The 25 Most Shady Characters in Sports

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIDecember 1, 2012

The 25 Most Shady Characters in Sports

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    Some people like them, some people hate them.

    For most sports fans, they provide entertainment value.

    Across all sports, there are some shady characters. Whether it's a coach, a player or a team, there are many who draw the ire of sports fans.

    Here's a look at the 25 most shady characters in all of sports.

25. Carlos Zambrano, MLB

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    Carlos Zambrano's temper is a thing of MLB-lore.

    More like a child throwing a temper-tantrum, Zambrano took it too far in 2011 when he was pitching for the Chicago Cubs.

    Pitching against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 12, 2011, Zambrano gave up five home runs by the middle of the fifth. So how did he respond?

    He threw not one, but two inside pitches at Chipper Jones, with the second one showing clear intent to hit Jones. Luckily, Zambrano was ejected from the game.

    However, it was his reaction afterwards that gets Zambrano thrown on this list.

    After his tantrum, Zambrano cleaned out his locker and told people he would retire. He then left the park and was nowhere to be found.

    Talk about a diva: Zambrano was shady for not only throwing at the Braves' third baseman after giving up five home runs, but he then whined about getting kicked out and said he would retire.

    Walking out on your teammates is not cool.

    Oh well, at least the Cubs were able to trade him away to the Miami Marlins and end the Zambrano era in Chicago.

24. John Terry, FIFA

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    John Terry has been at the center of controversy over the last few years.

    From urinating into beer glasses in 2008 to the extra-marital affair with teammate Wayne Bridge's girlfriend, Terry has done a lot of shady things in his carer.

    But those don't even top the list of his offenses.

    Terry reportedly gave a tour of the team's training ground to journalists.

    Last December, he was secretly filmed by undercover reporters giving unauthorized tours of his team's training ground to journalists posing as businessmen, allegedly in return for £10,000 (or $15,900) cash. Mr. Terry has denied accepting money for the tour.

    Then there's the racial slur he allegedly used against Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.

    Regardless of the truth behind it (he received a four-match ban and a fine), Terry has continuously shown how shady of a character he is.

    When it comes to character, Terry has none. He's as shady as they come in world football.

23. Carmelo Anthony, NBA

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    There's just something about Carmelo Anthony that makes people outside of New York not like him.

    It's hard to dispute that Anthony is one of the best players in the NBA.

    However, his attitude is one of the worst in the league.

    Last year, while Anthony was injured, Jeremy Lin led the New York Knicks to six-straight wins, going from zero to hero overnight.

    While injured, Anthony obviously supported Lin, but once he was back, Anthony expected for things to pick up where they left off when he was injured (Knicks were 8-13 at the time), and they did in a way.

    The Knicks succeeded with Lin running the show, but there was no way that was going to happen with Anthony back on the floor. Then, when Lin signed his contract with the Houston Rockets, Anthony was quick to criticize the contract.

    In my opinion, Anthony is a ball hog. It's like a black hole...the ball goes in there, but it never comes out.

    Anthony will never win an NBA title. He's too selfish of a player for that to happen.

22. Carl Edwards, NASCAR

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    I'll admit, Carl Edwards is not my favorite driver. In fact, he's far from it.

    I've already been told by my family (ardent Edwards' supporters) that I've been disowned and written out of the will for this opinion.

    Edwards is another one of those arrogant (in my mind) people who thinks he's better than he really is.

    I began to dislike Edwards in 2010 during the time when he had no problem crashing other people just to win a race.

    During a race, Edwards wrecked Brad Keselowski on the last lap of the race, sparking a lot of controversy among drivers and fans. As interviewed by ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch, Keselowski's father, Bob, had this to say:

    Brad got into Carl getting out of Turn 1 racing. They bumped, they rubbed—typical rubbin' racin' deal. Carl flipped out like he did at Atlanta and tried to kill the kid. I'm sick and tired of this. I'll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He ain't gonna kill my boy.

    So, how did Edwards respond?

    I had to do what I had to do. I just couldn’t let him take the win from me. We came to win. He took it from us there in turn one. And, man, I just couldn’t let him take it from us. I had to do what I had to do.

    This is only one of multiple handfuls of incidents involving Edwards. While he's starting to clean up his act, it's hard to not place him on this list.

    Does anyone have any free spaces in your will?

21. Terrell Owens, NFL

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    Terrell Owens is another one of those players you wish would just go away.

    As if his sit-ups in front of reporters wasn't enough, we had to endure the T.O. Show and his multiple attempts to make it back to the NFL.

    Owens has always been about himself ever since he came into the league.

