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).