In sports, teams and players always want to achieve the best and brightest moments on the biggest stage. Teams need the strongest, unbreakable amount of determination and dedication possible to get there. However, that is not always the case, as sometimes a sport's most successful team is also its worst behaved. Somehow, some way, teams have managed to find success though they may be ill-behaved and, in some regards, outright breaking rules.
Other times, teams are flat-out breaking rules and getting into trouble without the benefit of a title at the end. Regardless of their ultimate achievements or failures, we remember these 20 teams as the worst-behaved in sports history.
The "Bronx Zoo" Yankees didn't find much trouble off the field, but on it they were one of the most dramatic storylines in baseball. From Mount Steinbrenner lording over his team from owner's box to Billy Martin's tyrannical reign in the dugout to clashes among teammates like Reggie Jackson and Thurmon Munson ("straw that stirs the drink"), the Yankees of the late 1970s were the ultimate clashes of egos and personalities. Yet, despite their feuds, firings, and at times outward dislike of one another, the team still found a way to win back-to-back World Series in 1977 and 1978.
The "Cocaine Cowboys" of the mid-1990s were another team that found a way to win titles despite numerous legal troubles of their biggest stars. From Michael Irvin's drug and prostitution charges, to sexual assault charges against offensive lineman Erik Williams (though later dropped), to Nate Newton's arrest with a forest of marijuana and a general sense of heavy drug use on the team, the "Cocaine Cowboys" were the rock stars of the NFL.The mid-1990s Cowboys acted with brash flair and wore their egos on their sleeve, but did it all while managing to win at the highest level.
The ESPN 30 for 30 special "The U" on the 1980s Miami Hurricanes was a very entertaining and dramatic take on the dynastic Hurricanes teams of the 1980s. Perhaps some of it was embellished, but nevertheless, there was plenty of truth.The Miami Hurricanes football teams of the 1980s were a collection of brash teams that played by their own rules on and off the field. They cared little for the traditions of NCAA football or the sportsmanship rules and were accused of not only violating NCAA rules, but even flaunting it at times.They were the rock stars on South Beach for the better part of a decade, giving south Florida its most successful team by doing virtually whatever it wanted along the way.
The "Jail Blazers" era of the of the early 2000s signified a time when the uber-popular Trail Blazers became something of a pariah in their own town. Led by marijuana arrests of Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, and Qyntel Woods, the "Jail Blazers" became an new-era bad boys team of the NBA. Woods was later charged with animal abuse, while the signing of Ruben Patterson, who had recently been charged with sexual abuse, cemented a team that lacked much moral fiber.A fistfight between Zach Randolph and Patterson in which Randolph socked Patterson in the jaw was the penultimate moment for the "Jail Blazers" team.
Southern Methodist University was once one of the most storied programs in college football. That was until it received the first death penalty in college football.SMU was already under three years of probation when the NCAA discovered players were still being paid through a slush fund created by a team of boosters who channeled money through athletic department and team representatives.The NCAA put the kibosh on the Mustangs' 1987 season, took away home games for 1988, revoked 55 scholarships, and generally made recruitment a near impossibility for the better part of five years.
The Patriots had won three Super Bowls in four years before the news broke that the team had established a covert and organized way of videotaping other teams signals. The story picked up serious juice when it was reported by the Boston Herald that the Patriots videotaped the Rams walk-through prior to the team's surprising Super Bowl-winning upset over St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI.It remains somewhat unclear and vague as to how long and how intricate the Patriots videotaping practices were, but the scandal itself threw gas on a fire of NFL fans who had already grown weary of, and had a strong dislike for, the Patriots.
The news of USC's violations and subsequent punishment came as no surprise to a legion of college football fans that suspected the Trojans of having skeletons in the closet in both the football and basketball programs.Allegations of money being paid to the family of Reggie Bush and to former hoops star O.J. Mayo levied bruising penalties on both programs, including a two-year postseason ban and scholarship revocation of the football team.Additional allegations of coaching complacency or possible inclusion in the violations hint of a cultural issue of ill practices in SoCal.
The Washington Wizards were already a poor team on the court, but things took a turn for the worse when it was revealed that their star Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton engaged in a form of gun play in the Wizards locker room.Arenas and Crittenton wielded loaded and unloaded weapons at each other, failing to realize that they were not only breaking club rules but broke federal rules for illegal gun possession within Washington D.C.
For a stretch of time, the Cincinnati Bengals looked more like a halfway house for the NFL's misbehaved than an actual football franchise. From Chris Henry's multiple run-ins with the law to Cedric Benson's recent assault arrest to Rey Mauluaga's DUI charge to the drafting of questionable and/or unsavory characters like Andre Smith and Bernard Scott, the Bengals have, at times, put themselves in position to be the scorn of the legal system in Cincinnati.
