A Soundtrack of Sports Love Stories Gone Wrong

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2016

A Soundtrack of Sports Love Stories Gone Wrong

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Sports, like life, are full of love stories. Unfortunately, and also like life, the stories don't all have happy endings.

    Cleveland fans rejoiced when their team drafted Johnny Manziel in 2014. St. Louis taxpayers paid for (and are still paying for) a swanky new stadium for Stan Kroenke and the St. Louis Rams in 1995.

    Now look at them. Where did it all go wrong? How did they fall apart?

    Love stories go wrong in sports all the time, but the following are 12 recent examples. Some relationships devolved over time. Some ended abruptly. In some cases, the relationship is still hanging on, but in a damaged capacity. Any way you slice it, one thing remains true for all. It's like Pat Benatar said, "Love is a battlefield."

    Just for fun, there is an accompanying song for each situation. For instance, by the looks of it, Eric Weddle is never, ever, ever, ever getting back together with the San Diego Chargers. Like, ever.

    Warning: Some song links include NSFW lyrics. 

Eric Weddle and the Chargers

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Song: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift

    "We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together
    Like, ever..."

    Free safety Eric Weddle has played all nine of his NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers. The team drafted him in 2007 and saw him become an All-Pro defensive back.  

    In December, Weddle's daughter performed at halftime of the Chargers' final home game. He was later fined $10,000 by the team for choosing to watch her performance (which is, if possible, even more absurd than DeAngelo Williams and all the eye black fines).

    Weddle, who is set to become a free agent, has reportedly been unhappy with the lack of contract talks since at least April. The halftime fine, along with the team's subsequent placing of Weddle on the injured reserve list, might have been the final nail in the coffin of his time in San Diego.

    Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote, "The relationship was salvageable. Now it is in ashes."

    For his part, Weddle said, "I will probably never talk to them again," per WPTZ.com.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Tottenham

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Song: "Alimony" by Ry Cooder

    "Can't you cut down all my payment? 
    Alimony is killing me"

    Emmanuel Adebayor first came to the Tottenham Hotspur in 2011 on loan from Manchester City. After a 17-goal campaign, the club decided to put a ring on it and make the Togolese forward a staple fixture.

    However, he scored just 18 goals in 47 appearances after the move became permanent, and he hadn't played with the Hotspur at all in the 2015-16 season. That, along with off-field distractions, led the team to sour on him.

    According to BBC Sport, Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino said in September the forward was not "in my mind or in the plans for the future of Spurs."

    The team and Adebayor agreed to a mutual parting in September, though they are still paying him £100,000 (over $140,000) per week.

Chip Kelly and the Eagles

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Song: "Bye Bye Bye" by 'N Sync

    "Don't wanna be a fool for you
    Just another player in your game for two
    You may hate me but it ain't no lie,
    Baby, bye, bye, bye...

    When the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly to be their coach in 2013, many fans were elated. Kelly had been a successful college coach at Oregon, and according to Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, "Eagles fans on Twitter, BGN, and other various social media outlets alike were going crazy with excitement."

    In three seasons as the head coach, Kelly made just one playoff appearance. He led the team to back-to-back 10-6 records in 2013 and 2014, but he was let go after a Week 16 loss to Washington dropped the Eagles' 2015 record to 6-9.

    Not only had Kelly failed to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, but patience for his risky roster moves seemed to have run out.

Drake and Kentucky Basketball

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    Song: "Company" by (duh) Drake

    "I need a girl from the country
    I need a girl from Kentucky"

    Oh Drake and Kentucky. It was so good for a while, wasn't it? According to Ricky Doyle of NESN, the longtime Wildcat basketball fan even received a 2012 championship ring from the school, engraved "Drizzy."

    Then in April, things started to go downhill. According to Kami Mattioli of the Sporting News, Kentucky self-reported a recruiting violation that occurred when Drake took photos with prospects in 2014. The school also sent Drake a cease-and-desist letter. Ouch.

    To make matters worse, in October, Kentucky self-reported another violation that involved Drake giving "preferential treatment" to a player at one of his concerts.

    Coach John Calipari says all is well, but it's definitely been a bumpy year for the Drake-Kentucky union.  

Zack Greinke and the Dodgers

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Song: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West

    She take my money, when I'm in need
    Yeah she's a triflin' friend indeed
    Oh, she's a gold digger, way over town
    That digs on me

    Sometimes in relationships, it's all about the money. In 2013, then-Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said, "I could play for the worst team if they paid the most," per Jon Heyman, who was writing for CBS Sports at the time.

    The Dodgers picked up Greinke in 2012 via free agency, to the tune of six years and $147 million. There was that little matter of the opt-out clause after three years, however.

    Despite achieving success with L.A. alongside fellow Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw—three straight division titles worth—Greinke exercised that clause in November and became a free agent.

    In December, he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks—who haven't had a winning season since 2011—for six years and $206.5 million.

L.A. Kings and Mike Richards

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    Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Song: "Leave (Get Out)" by JoJo

    "Get out, (leave) right now 
    It's the end of you and me"

    NHL center Mike Richards signed a pro-rated, one-year deal with the Washington Capitals in January, taking the first step toward redemption after a nasty breakup with the Los Angeles Kings.