    His arrogance is present in any interview he does, and one has to wonder if he thinks about anything other than himself.

    T.O. will go down as one of the greatest receivers in the NFL, but it's time for him to ride off into the sunset.

20. Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA

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    Cristiano Ronaldo may be one of the best players in world football, but he's also one of the biggest floppers as well.

    Teddy Bommarito of Policy Mic showcased seven of Ronaldo's best flops in an article he wrote in June.

    My guess is that nine out of the 10 times Ronaldo goes to the ground is because he's flopping. There's no other way to explain the amount of times he goes down when he's barely touched.

    Thankfully, he's starting to get carded for his flops. Maybe one day he'll get red-carded and kicked out of a game.

19. Bill Belichick, NFL

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    Bill Belichick lands on this list because of Spygate.

    Because of the incident, it really brings into question all of the success the New England Patriots had in the early Belichick years in New England. How long before that were they taping opposing team's signals?

    The Patriots have never needed to tape signals with Tom Brady under center.

    Then, to top it all off, Belichick ran up the score on teams that year to show he didn't need to steal signals to put up a bunch of points.

    While it's the job of the defense to stop an opposing team's offense, there is such a thing as class. There was no reason for Brady and the other starters to be in during the fourth quarter of games against the Buffalo Bills (56-10 win) and Washington Redskins (52-7 win).

    One can only hope Belichick gets the favor returned to him one day.

18. John Calipari, College Basketball

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    There's something about a coach who has been associated with multiple incidents in college basketball that makes him shady in the mind of others.

    From the Marcus Camby grocery money incident (which Calipari was never implicated on) to everything that went on with Derrick Rose, Calipari has been linked to multiple misdealings.

    However, that's not my biggest issue with the current head coach at Kentucky.

    While he was coaching the New Jersey Nets in 1997, Calipari used a racial slur against a journalist.

    Calipari can apologize all he wants, but not many people believe it.

17. Tiger Woods, PGA

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    Tiger Woods was on top of the world until his world came crashing down in late 2009 with his infidelities.

    While we will never know the true number of women Woods cheated on his wife with, it's still despicable that someone would do that.

    There are likely hundreds of athletes who cheat on their wives, and they all deserve to be on this list. Unfortunately, most of the cheaters will never be known.

    Outside of that, Woods seemed very arrogant when he was on top of the golf world. He knew he was the best player in the game, and he made sure everyone knew it.

    Whenever he took the break from professional golf to deal with his family issues, many were happy because they wouldn't have to watch or listen to him for a while.

16. Jose Canseco, MLB

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    Jose Canseco seems to never want to get out of the public eye.

    After finishing what would have possibly been a Hall of Fame career, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids in his tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.

    Claiming players like Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Jason Giambi (among others) all used steroids, Canseco was one of the first players to throw others under the bus.

    Ironically, many of the players mentioned by Canseco admitted to steroid use years later.

    Canseco then took his talents inside the ring for a (short) mixed-martial arts and boxing career.

    The former MLB star just needs to leave the public eye. He thinks he's more than he is and is trying to get rich off of telling the secrets of other players.

    Canseco is the only player who has ratted out former players. While some do think it's important to know all who took steroids, most during that era are under a cloud of suspicion.

    We don't need Canseco to tell us.

15. Chael Sonnen, UFC

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    Name me one athlete who has had more title shots without even earning a shot at the title?

    Chael Sonnen is one of those athletes.

    From his first-person narratives to his belief that he is the best fighter on this planet simply makes anyone look forward to him getting smacked around in The Octagon.

    Sonnen is a good trash-talker, I'll give him that.

    However, he tapped out and was knocked out by Anderson Silva and has never earned the right to compete for any title.

    He has also talked his way into another big matchup. This time it's against light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. As Sonnen has put it, "I've got nobody out there willing to fight me. And little Jon Jon the leprechaun has my belt that I'm coming to take."

    Sonnen provides entertainment, but he is also one of the shadiest people in MMA history.

14. Arkansas Athletic Department

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    For some reason the Arkansas athletic department likes to go after football coaches who are currently employed as the head coach at another school.

    According to a recent report, Arkansas met with the agent of LSU head football coach Les Miles to try and pry him away from Baton Rouge.

    This isn't the first time Arkansas has gone after a coach in the middle of his contract.

    Bobby Petrino was in the middle of a tumultuous season as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons prior to being courted by Arkansas. After an agreement between the two sides, Petrino left Atlanta in the middle of the night, leaving a note behind that he was leaving.

    There's something about courting a coach when he's part of another team that I don't like.

    Arkansas got exactly what it deserved with the scandal involving Petrino.

