream stardom was an inevitability but it never materialized. That’s because Jones is a self-destructive person who can’t stay out of trouble (via N.Y. Post).
In recent years Jones committed several PED violations and suffered suspensions as a result. However, the worst case was when he committed a DUI offense and drove into a pregnant woman’s vehicle. He abandoned the scene in a terrible display of humanity and received intense condemnation.
Russia operated one of the most ludicrous state-sponsored doping schemes in history. The ICARUS documentary revealed the extent of this insane operation that saw secret service agents and scientists work together. This was mass doing on a scale that the world had never seen.
The IOC responded by banning Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics as well as the 2022 Tokyo Olympics. However, they allowed Russian athletes to compete under a neutral banner in a pointless gesture. Shockingly, this decision went ahead (via Yahoo!).
This seedy superstar suffered a massive suspension because he used a lot of drugs. There’s nothing wrong with partying but it’s not wise for a professional athlete to load up on recreational substances. Andersen lost two years of his career and spent time in rehab as he tried to clean up (via ESPN).
The bright side is that he returned to basketball and didn’t break the rules again. He even won a ring with the Miami Heat in 2013. The “Birdman” became a cult hero because of his exciting style and his distinctive tattoos. Unlike many athletes on this list, he replenished his image.
Rice changed the landscape of the NFL but not for a good reason. The former running back won a Super Bowl with the Ravens but that’s not why he’s on this list. He viciously assaulted his fiancee and dragged her unconscious body from an elevator (via Baltimore Sun).
However, the NFL initially suspended him for just two games before they realized the error of their ways. Then they slammed him with an indefinite punishment. When they declared he could play again it was too late because nobody wanted to tarnish their brand by signing him.
Watson received a six-game ban in 2022 after a series of alleged sexual assaults against masseuses. This shocked many people because they felt that he deserved a longer suspension. Dozens of women came forward and accused the quarterback of inappropriately touching them or even worse.
The Browns knew that a ban was likely so they offered him a mega-contract with minimal earnings in his first year. This was also very controversial because they showed no morality with this deal. In the end, it was a sordid affair that sums up the state of the NFL today (via Fox News).