25 Instances of Athletes Losing Their Minds

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2013

25 Instances of Athletes Losing Their Minds

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    I'm not going to sit here and lie to anyone and say that I've never completely lost my mind before—though it usually involves me tossing back plenty of shots, in which case all bets are off.

    But unlike my drunken stupor on a given night, athletes are held to a much higher standard by their teams, fans and the media, so when they go a little cuckoo, it's not as accepted as when I do.

    And thanks to certain athletes taking their anger out in the rarest of forms, I'm dedicating this article to them—keep it up, fellas, because, though it's frowned upon, it's pretty damn entertaining.

Hall of Fame Mention: John McEnroe

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    When it comes to talking about athletes just completely losing their mind, there might not be anyone better at it than John McEnroe was during his tennis-playing days.

    It'd be a disservice not to award him with his own bust and plaque in the Freakout Hall of Fame, so congratulations Johnny Mac, you're nearly unmatched from anyone else.

Marcos Baghdatis

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    Anyone who has ever played the sport of tennis on a higher level than just a high school gym class knows that a nice racket is actually pretty damn expensive.

    But pro tennis player Marcos Baghdatis doesn't let money get in the way of his rage, as he didn't just smash one or two stringed pieces to the ground, but actually ran off four in a row in succession during the 2012 Australian Open.

    I'm not sure, but that has to be some sort of record.

David Perkins

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    Considering college football player David Perkins is now a former Ohio State Buckeye, I'm still wavering on whether his hit on esteemed mascot Brutus was actually intentional or not.

    I mean, how on earth could Perkins seriously think the guy in that suit could withstand a monster hit from a dude who's both wearing pads and, oh yeah, plays for one of the top college football programs in the country?

    Seeing how Perkins transferred not too long after this wallop of a hit, I'm under the assumption it was his one moment to stick it the university—but that's just me.

    Editor's Note: Video contains NSFW language.

Albert Haynesworth

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that none of us would want a 350-pound man not only getting angry and coming at us, but also taking things a step further and actually stomping on our face.

    Assuming I'm right on that, one has to feel for former Dallas Cowboys lineman Andre Gurode, because he got a face-full of former Tennessee Titans defender Albert Haynesworth.

    For losing his cool, Big Al was suspended for five games—then a record.

Gilbert Arenas

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    David Dow/Getty Images

    While other players on this list have done things in the heat of action during an actual game, former NBA baller Gilbert Arenas falls on this list for pulling a fast one on his former teammate, Javaris Crittenton, back in 2010.

    To think that someone would be crazy enough to not only actually bring pistols into an NBA arena, but to then pull them on a teammate over a supposed gambling debt is insane to me.

    Both players got hit with serious suspensions, but I'd say Crittenton actually came out a little worse than Arenas, as he turned himself in earlier this year on murder charges.

    Why am I not shocked?

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad

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    As I showed a bit earlier when Brutus the Buckeye got speared in the gut by an Ohio State football player, I really feel for this other poor mascot from last summer's European Championships.

    You'd think that the runner in this situation would be someone who just lost the race in a heartbreaking fashion, but it turns out the culprit—French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad—was actually the winner of his heat.

    It's bad enough he did it after a win—imagine what would have happened had he lost—but it's worse when the suit-wearing human is actually a 14-year-old girl.

    For that, Mahiedine doesn't deserve a shot on the podium.

Brandon Stokley

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    Although former Denver Broncos wideout Brandon Stokley certainly didn't mean to hit a ref's hand—barely grazing it to begin with—when a guy sprints 25 yards angrily toward an official, it's usually going to end poorly for the player.

    That's exactly what happened, as Stokley got the boot for his slap—even it was about as tame as an awkward high-five between bros.

Luis Suarez

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    I remember a time in preschool when I got in trouble for biting a girl on the playground because she messed with me.