    Now, with Miles agreeing to a contract extension with LSU, let's see who the Razorbacks try to convince to leave their school.

13. Dwight Howard, NBA

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    Dwight Howard has to be one of the biggest babies in the NBA.

    The whole Orlando-saga got on everyone's nerves who followed the NBA. Most were tired of hearing about the ongoing saga.

    From his want to get then-head coach Stan Van Gundy fired, to his wanting out of Orlando to his subsequent opting into his contract with Orlando, most thought the story would never die.

    Then there was a light: Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and everyone was happy.

    Howard is the NBA's poster boy for pampered superstars who get everything they want. Like Carmelo Anthony, Howard forced his way off a team to go where he wanted.

    If NBA stars continue to try and form super-teams, interest in the league is going to die, especially in cities where there are no superstars.

    Hopefully, Howard will just re-sign with the Lakers and we won't have to go through free-agent drama.

12. Manny Ramirez, MLB

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    Manny Ramirez has always been about himself.

    The one thing about Ramirez was if he wanted to play at an MVP-level, he could, but when watching him play, you never knew what kind of effort he was going to give.

    From his lack of effort on the field with the Boston Red Sox to the incident with Boston's traveling secretary who couldn't fill his ticket request, Ramirez has shown he doesn't care about others around him.

    His steroid suspensions are another thing. After finding out he tested positive for a second time, he subsequently retired: Talk about running away when things don't go your way.

    Thankfully, it looks like we won't have to see Ramirez again as he was released by the Oakland Athletics after not being called up in 2012.

11. Kurt Busch, NASCAR

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    Even more than Edwards, Kurt Busch has become one of the biggest rear ends in NASCAR.

    He's had various on-track and off-track incidents.

    From his abuse of Dr. Jerry Punch after an accident in the final race of 2011 to his constant bashing of people within his own organization, Busch doesn't deserve a ride in racing.

    If he's not feuding with one driver, he's feuding with another. The drama that surrounds his racing career is too much for any team to have to bare.

    Busch has been suspended by NASCAR more times than anyone can count. Maybe if he realized that it isn't his right to race stock cars, he would be a better person on and off the track.

10. Roger Goodell, NFL

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    Roger Goodell has been all about protecting the shield of the NFL, but what has he really done to protect the shield?

    All you have to do is look at the recent lockout with NFL officials.

    After a few weeks of using replacement officials, fans, players and coaches were calling for the lockout to end with the real officials. However, by Sept. 21, there were still certain issues holding a deal from being done.

    After how poorly the replacement officials performed, it was a wonder why Goodell wasn't in a hurry to get a deal done.

    Then, there's the judge, jury and executioner role Goodell takes on with the league.

    Whenever a player or team does something wrong, what Goodell says goes. While some of his decisions have been fair, there are many that have made people scratch their heads.

    The point is, Goodell has too much power, and when a person has too much power, things can go south pretty quickly.

9. Greg Williams, NFL

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    While the suspensions were subsequently overturned in the Saints Bountygate scandal, the fact is that Gregg Williams is one of the dirtiest coaches in the game.

    There are tapes of his profanity-laced talks with the Saints prior to games and there was a bunch of evidence recovered by the NFL on the allegations.

    Regardless of the player's involvement in "pay for play," Williams initiated the system.

    The fact that he would want to pay players to injure others is simply despicable. He should never be allowed to coach in the NFL again.

8. Lane Kiffin, College Football

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    Lane Kiffin is dead to all Tennessee fans and for that matter, all SEC fans.

    Kiffin has had so many issues while with the Volunteers and USC.

    While at Tennessee, Kiffin was involved in so many minor NCAA infractions that we lost count: From having recruiting interns contact high school staff members to infamously telling Alshon Jeffrey that if he picked South Carolina, he would end up pumping gas the rest of his life.

    Then there's the jersey-switching incident this year against Colorado. My question is, why did the Trojans need to switch jerseys against the Buffaloes? Were they that worried?

    As if that wasn't enough, how about the scandal involving the deflated balls?

    Sure, a student manager was fired for the incident, but how large of a part do you think he really had in it?

    Given Kiffin's history, there will always be a cloud of suspicion that he had something to do with it.

    SEC fans are glad they don't have to hear from Kiffin and probably even happier that his preseason No. 1 Trojans struggled throughout the season.

7. Gary Bettman, NHL

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    Gary Bettman has been the head of the NHL for three lockouts—not one, not two, but three.

    How is it he is still the commissioner of the NHL?

    Regardless of the need to restructure the league to ensure financial stability for all of its teams, Bettman is not doing a good-enough job at leading the league.