The Bengals are no longer alone as the bad boys of the AFC North. The Steelers entered that circus following the sexual assault case of Ben Roethlisberger and the general assault charge against Santonio Holmes (who has since been traded).Roethlisberger's well-documented case in a Georgia night club was followed by news that a woman is suing Holmes for throwing a glass at her in a bar. The front office jettisoned Holmes but is still dealing with the ramifications of Roethlisberger, whose night on the town was not his first adventure of misbehavior.
The UConn's men basketball program took a significant PR and program blow when it was revealed that head coach Jim Calhoun and members of his staff were responsible for eight major violations. The list included improper phone calls and text messages and benefits to recruits and high school coaches. The punishments have yet to be handed down, but eight major violations is a serious number that is likely to land serious blows to one of the sport's most successful programs.
The Kansas basketball team put its foot in the bear trap again, and the result was a three-year probation for improper benefits handed down to members of the basketball teams and the football team.In all, 11 violations were found, and the athletic department was slapped with the moniker of "lack of institutional control" after it was found that over $5,000 in gifts, answers to exams, and other handouts were provided by boosters.This is the second time in 18 years that the men's basketball program was found in violation after it was discovered Larry Brown's teams were the beneficiaries of payment.
The Indiana Pacers could have acted like saints the rest of the season, but they land on the list because of the "Malice at the Palace." Ron Artest's attack of a fan, Stephen Jackson's participation, Jermaine O'Neal's haymaker, and the general bedlam that ensued on November 19, 2004, was one of the ugliest moments in sports history. You can't misbehave any more than going into the crowd to attack fans.
The "Bad Boys" of the best era in Detroit Pistons basketball history were not legal troublemakers, but instead became renowned for their bruising, unforgiving play on the court. It worked for Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer and company as they won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. Those Pistons teams never found themselves in handcuffs or in a courtroom, but their rough and tumble play broke the mold of what was generally considered "traditional" basketball at that time.
Spearheaded by their brash and uncompromising owner Al Davis, the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders of the 1970s and 1980s were the horse of a different color in the NFL. From their outlandish and flamboyant behavior on the field to unruly fans in the parking lots and in the stands to Davis' numerous lawsuits against the NFL establishment, the Raiders were a significant headache for commissioner Pete Rozelle and the NFL's ruling body.
The New York Mets were one of the National League's most successful teams in the 1980s. However, those teams and ones to follow in the early 1990s did things to sully the franchise's reputation. Drug use by its biggest stars, stories of lewd and inappropriate behavior in the clubhouse went on behind the scenes, despite their pennants and World Series victories.That era was followed by the Vince Coleman firecracker incident, in which he tossed a firecracker into a crowd of fans, and the Bret Saberhagen bleach-spraying incident in 1993, when the Mets pitcher openly sprayed bleach on a crowd of reporters. These two incidents were the manifestation of a ball club that quickly went south after their success in the previous decade.
The East German Olympic Team was one of the most successful squads at every Olympics between 1976 and 1988. Suspicions about their performance were justified in later years when it was revealed that many members of the East German team had been on a steady diet of anabolic steroids.
The late-1990s Texas Tech Red Raiders football team exemplified dirty and shady practices that have at times clouded the history of college football in the state.In addition to the Red Raiders being found to have used ineligible players over a span of seven seasons, the team was charged with paying players, academic fraud, tuition assistance, excessive scholarships, and coaches even bailing their players out of jail.
There was something suspicious about the Chinese gymnastics team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and United States coach Bela Karolyi wanted to make it known.Karolyi accused the Chinese of using underage athletes, and in many cases outright children, for competition. The suspicion carried water, considering the Chinese roster featured athletes who measured 4'6" and 70 pounds.“We are in the business of gymnastics and we know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. You don’t have to be a gymnastics coach to know what they look like at 16," Karolyi said at the time, according to Yahoo! Sports.The passports of the Chinese team checked them in at an appropriate age for the competition, but the debate and suspicion still raged.
In what was later discovered to be a repeat practice, the 1990s Seminoles team just could not turn down offers of free footwear. In 1999, wide receivers Peter Warrick and Laverneus Coles were caught stealing gear from a Dillard's department store when they were charged the infamous amount of $21.40 for over $400 worth of gear.However, it was not the first time FSU players were busted with a five-finger discount. In 1993, several Seminoles were caught taking money from agents who paid the players' way to a shopping spree at Foot Locker."Free Shoes University" was founded.