    First off, she should have known not to do whatever it was that pissed me off enough to gnaw on her arm, and second, I was a six-year-old who didn't know any better.

    For a grown man to do it, though, that guy has to be a little twisted.

    So when Liverpool star Luis Suarez did the same thing I did over 20 years ago by biting into the arm of opposing Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic, he had to have expected the punishment he received—which was a 10-game match ban.

Steve MacIntyre

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    If you just listen to the announcer in this video, you'll understand why current Edmonton Oilers left winger Steve MacIntyre proved to have a few loose screws in his head.

    Using terms like, "going berserk," "gone bananas" and "has absolutely snapped," the announcer is about as shocked as anyone is when the enforcer takes on basically everyone wearing skates in this epic fight from last season while playing in the minors.

    For his rampage, MacIntyre earned a 17-minute penalty.

Marshall Henderson

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    Jumping onto the national scene last year thanks to a mixture of his unexpected play and wild antics, Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson certainly left an awful lasting impression for fans to remember after the Rebels lost in the NCAA tournament.

    Leaving the floor with a double-fingered salute after a fan allegedly yelled something about his sister, Henderson got reprimanded by the NCAA for doing the one thing no athlete should do while leaving the filed of play.

Dennis Rodman

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    NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman might have been one of the fiercest defenders and rebounders in league history, but if you made him upset, he was sure to make sure he got the upper hand.

    If it wasn't head-butting referees or getting beneath the skin of opposing players, it was something like this—where he kicked unsuspecting cameraman Eugene Amos during a 1997 road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    "The Worm" was slapped with a hefty suspension and fine for his snap-kicking judgement.

Serena Williams

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    While 17-time Grand Slam singles champ Serena Williams has proven to be one of the most dominant female tennis player to ever play, she's also demonstrated that she's a little more fiery than others as well.

    With a few instances of her competitiveness coming out in different ways over the course of her career, Serena went a bit too far when she threatened a line judge back during the U.S. Open in 2009.

    You might think that Williams would apologize for it—seeing how she released a statement—but recently admitted that she doesn't regret it at all.

    Maybe Serena's just completely lost her mind!

Gennaro Gattuso

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    Former AC Milan and Italian national team midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is one of my all-time favorite athletes, and I often framed my game like he played it—fiery, with an ultra competitiveness.

    But one thing that Gattuso did that I never did—though I wanted to a few times—was choke out an opposing coach, grabbing hold of former Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan's neck and yelling profanities in his face a few years back.

    Though he avoided trouble off the field, the game of soccer seemed to get the best—or worst—of Gennaro.

LeGarrette Blount

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    In recent years, current New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has become known as a bulling runner, hitting nothing but defenders who might get in his way on the football field.

    Back in the opening game of the 2009 season while still playing at the University of Oregon, though, Blount smoked an opposing player in a different way—with a closed fist after a close loss.

    Sucker-punching Boise State's Byron Hout cost Blount the rest of his season.

Shayla Cooper

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    Unlike others on this list, Georgetown women's basketball player Shayla Cooper didn't do anything that might be considered crazy, but it was definitely something that few—if any—players have ever done before.

    In a game against Richmond just a few weeks ago, Cooper didn't think she could block an opposing player's three-point attempt, so she tossed her shoe at her as a distraction instead.

    Hmm...that's not exactly legal—though I do give Shayla props for thinking on her toes, literally.

This Hockey Player

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    Good God, man.

    I've seen some crazy things people have used hockey sticks for—remember Casey Jones from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flicks?—but never has there been a dude who has used it as an ax.

    OK, maybe I'm wrong and people have before, but to do it in a game to knock out an opponent has to be up there with Happy Gilmore's record of being the only guy to take off his skate and try to stab somebody with it, right?

Delmon Young

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    Much like the last guy I showed you who used his equipment as a weapon, former No. 1 overall pick Delmon Young once did the same thing while on the baseball field in dispute of a call—earning him a long suspension.

