The Dumbest Excuses Athletes Have Ever Given

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

The Dumbest Excuses Athletes Have Ever Given

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    There's an old saying that says, "Excuses are like armpits. Everybody has them and they all stink."

    While we'd like to think that pro athletes—who have the greatest jobs on the planet—would never have to make up an excuse for something, there have been plenty of players who were forced to for a number of reasons.

    And just as we all tried convincing our teachers that our dogs ate our homework, these are a few of the dumbest excuses a few athletes have used to help save themselves punishment or shame.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Cubs Billy Goat Curse

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    This one might be a "curse" that the Chicago Cubs have used for years, but it's a pretty sad one if you ask me.

    Most of us know about the "Curse of the Billy Goat" that the team and its fans often refer to when the North Siders complete another season without a World Series title.

    Problem is, I don't believe in curses or superstition, so it's a pretty lame excuse for over 100 years of both bad luck and bad teams.

Monta Ellis

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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    One thing many of us have probably learned before is to never get caught lying to your employer.

    Well, current Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis learned the hard way why one should stay away from doing it.

    While he told his former team, the Golden State Warriors, that he got hurt while playing a pickup game, Ellis actually sustained an injured ankle from riding a moped—which got him suspended 30 games for breach of contract.

Sammy Sosa

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    BILL BOYCE/Associated Press

    I don't know which one of former MLB slugger Sammy Sosa's excuses is worse: the one about him missing a baseball game after sneezing too hard or the one about "accidentally" using a corked bat during an actual game.

    Both of them are really piss-poor, but I'm siding with the corked bat seeing how it was the beginning of the end in tainting his then-Hall of Fame-worthy candidacy.

Nate Burleson

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Injuries in all sports are a common thing—especially amongst football players. But when a player gets injured off the football field because he's protecting a few pizzas from sliding off the passenger seat, that's where things get weird.

    Unfortunately for former Detroit Lions wideout Nate Burleson, that's what happened to him, as he missed games last season after breaking his arm doing just that.

    On a positive note, though, he did get hooked up by frozen pizza company DiGiorno.

Rickey Henderson

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    Mike Groll/Associated Press

    Just when you didn't think an athlete could have a worse excuse than some of the ones I've mentioned, Hall of Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson proves that he might just take the cake.

    While playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, MLB's stolen base king passed out with an ice pack on his ankle, which caused some frostbite and sidelined him for three games.

    Henderson was a speedster during his 25-year career, but it looks like an ice pack was the Kryptonite that was able to slow him down.

Michael Vick

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    Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press

    It was bad enough that former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was arrested at the Miami Airport back in 2007. But it was worse that it was Vick's water bottle that got him busted, as cops found a hidden compartment that appeared to have some weed in it.

    Of course, Vick denied it was anything of the sorts, claiming it was a place that he kept his jewelry.

Jermaine O'Neal

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    It's easy to sometimes forget a passport when traveling, but when you're a pro athlete, don't you have people who make sure that never happens?

    Not so in Jermaine O'Neal's case apparently.

    O'Neal actually had to sit out a game earlier this season against the Toronto Raptors because Canada wouldn't let him into the country after he didn't have his little blue book.

    Sure, his head coach, Mark Jackson, said it was a "Misunderstanding," and that the team, "thought we had it. The ball was dropped," but when a player travels that much during a season, it's a bad reason for any guy to ever miss a game.

Clint Barmes

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    After breaking his collarbone in 2005, then-Colorado Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes claimed that the injury happened while carrying groceries up some stairs to his apartment.

    Well, in actuality, it was some deer meat that he and teammate Todd Helton had shot themselves during a hunting trip.

    Saying he "just didn't think it was right to bring Todd Helton into something like this," per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today), Barmes felt lying would be the better option—though I'm still not sure why.

2014 USA Olympic Speedskating Team

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    Go ahead, blame the uniforms.

    That's what Team USA's speedskating team did during this past Winter Olympics in Sochi after the teamslipped down the medal charts.

    Believing that the uniforms the athletes were wearing, which were designed by Under Armour, actually reduced speed, the entire team decided to change outfits mid-Games to try and collect some medals.

