Ding! Ding! Ding!
On the heels of the bizarre arrest of Mets closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez, it is the perfect time to examine the 10 worst family family disputes in sports history.
Some border on the hilarious, while others are downright depressing and horrifying, but all are lessons that the pressures and exposures of stardom can spill over into the family life.
We will span football, soccer, golf, boxing, baseball, and basketball to create this list, though I'm sure every professional sport is guilty of these transgressions.
Let's get started, and feel free to add your comments to describe those you may feel as though I missed out on.
"Let's get ready to rumbleeeeeeeee"
First up on our list is the trials and tribulations of superstar Alex Rodriguez. Before it was unearthed that the star slugger was a repeat PED offender, he was in fact a repeat “cheater” in a far different sense.
From behind-the-scene arguments to a blonde stripper in Toronto, Canada, Alex and Cynthia did not exactly have a love made for fairy tales. A divorce was inevitable, but Alex wasn’t done yet—he is the “lightning rod” after all.
Now add to the equation Madonna—an over-the-hill pop superstar as obsessed with yoga and adopting babies from far off lands as she is with steamy love-making. They were “just friends” A-Rod proclaimed, as if anyone believed that for a second.
A fling with Kate Hudson, a steroids bust, and a World Series ring later, and no one outside of Cynthia seems to care what happens across the border.
Ex-Yankees reliever Brian Bruney had it right about K-Rod all along, who knew? We should have seen the writing on the wall when an on-field argument nearly turned into a full-fledged brawl between the cross-town relief rivals, but we never thought K-Rod would take it this far—or with his own family.
Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez is now facing jail time following a third degree assault charge after a tough Mets loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. After the game, an enraged K-Rod (who never entered the game during a relief core collapse) lashed out…at his own father-in-law, who was later hospitalized with head injuries.
(There is no confirmation that he was in fact just practicing his overly elaborate post-save celebration routine and his wife’s dad was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time)
Could things really get any worse in Queens? I suppose that should not even be asked at this point.
Affairs are one thing, and unfortunately they happen rather often with star athletes and rock stars alike. When one of your own teammates and “close friends” becomes involved, that is a whole other story.
That’s what happened when former English national soccer captain John Terry decided to “knock boots” with teammate Wayne Bridge’s recent ex-girlfriend, who also happened to be the mother of Bridge's child. An expectedly enraged Bridge refused to play for the national team knowing Terry would be involved with the squad, and Coach Fabio Capello immediately rescinded Terry’s captainship.
Similar to many love triangles in our own loved ones’ lives, it is a tough debate of who to hate more. Do you lash out at your apparently loose girlfriend who couldn’t resist sleeping with your own teammate? Or do you forever blame your “friend” for crossing a line forbidden on the highest of levels? The winner seems to be hating both equally.
In June of 1998, former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe confessed in court to one of the more bizarre non-violent family crimes possible. He took “demanding more family time” to a whole other level when he kidnapped his wife and kids by knifepoint in his Charlotte, NC home.
Throw handcuffs, duct tape, and pepper spray into the mix, and Antonio Cromartie appears like a world-class father.
Thirty days in jail later, and a remorseful Bowe seemed to have “learned his lesson.” I am not trying to downplay his offenses, but I do sort of feel bad for a man who needs to kidnap his own family just to go check out a vacation spot.
I think Family Guy sums it up best when they brilliantly say:
Mike Tyson is a man with many sides to his life. It all started with a very tough upbringing on the mean streets of the inner city. Later came a quick rise through the ranks as an unstoppable boxing champion known as much for his tenacity and his “brawling” technique.
Then came the roots and dangers of all of that pent up rage and power, as Tyson (according to reports of wife Robin Givens and her sister) repeatedly beat Givens in their home.
This of course got the ball rolling for a brutal divorce proceeding, and left “Iron Mike” as unstable as ever. Less than two years later, a mentally frayed Tyson committed rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington, and was ultimately jailed for three years. The spiral has seemingly never stopped since.
This nightmare is slated higher than Tyson NOT because the crime of domestic abuse is a lesser offense, but because this story is just far too unique.
In June 1994, TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was charged with burning down the $861,000 mansion of football star Andre Rison—talk about a lover’s quarrel. She was charged with first degree arson, but the trouble does not stop here.
Previously in 1993, Rison had (reportedly) hit Lopes and fired off a gun, but charges were later dismissed. In addition, Lopes appeared to have a large bruise above her lip in her own mug shot, and explained Rison had hit her and she set fire to his shoes to get back at him.
I suppose we don’t need to feel bad for Andre anymore, huh?
As if these previous tales weren’t sad enough as it is, this one involves an untimely death of a young star.
On December 17, 2009, Former Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was engaged in a dispute with his then fiancé. When she attempted to drive away in a truck, Henry jumped onto the bed to continue the battle as she drove away.
A while down the road, however, Henry was thrown from the back of the truck and sustained head injuries so severe it resulted in his death at just 26 years old.
A player with limitless potential, he was unfortunately a man with countless run-ins with the law. The final one ended very tragically.
Next we arrive at an unforgettable night in the rather forgettable city of Eagle, Colorado.
In the summer of 2003, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was staying in an area hotel when he met 19-year-old employee Katelyn Faber. The events that transpired are up for debate, but Bryant was later charged with rape.
Fighting to clear his name by claiming the sex was consensual, he was never given jail time and the civil matter was settled outside of court. Whether or not the acts were desired by both sides, they were obviously not supported by his then wife.
What’s the bet way to win back your wife’s heart after a brutal affair and rape trial? How does an 8-carat purple diamond ring worth an estimated $4 million? Oh the beauty of love.
What's worse than cheating on your wife, being convicted of rape, and having to gravel for forgiveness? Move over Kobe Bryant, because Tiger Woods will make you look like a choir boy.
It is well-documented that at least a dozen women have been linked to affairs with Tiger Woods, which is only the beginning of this bizarre saga. Add a golf-club-wielding wife, prescription medications, a car accident, saved voicemails, and dirty text messages, and we have ourselves a certified love circus.
The process is still sorting itself out, but Tiger’s “brave” stint in the unequaled farce known as sex rehab was a start to repairing his tarnished image.
What’s next up on the list? Fixing his shaky iron play and putting stroke.
Nothing can top the sad story that is former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth. While we have poked fun of some other transgressions, this tale is one that only can provoke tears.
On November 15, 1999, Carruth went on a date with his then pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams. After the movie was over, they conveniently left in separate cars, and an armed assailant drove alongside Adams.
After being shot four times, Adams was struck in vital organs and given a very poor chance of survival. In the hospital, the doctors were able to somehow save her 7-month-old baby boy, although the same could not be said for its mother.
Incredibly, Adams was able to find the strength to write down her recollection of the events before her passing—even implicating that Carruth had blocked her car with his before the shots were fired on her.
Carruth was later found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder among other charges, and was sentenced to 18-24 months in jail.