    I hate seeing bats flying, but I'm talking about the black, furry ones that live in dark places, not wooden ones coming from a pro baseball player.

    Young proved one thing to me with this bat fling—to never heckle him.

Tuuka Rask

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    Someone really needs to have an intervention with Boston Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask, because he seems to have some legit anger problems.

    Not only did he prove that when he went ape crazy during a game back in 2009 while with the minor league Providence Bruins here, tossing anything in sight on the ice, but then he flipped out after losing in a shootout just a few weeks ago.

    Take a deep breath, Tuuka, everything will be OK, I promise it will.

Marcus Hall Lets His Birds Fly

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    Growing up in Ohio, I'm all too familiar with the hatred my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes have for that "School Up North," but current OSU offensive lineman Marcus Hall showed just how testy things can get following an altercation in this past weekend's contest.

    After getting tossed for his involvement in a scuffle with Michigan players, Hall exited the field with wings spread and his two little birdies telling the packed crowd just how he felt about the call and the whole state of Michigan.

Randall Simon

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    While aforementioned French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad deserves a few scowls for his knockdown of a 14-year-old mascot last year, former MLB player Randall Simon sits atop his perch as the biggest abuser of a dressed-up character.

    Taking a swing with a bat toward Guido, the Italian Sausage during the famed sausage race at Milwaukee Brewers games, Simon knocked out the spicy meat, earning a $432 fine.

    Editor's Note: Skip to :58-second mark of the video.

Eric Cantona

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    There are a ton of athletes who have done things before that they regret, but not former Manchester United great Eric Cantona.

    After receiving a red card for tripping opposing player Richard Shaw, Cantona didn't go nuts on the ref or another player, instead taking his frustration out on Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons.

    As for that whole regret thing, Cantona once said, "I have a lot of good moments, but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan."

    So yeah, it doesn't sound like he's too apologetic about doing it.

Izzy Alcantara

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    A seldom-used utility player who played just three seasons in the Majors, former baseball player Izzy Alcantara had one of his biggest hits with his feet!

    Back during a 2001 minor league game, Izzy went nuts following a pitch that he thought was a little bit too far inside, back-kicking the catcher in the chest and rushing the mound like a wild man.

    While you'd imagine the dude copped a fat suspension and/or fine, Alcantara was actually only docked six games and a spot in the International League's All-Star Game.

Mike Tyson

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    Knowing what we do about former boxer Mike Tyson, I'm sure there isn't a person out there who's surprised to see him this high on my list—after all, this guy once told an opponent he'd "eat his children." (1:17 mark)

    Thankfully, "Iron Mike" never ate any humans—that I know of—but he did take a little appetizer once when he bit the ears of opponent Evander Holyfield back during a 1997 bout between the two.

    A person has to be pretty whacked-out to do this just once, but Tyson actually did it twice—costing the fighter $3 million and his boxing license.

Zinedine Zidane

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    Of all the tremendous things that former French national team captain Zinedine Zidane did for the sport of soccer, one of his most famous was actually this bull-rushed headbutt he did on Italian player Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Final—earning him a red card in an ultimate defeat.

    While most people wouldn't want to be recognized for doing something as boneheaded as Zidane did, "Zizu" actually had a statue erected in his honor—which has since been removed.

    This proved to everyone out there that there is such a thing as crossing the line on trash talk.

Malice at the Palace

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    Fans, remember to refrain from tossing any objects onto the playing surface, because if you don't, a pro athlete might just take matters into his own hands.

    That's what former Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest did here, going after a scrawny little dude in glasses—who wasn't even the fan who threw the cup in the first place.

    With the 10-year anniversary of this happening just a few weeks ago—which is nuts to think about—Artest going into the stands is still the ultimate example of an athlete completely losing it and, luckily, hasn't been repeated since.

    The silver lining here is that Artest and the fan who did throw the cup are now friends, so that's a positive.