Junior Seau just made it into the top 10 athletic meltdowns. Early this morning, he was found 30 feet below a roadside in Carlsbad. This came immediately after being released on bail for domestic abuse charges.
This got me thinking. Famous athletes are famous for a reason. A good portion are type-A personalities that are driven to success. That drive can be immense. When your whole life is dedicated to being the best amongst the already great, it can take a toll. The human psyche is a fragile thing. If you push to hard in any one direction, there could be mixed results. Some athletes, we find, just can't find that line dividing the sane from insanity.
Following are slides of athletes that had momentary lapses in judgment. Whether it be from ego, alcohol or mixture of any number of things, they clearly could not handle the pressure.
Athletes can be eloquent. Yogi Berra, for example, used the English language as a canvas to paint flowery images to delight his captive audience. Now we have hilarious quotes to ponder on.
Then there are times that they just spit filth for frustration's sake. Take Serena Williams's momentary meltdown in a match with Kim Clijsters. After being called for a foot foul Williams was quoted as saying, "I swear to God I'm [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, you hear that? I swear to God."
Bobby Knight has never been known as a warm cuddly human being. He epitomizes the term, on edge. In 1985, he fell off that edge and straight into crazyland. He tossed a chair in a game against Purdue.
Back in 2000, we thought it was regular athletic aggression that caused Clemens to throw a broken bat towards a shocked Mike Piazza. Now we know it may have been a blind case of roid rage. Either way, it was a momentary loss of sanity.
Sports analysts are supposed to analyze. It says it right there in the word analyst. I know, I looked it up. So, the sane realize that in 2008 Ryan Lefebvre was doing his job when he criticized Bradley for not being a leader.
Incensed, Bradley ran to confront Lefebvre. Bradley has since stated he was not intending to harm Lefebvre. I hardly think the loose cannon was going to get a hug.
In yet another case of athlete goes postal on dude just doing his job, I submit to you Kenny Rogers. In 2005, Rogers took exception at a cameraman taking video of the athlete. Instead of heeding his better judgment, Rogers shoved the camera operator, David Mammeli, several times. He was restrained, but the damage to his reputation had already been done. You know because he chose to confront the guy that was documenting it all.
Mike Tyson was never right in the head. He will tell you as much. This is what made him such a volatile athlete. His life was teetering on a string. It all fell out of balance in the early 90's. At that time, he was going through the turmoil of a divorce from Robin Givens. He was also dealing with the huge blow of a loss to Buster Douglas.
The final straw came in the form of a rape conviction of then 18-year-old Desiree Washington. It would be the end of an era of pure pugilistic dominance.
In baseball, there are some liberties that one can take with their frustration. You can argue with an ump. It is perfectly acceptable to even get irrate at him. At no point though, can you extoll bodily fluids on said umpire.
This is the route Roberto Alomar took in 1996 when he spit on John Hirschbeck. Now he is forever known as the spitter and not the great second baseman he was.
Crazy is a disease you can diagnose in the eyes. Ron Artest has those eyes that make you a tad uneasy in his presence. You know he is either going to go for three steals a game or punch an opposing player. Either way, the volatility is intriguing, and I can't look away. This was especially true on November 19th, 2004.
Artest fouled Ben Wallace. Wallace took exception and shoved Artest. Then we had ourselves a good old fashioned shove fest, until a fan decided to throw a drink at the scuffle. This somehow crossed a line for Artest. He snapped and went into the crowd, forever a taboo in sports.
Tonya Harding had a little bit of a breakdown at the 1994 winter Olympics. Following the controversy of the Nancy Kerrigan assault at the National Championships, Harding was hearing about her involvement from every news reporter and journalist.
When her shoelace broke during a practice session, she broke down in tears. There was little sympathy to be had.
File this one into the athlete never learns file. In June of 2009, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault. Not done with accosting women, he was again investigated for sexual assault in March of 2010. This time, it was at an 18 and over bar in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Take note, Mr. Roethlisberger, first ask the lady if you can have this dance, then you may court her. This is not the stone age. You can't just bop ladies on the head and drag them back to your cave.
Junior sneaks into the three spot for the simple fact that he pulled a double whammy in one night. On Sunday evening, Junior Seau was arrested for a domestic dispute. That in itself is a meltdown that is sadly much too prevalent amongst modern athletes. He was then jailed until Monday morning when he was released on bail.
It seems as though Seau did little to no soul searching while jailed. He immediately went and drove off a cliff. While the incident is still under investigation, I can only assume that alcohol was involved, or at the very least, severe depression. If not, Seau is a horrible driver.
On May 6, 2010, Lawrence Taylor was arrested for statutory rape of a 16-year old girl. He has since pleaded not guilty and faces five years in prison for the accusation.
While details are still preliminary and scarce, we do know that Taylor's initial defense was that he was unaware of the girl's age. Unfortunately for the former linebacker, New York law does not take into account a minor's disclosure of age.
On June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson showed more caged animal then human being. In the third round, he was deducted two points by referee Mills Lane for nibbling on Evander Holyfield's ear.
The match was suspended for a few minutes while there was a deliberation of the penalty. So, it goes without saying that Tyson had a few minutes to think about his actions. This is important because once the fight commenced, he went right back and bit Holyfield's ear again.
This time he took a piece with him. This is why he will remain supreme as the craziest athlete to ever throw it down. He had time to realize how insane his actions were. Then, once the heat of the moment was gone, he disregarded any kind of judgment and did what he wanted, sans reason.