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).