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The Top 20 Worst Excuses in Sports History

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIJune 3, 2011

The Top 20 Worst Excuses in Sports History

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    My dog ate my homework. I couldn’t make it to the meeting because I had car trouble. I’m sorry I didn’t call you back, I was washing my hair. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    Every sport is a game of inches, making it easy to use external factors to explain why you messed up and why you were not successful. Most athletes have such big egos that taking responsibility for failure is not an option.

    Being performers, athletes have gotten good at making up movie-quality lines to get them out of any situation. We certainly don’t believe them, but it is fun hearing the different justifications for why things go wrong.

    Here are the top 20 worst excuses in sports history…

Honorable Mention: Brett Favre

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Thought He Was Open

    OK, so maybe this excuse was never written on paper, but you can imagine how many times Favre came back to the sidelines and had to say those very words to his coaches. 


20. Shaun Rodgers

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Didn’t Know the Gun Was Loaded

    That’s nice, but he had a gun in the airport that was loaded with a bullet in the chamber. Not the smartest decision in the world.

19. Sammy Sosa

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Was Using a Batting Practice Bat—That’s Why It Was Corked

    During a 2003 game versus the Devil Rays, he broke his bat and it showed cork right in the middle. He claimed it was a batting practice bat.

    A player’s equipment should be his most sacred and important items. There is no way that a player of his caliber would make a mistake like that. He was outwardly cheating.

18. Clint Barmes

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Was Carrying Groceries When I Got Hurt

    The truth is he was carrying deer meat up the stairs that Todd Helton had given to him. He was having a greatly successful rookie season that was derailed by the very odd and unfortunate injury.

    I have heard of hitting a deer with your car and getting hurt, but a deer that is already dead?

17. 2001 Sri Lankan Cricket Team

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    Excuse: Tight-Fitting Clothes

    Sri Lanka lost the ICC Champions Trophy final to Pakistan and did not blame their performance for the loss…They blamed tights clothes.

16. Donovan McNabb

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Did Not Know That There Are Ties in Football

    I have to say, it's pretty pathetic that a perennial Pro Bowler does not know one of the most basic rules in football. He played dumb, but it appears that he wanted to save face after tying a very underwhelming opponent.


15. Justin Gatlin

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    Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Did Not Dope—I Was Sabotaged. The Masseuse Put Testosterone Cream on My Legs without Me Knowing

    Yeah, we have heard that one before. What else you got? I didn’t knowingly take steroids. Riiiight… 


14. Barry Bonds and the Steroid Era

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    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    Excuse: Greg Anderson Told Me It Was Flax-Seed Oil (Barry Bonds)

    Excuse: Mr. Pettitte Misheard and Misrememebered (Clemens)

    This falls under an entire era of excuses made by cheaters. Some of them use ignorance, while others flat-out lie. They knew what they were doing, and are now fighting for their names in courts and in front of grand juries, perjuring themselves and wasting taxpayer dollars on pointless hearings. 

13. Alberto Contador

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    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Excuse: Contaminated Meat Is the Cause of My Positive Doping Test

    I will give him this—he tested positive for 0.00000000005 grams of clenbuterol per mililitre. I have no idea what that means, but that number is very small. But can we give a cyclist the benefit of the doubt when it comes to doping? Absolutely not.

    He was not suspended, though something seems fishy.

12. Iker Casillas

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    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Excuse: My Girlfriend Distracted Me When I Gave Up the Decisive Goal in a 1-0 Loss to Switzerland

    In reality, Spanish goalie Iker Casillas’ girlfriend (Sara Carbonero) didn’t and it was a hugely overblown story that was an excuse for the inexplicable loss for the eventual World Cup champions. The fact that they could not score against a lowly Swiss team was embarrassing enough. 

11. Brian Cushing

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Excuse: Over-Trained Athlete Syndrome Caused for My Positive Drug Test

    There is certainly a possibility that Cushing does have a rare hormonal condition that would yield a positive test, but the way he described it made him sound like the Incredible Hulk.

    I work out too hard and I am too strong, so the drug tests will show traces of a fertility drug. This sounds like it comes from cartoon.

10. Alex Ferguson

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Excuse: The Jerseys Were Causing Bad Luck

    During a 1996 match, Manchester United was down 3-0 at the half and manager Alex Ferguson decided to make the team change jerseys because of its poor performance. Clearly he was grasping at straws, looking for answers that weren’t there. 

9. Lighton Ndefwayl

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    Excuse: My Jockstrap Was Too Tight

    “Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia.”

    This was the response to Zambian tennis Lighton Ndefwayl’s loss to Musumba Bwayla during a 1992 match.

    Very mature.

8. Jeff Kent

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Broke My Wrist Washing My Car

    He was actually on his motorcycle, doing wheelies. This was in direct violation of his contract, which did not allow for him to use his motorcycle for these exact situations. He had to lie in order to save face. The only problem was that there were several eye witnesses that gave the real story to local news outlets.

7. Ronnie O'Sullivan

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Excuse: A Streaker Broke My Concentration and Made Me Lose a Commanding Lead

    At the best-of-19 Masters final at Wembley in 1997, O’Sullivan was leading 8-3 when a streaker came into the arena. He would then go onto lose seven straight games and the match.

    Sounds like something that would affect a 15-year-old.

6. Richard Gasquet

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Did Not Take Cocaine. I Kissed a Girl Who Did and That’s Why the Test Was Positive

    While this one should come from the "There is no way that this is true” bin, he actually was acquitted of charges and was reinstated after the clarification. This does not take away from the fact that this is one of the most insane alibis ever concocted.

5. Johnny Weir

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Excuse: I Didn't Feel My Inner Peace

    "I never felt comfortable in this building. I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura."

    This was the description given by Weir after arriving late to the 2006 Olympic games after he did not win a medal. He missed the bus, arrived late and apparently left his sanity at home as well.

4. Chicago Cubs

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    Excuse: Billy Sianis Is the Reason the Cubs Have Not Made the World Series

    Ever Since Billy Sianis was forced to leave Wrigley Field in 1945, the Cubs have not made it to the Fall Classic.

    Come on people. How about bad personnel decisions, bad play on the field and some bad breaks? It has nothing to do with a goat.


3. New York Knicks

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Excuse: The Knicks Lost Because They Saw a Ghost and Couldn’t Sleep

    I couldn’t make this stuff up—that’s how bad it got for the Knicks. They lost by 20 to the Thunder and blamed it on ghosts.

2. Vinny Testaverde

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    Allen Steele/Getty Images

    Excuse: My 35 INTs My Rookie Year Were Due to Color-Blindness

    There is no reason to ridicule someone who is color-blind because it is nothing to be ashamed of. I do not know if it is wise to choose to be an NFL QB with this issue, but it is not for me to judge.

    It is still a terrible excuse because the colors, though different, would remain constant, and he knows who his teammates are.


1. Floyd Landis

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Excuse: Whisky Was the Reason for My Positive Synthetic Testosterone Test

    He would later revoke that statement, pretending it never happened, because not even he believed it. He was advised to say it by the worst lawyer ever and quickly remembered that scientists are not morons.

    In the end, he was banned for two years.

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