    A good commissioner ensures there is labor peace and the league keeps going. When it doesn't, then it falls on the commissioner.

    When it happens three times, there's something wrong.

    The NHL has to make a change. As long as Bettman remains in charge, the NHL will remain low in its ratings.

6. Nick Saban, College Football

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    Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is a great coach. He has won three national titles in college and helped turn the Alabama program back to its heyday.

    However, there are some shady dealings going on in Tuscaloosa.

    As it pertains to the 2012 recruiting class, Saban asked a recruit to grayshirt and sign in January, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Michael Carvell.

    (Justin) Taylor committed to the Crimson Tide around a year ago, but was informed by Nick Saban in January that he couldn’t sign this year. Saban said it was because of Taylor’s knee injury that cut short his senior season, asking him to enroll next January in a practice known as grayshirting. Speculation became rampant in the college recruiting world that instead it was a reason to oversign at Alabama and then manage the roster to keep as many recruits as possible within the rules.

    I personally think it was because T.J. Yeldon switched his commitment to the Tigers as to why Taylor was asked to grayshirt.

    There are more incidents, but this one sticks out the most to me.

5. Sepp Blatter, FIFA

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    Make no bones about it, Sepp Blatter is corrupt.

    How else do you explain Qatar getting the right to host the 2022 World Cup?

    At no time in Qatar's history have they put any semblance of a good soccer team on the field.

    Corruption has been rampant in FIFA, as is evidence by multiple high-ranking officials getting suspended, and that's not the only thing wrong.

    Why is Blatter so hesitant to give goal-line technology the go-ahead?

    While FIFA is making a lot of money these days, Blatter is a problem and he needs to go. His dealings are very shady and have no place in the game.

4. Jeffrey Loria, MLB

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    First, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria convinces the Miami city council to fund a new stadium for the Marlins to make them competitive. Then, he gets to keep all the profits made from the stadium.

    After that, he goes on a spending spree after the 2011 offseason, backloading contracts for free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.

    What does he do next? He trades them after one season.

    Loria got his ballpark, and now he's going to have a low payroll again.

    To him, it's all about keeping the money in his pocket.

3. Alex Rodriguez, MLB

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    Where do I start with Alex Rodriguez?

    He made public he was opting out of his contract with the New York Yankees during the Red Sox World Series run in 2007, and he slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove to avoid getting out.

    Oh yeah, he admitted to steroid use and was benched during the playoffs this year for not performing at the plate.

    What is there to like about A-Rod?

    He's the most over-payed, over-hyped athlete in all of sports and hasn't done anything while "clean."

    To think he will go down as one of the best hitters of all-time is simply crazy. If anything, he'll go down as one of the biggest cheats of all-time.

2. Ndamukong Suh, NFL

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    Ndamukong Suh is without a doubt one of the dirtiest players in the game.

    He's constantly finding himself in trouble for doing the wrong thing.

    Twice, he's been voted the dirtiest player in the league by his peers.

    His stomping incident during the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day game with the Green Bay Packers will follow him the rest of his career.

    There's no reason for him to continue to be allowed to play the way he wants to play. He can be aggressive all he wants, but he still has to play within the rules.

    Late hits on the quarterback, kicking players in the groin and stomping on players' legs are simply unacceptable.

    It's time the NFL starts suspending him for every incident. Whether there is intent or not, his past speaks for itself.

1. Bobby Petrino, College Football

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    Bobby Petrino may be one of the most-hated coaches in the country.

    It seems everywhere he goes, he always has one foot out the door looking for his next opportunity.

    In 2003, he became the head coach for the Louisville Cardinals. However, after one year there, he was involved in the infamous "Jetgate" scandal in which he was courted by Auburn for its head coaching position while Tommy Tuberville was still the head coach. Auburn was probably glad they didn't hire Petrino.

    Then after signing a 10-year extension with the Cardinals, Petrino led the Cardinals for one more season before he again had his foot out the door to accept the head-coaching position with the Atlanta Falcons and even that wasn't enough for Petrino.

    With a 3-10 record with the Falcons, Petrino left in the middle of the night to take over at Arkansas.

    Did he call a team meeting to let the players know? No, instead he left them a note to tell them of his decision.

    It all came to head in April when Petrino was in a motorcycle accident. The details of that accident eventually revealed Petrino was in an improper relationship with a female athletic department employee.

    The subsequent fallout saw Petrino get fired and lose respect among most people who follow college football.

    Hopefully, for any school's sake, Petrino won't coach in college again. If he does, schools better be prepared for him to have one foot out the door once again.