Controversies are and will be everywhere, from the silver screen to politics, from industry to the industrialists. Even the sports world is not out of the box. Many fans believe that their favorite sports star came out of god’s hand with a superior personality and monk-like character.
But, athletes are far from superhuman and are often prone to give in to excess and temptation, just as much as everybody else. From sex scandals to drugs to just outright bad sportsmanship, scandals put the career of any sports star in jeopardy. And here is the list of 10 Most Controversial Athletes of All Time.
10 Most Controversial Athletes of All Time
10. Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is “the greatest baseball player who ever lived” according to The New York Times. But that title has been tainted by Bonds’ steroid scandals which cast a shadow over his genuine achievements. The New Yorker also described Bonds as defensive and somewhat unapologetic for his perceived misdeeds. He was also accused of lying under oath about his steroid use and sentenced trial from the court. For this incident, he was marked as the biggest villain during “steroid era” of Major League Baseball. He won three National League MVP Awards, eight Golden Glove Awards and 445 career home runs by age 35, while he stole an average of 34 bases per year in his first 13 seasons. But it is tragic that the records set by Bonds will be forever tainted.
9. Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt, also known as “The Intimidator” and “The Man in Black” is a famous NASCAR star. The seven-time NASCAR champion won 76 career races, many of them involving a move in which he would use his car to nudge or spin another car out of the way. Earnhardt’s aggressive driving and cruel tactics to bang his opponent’s car polarized millions of race fans in the 1980s and 1990s as NASCAR exploded in popularity. Earnhardt spun out race leader Terry Labonte on the final lap of a race at Bristol Motor Speedway where Labonte smashed into the wall, and Earnhardt won in 1999. But, because of this cruel incident, a shower of debris from 100,000-plus fans was brought at the track. Later, Earnhardt explained he didn’t mean to smash Labonte, but “I just wanted to rattle his cage.” But he remains a beloved figure after his horrible death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
8. Michael Vick
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was embroiled in a dogfighting scandal that led to him being sentenced to 23 months in prison because of the cruel and tortuous crimes he committed against the dogs he fought for money. A 19-page indictment alleged that, “He attended fights and paid off bets when his dogs lost. He was also involved in the executions of dogs that did not perform well.” But the way he killed the dogs out of frustration of losing the fight, like drowning, electrocutions, and other types of slow and painful deaths, made Vick’s operation sound more like a horror movie than real life. President Obama himself praised the Eagles for giving Vick a second chance when he was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles as quarterback after serving his term with 21 months in prison and two under house arrest.