Athletes on Their Way To or Over $1 Million in Fines

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2014

Athletes on Their Way To or Over $1 Million in Fines

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Although most professional athletes can claim to make millions of dollars each season—and in some cases, each month—there are a few times when we see them giving back some of that coin.

    I'm not talking about donating to charities here, but instead when they get hit with a major fine from either their team or the league.

    With Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently picking up his 20th fine from the NBA since taking over the club's reign in 2000, it turns out the dude has paid more than $1.7 million for his lashing out.

    That got me thinking about athletes who might be able to claim the same some day, so take a look at who I dug up.

Carl Long

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Now, personally, I don't actually think that NASCAR driver Carl Long will actually break the $1 million barrier for total fines in his career.

    That doesn't mean that he's not already well on his way, though.

    After collecting a huge $200,000 hit to his wallet back in 2009 for using an illegal engine, Long is already 20 percent there, giving him a huge leg up on some of the other fines athletes have had.

    It would take some real nonsense for the driver to accomplish the feat—something I'm sure he's not striving for—but he could do it.

James Harrison

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    The only reason that I have current Cincinnati Bengals linebacker James Harrison this low on the potentially $1 million fine club is because he's running out of years in the league.

    But for awhile there, Harrison was certainly leading the pack.

    That's because he used his helmet like a weapon at times, attacking opposing players as if he were a raging bull into a matador.

    Being 35 now and on the tail-end of his career, though, Harrison probably doesn't have enough football left in him to garner anymore gigantic fines—unless he starts ripping into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell again soon.

Raffi Torres

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    So this might be cheating a bit—since it's more about the money he's lost from suspensions than just straight-up fines—but technically speaking, San Jose Sharks left winger Raffi Torres is well on his way to breaking the $1 million mark.

    The majority of that comes from his 2012 hit on the Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa, which netted him a 25-game suspension and about $530,000 in wages.

    I don't care that Torres' loss came via salary deduction during his suspension, because losing half a mill counts all the same—whether it's writing a check or having that cash docked.

Alex Rodriguez

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    I'd really hate to be the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez right about now.

    Sure, the guy has made over $350 million during the course of his 20-year MLB career, but, as we all know, he recently has taken quite the hit thanks to a season-long suspension handed down by MLB a few weeks ago.

    Oh yeah, add to that a few other instances in the past where he was slammed with a $150,000 fine for missing just one day with the Yanks last season, and who knows how much he has actually lost in all of his playing days.

Metta World Peace

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    I'm not sure of the actual numbers that NBA player Metta World Peace has actually paid in fines over the course of his career, but seeing how he gave up nearly $350,000 for an elbow to James Harden after being suspended seven games in 2012, it has to be up there.

    Oh yeah, and let's not forget the $5 million he lost in salary during his NBA record 73-game suspension for his role in arguably the worst fight in NBA history—the "Malice in the Palace" back in 2005 while still a member of the Indiana Pacers.

Ndamukong Suh

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    He's a really nice guy off the field, but when Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh has the pads and helmet on, he's a bad, bad dude.

    Sure, he gets paid to make his opponents sweat from the intimidation and tough task of slowing him down, but Suh takes things a lot further than they really need to be taken, bordering on the line of, dare I say it, a dirty player.

    Already paying nearly $350,000 in total fines in just four seasons in the NFL, Ndamukong might as well just set aside a portion of his paycheck each month in anticipation of a hefty check to the league office.

J.R. Smith

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    If sports fans thought that the New York Knicks' J.R. Smith sure does get his name in the paper a lot for doing some dumb things, they'd be absolutely right.

    That's because, Smith just hasn't learned from his past, continuously doing stuff that causes both U.S. and international leagues to fine him.

    While the shooting guard's most recent check was for $50,000 after untying an opponents shoelace, a few years ago when playing in China, he got nailed with a $1 million fine for ditching out on practices and games while playing overseas during the NBA lockout a few years back.

Dennis Rodman

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    I wouldn't think that this one would be too big of a surprise—after all, Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman was the most outrageous players in NBA history.

    Although Rodman is busy trying to play peacemaker—I think?—between the United States and North Korea now, before doing so he was racking up some serious fines.

    His biggest came in 1997 while playing with the Chicago Bulls.

    In that year alone, "The Worm" was docked $25,000 and suspended 11 games following an incident where he kicked a cameraman in the groin—which actually led to more than $1 million in salary alone—and then an additional $50,000 for insulting Mormons during the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.

Mike Tyson

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    While putting this list together, I'll be honest, it was a mystery as to what athletes may have already eclipsed the $1 million plateau—it's not something easily done.

    Then I thought about Mike Tyson, who bit the ear of opponent Evander Holyfield not just once, but twice during a bout between the two in 1997.

    That alone earned Tyson a nice fine—upwards of $3 million, in fact—which thrust him towards the top of this list almost instantaneously.

    Making matters worse, "Iron Mike" was banned from ever boxing again, too.

Adrian Mutu

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    This is a special reminder to all athletes who think that a drug habit is a good idea.

    Besides the obvious health reasons, take the case of Adrian Mutu, who was fined by FIFA to pay his former Chelsea club £13.8m ($22.7 million) for breach of contract after failing a drug test in 2004 when cocaine was found in his system—the biggest fine ever against a soccer player.

    The initial £20,000 ($33,000) fine was big in itself, so adding millions on top of it is just insane.

    It's too Chelsea is still trying to collect the cash.