North Korean Women's Soccer Team

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    With one of the most ridiculous excuses I've ever heard, North Korea women's soccer head coach Kim Kwang-min said that his team lost to the United States in the Women's World Cup in 2011 because some of the members were struck by lightning during their pre-tourney training.

    As you probably imagine, it wasn't really taken too seriously by many people.

Vladimir Radmanovic

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    PHIL MCCARTEN/Associated Press

    Not only does former NBA forward Vladimir Radmanovic have the distinction of having one of the worst hairstyles in NBA history, but he also owns one of the worst excuses too.

    Much like the aforementioned Monta Ellis, Vlad-Rad was hoping to avoid a fine for breaking his contract stipulations with the Los Angeles Lakers after he separated his shoulder in 2007.

    While Radmanovic originally said that the injury happened while he was walking and slipped on ice, it was discovered that it actually occurred during a skiing accident.

    For lying, Radmanovic was fined $500,000. But at least doesn't have to live with the embarrassment that he hurt himself walking!

Justin Gatlin

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    Beginning a trend of athletes who have denied ever taking an illegal banned substance, U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin had one of the weirdest excuses for testing positive—his masseur.

    After testing positive for excessive testosterone back in 2006, Gatlin and his coach blamed it all on the runner's masseur, Christopher Whetstine, saying it was done out of spite because Gatlin had just fired the guy.

    Naturally, Whetstine denied the accusation, no one believed Gatlin and he was banned for four years before coming back in 2010.

Roger Clemens

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    He might be one of the most accomplished pitchers in major league history, but Roger Clemens was also pretty damn good at denying things too.

    Whether it was throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series and claiming he thought it was the ball or vehemently lying to Congress by "misremembering" a conversation with then-teammate Andy Pettitte about using PEDs, The Rocket seems to have lame excuses down pat.

Floyd Landis

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    Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images

    In the case of another crazy excuse to help cover up the use of PEDs, former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis—he's since been stripped of the title—actually believed that people would buy that whisky caused a positive doping test.

    I'm no distiller, but there probably aren't too many whiskeys out there that have testosterone in them.

    On top of that miserable plea, does anyone really believe an athlete would be sipping alcohol during the biggest race of his life, as Landis' claim came before Stage 17 of the Tour de France? I'd hope not.

Jeff Baker

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Giving a high-five shouldn't be too difficult.

    Look it in, stare at the other person's elbow and connect on it. But former Texas Rangers infielder Jeff Baker apparently never learned that.

    After slapping skin with a teammate last season, Baker was forced to the sideline with a sprained thumb because of it, making him one of a few athletes with a really lame excuse for missing a game.

Brian Cushing

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    For all you gym rats out there, be hopeful that you don't develop the same rare condition that Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing did—overtrained athlete syndrome.

    That's right, Cushing actually used this as the reason that he tested positive for HCG back in 2010, making every single meathead on the planet worried for just a second.

    Have no fear, though, because Cushing's made-up medical excuse was absolutely bogus, so keep lifting away.

Jameis Winston

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Ah yes, college.

    It's a time when we can all be dumb and stupid, doing things that make us feel invincible since it's the first time most of us are on our own.

    But when you're a Heisman Trophy and national title-winning quarterback like Jameis Winston is, that "privilege" sort of gets thrown out the window.

    It's why hearing him say that it was "youthful ignorance" that caused him to walk out of a grocery store with food last week without paying for it is so dumb, because he's sort of a big deal, so he probably should just pay next time.

Rajon Rondo

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    There have been plenty of reasons why athletes have missed games before.

    Injuries. Babies being born. Sickness.

    But until Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo did it earlier this year, had anyone ever ditched a game to celebrate his own birthday?

    I'm not sure, but Rondo allegedly did just that, giving himself the night off to blow out the candles and stuff his face with cake—though, of course, he denies it.

Tyler Hamilton

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Sure, there actually is a thing called "chimerism," but it's way too scientific for me to explain.

    Still, the pure existence of it is what former Olympic cycling champion Tyler Hamilton used to try and sway the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in his favor to help avoid a ban back in 2004.

    Claiming that the presence of different blood cells in his system belonged to a vanishing twin that shared his mom during her pregnancy, Hamilton had hoped to get off scot-free.

    It unfortunately didn't work, as he was banned for two years and then retired for good in 2009 following yet another failed test.