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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    MORZINE-AVORIAZ, FRANCE - JULY 20:  ULY 20: Floyd Landis of the USA and Phonak celebrates winning Stage 17 of the 93rd Tour de France between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Morzine-Avoriaz on July 20, 2006 in Morzine-Avoriaz, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/G
    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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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 14-9.  (Photo by Rona
    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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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 26:  Shaun Rogers #92 of the Cleveland Browns prior to a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Muncipal Stadium on October 26, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    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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    CHICAGO - JULY 20:  Sammy Sosa #21 of the Chicago Cubs watches the flight of the ball as he follows through on a swing during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on July 20, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs
    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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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 27:  Clint Barmes #12 of the Colorado Rockies looks on during a break in the action against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field on September 27, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Cardinals 4-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensin
    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    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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    TALLINN, ESTONIA Ð AUGUST 8 :  Sprinter Justin Gatlin of US in action during the ERGO World Games Tallinn 2010, his second competitive race after serving a four year drugs ban at The Kadrioru Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo by Joosep
    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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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA -APRIL 8:  Former major league baseball player Barry Bonds (L) arrives at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Courthouse April 8, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The jury is deliberating the case in which Barry Bonds
    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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    PARIS - JULY 25:  Alberto Contador of team Astana (L) celebrates as Denis Menchov of team Rabobank looks on after the twentieth and final stage of Le Tour de France 2010, from Longjumeau to the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 25, 2010 in Paris, France.  (
    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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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 03:  Goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Real Madrid reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium on May 3, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/
    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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    HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13:  Linebacker Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans during warm ups before playing the Baltimore Ravens at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25:  Jeff Kent #12 of the Los Angeles Dodgers returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on April 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Im
    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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    SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Ronnie O'Sullivan of England plays a shot in his quater-final match against John Higgins of Scotland during day twelve of the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship at the Crucible on April 27, 2011 in Sheffield, England.
    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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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Richard Gasquet of France celebrates a point during the men's singles round three match between Richard Gasquet of France and Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil on day six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011 in Paris, Franc
    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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    VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 16:  Johnny Weir of the United States reacts after his routine in the men's figure skating short program on day 5 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Pacific Coliseum on February 16, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by
    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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    NEW YORK - JANUARY 13:  Eddie Curry #34 of the New York Knicks slam dunks against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden January 13, 2008 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this P
    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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    23 Oct 1988:  Quarterback Vinny Testaverde of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepares to pass the ball during a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  The Vikings won the game, 49-20. Mandatory Credit: Allen Dean Steele  /Allspo
    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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    PARIS - JULY 23:  - JULY 22:  Floyd Landis of the USA and Phonak poses for photographers at the start of the final stage of the 93rd Tour de France, on July 23 2006 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
    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.