    Once the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Richards was traded to L.A. in 2011, and the Kings took over his 12-year, $69 million contract.

    At the time of the trade, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said, "Mike Richards is not only one of the top players in the league, he's also universally recognized as one of the finer leaders in the game and one of its elite competitors. Additionally, given that he's only 26-years-old and he's on a long-term contract, he fits our plan now and for the long-term future."

    In October, Richards was arrested at the U.S./Canadian border in an incident related to Oxycodone, and the Kings voided his contract for a "material breach."

Kevin McHale and the Rockets

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    Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    Song: "Someone Like You" by Adele 

    "Never mind, I'll find someone like you
    I wish nothing but the best for you too"

    Less than one year after getting a three-year, $12 million extension with the Houston Rockets, head coach Kevin McHale was fired.

    At the time of the extension, team general manager Daryl Morey tweeted, "Very excited about Coach McHale's extension. He is the winningest coach in Rockets history and knows what it takes to win championships."

    Yet, after a slow (4-7) start to the 2015-16 season, the powers that be changed their minds and let him go. McHale told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, "It wasn't working."

    This one appeared more amicable, at least outwardly. And apparently, it didn't take long for other NBA teams to reach out to the playoff coach.

Michel Platini and FIFA

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    Song: "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake

    "You don't have to say, what you did,
    I already know, I found out from him
    Now there's just no chance, for you and me, there'll never be

    Amid the mess that was the FIFA scandal of 2015, Michel Platini looked like he might actually emerge with his relationship with football intact.

    As former president Sepp Blatter became further embroiled in scandal, the UEFA president looked poised to take Blatter's place and be elected FIFA's next boss. Platini's love affair with football has been long and heralded. He was once France's leading international goalscorer.

    However, in December, FIFA banned Platini (and Blatter) from football for eight years after an ethics committee found he had accepted a "disloyal payment" from Blatter.

    According to BBC Sport, the ethics committee found, "Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities."

Josh Hamilton and the Rangers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Song: "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5

    "Oh baby, give me one more chance
    (To show you that I love you)
    Won't you please let me back in your heart"

    Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton represents one of those rare sports love stories—he left Texas, and then Texas took him back.

    After five All-Star seasons with the Rangers, Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012.

    Unfortunately for Hamilton and the Angels, his production dipped immediately. In 2013, he hit .250 with 21 home runs, and in 2014, injury limited him to just 89 games. In 2015, the Angels dealt Hamilton back to Texas.

    Upon his return, Hamilton said, "I'm excited to be back home. I have a lot of good memories of Texas, a lot of big games won," per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Robert Griffin III and Washington

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Song: "Don't Speak" by No Doubt

    "Our memories 
    Well, they can be inviting 
    But some are altogether 
    Mighty frightening" 

    When Robert Griffin III was drafted second overall in the 2012 NFL draft, he was touted as a savior in Washington. Almost 20,000 people attended his introduction at FedEx Field, at which he sang the fight song, much to the pleasure of his adoring fans.

    Less than four years later, his release from the team is imminent. What went wrong? Injuries, disagreements with coaches, benching—the better question probably is, what didn't go wrong?

    Washington will move on—and to a large degree, already has—and so will RGIII. After Washington's home playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, Griffin left a kind of breakup letter in his locker at FedEx Field which made the whole thing feel a little sad but at least provided some closure. 

Stan Kroenke and St. Louis

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    Nick Ut/Associated Press

    Song: "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon

    "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you"

    Stan Kroenke became a part-owner of the Los Angeles Rams in 1995, when the team moved from Southern California to St. Louis. The Missouri businessman became the principle owner in 2010, and Jere Longman of the New York Times wrote Kroenke was "once a local hero."

    He was a hero, that is, until he moved the team back to California. Not only did Kroenke push for the move, but he punched St. Louis in the gut while he was at it.  

    Per Barry Petchesky of Deadspin, the Rams' relocation application stated, "St. Louis lags, and will continue to lag, far behind in the economic drivers that are necessary for sustained success of an NFL franchise," among other unflattering claims about the city. 

    With the departure, Kroenke has also left St. Louis taxpayers hanging, still on the hook for millions of dollars owed toward the Edward Jones Dome.

    Jim Salter of the Associated Press wrote (via ABC News) Kroenke is a "common enemy" in St. Louis and reported one fan, Terry Cook, said, "Billionaires usually get what they want. It doesn't matter what the people want."

Johnny Manziel and Cleveland

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    Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

    Song: "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson 

    "Here I am, once again
    I'm torn into pieces
    Can't deny it, can't pretend
    Just thought you were the one"

    When the Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Johnny Manziel No. 22 overall at the 2014 NFL draft, Cleveland fans rejoiced (to a semi-ridiculous degree). Was he the one who would finally make the tape jersey obsolete? 

    Almost two years later, Manziel's performance on the field has been lackluster, and his off-field troubles have left many opining his days in Cleveland are numbered.

    In fact, new head coach Hue Jackson told Jason Cole and Ty Schalter of Bleacher Report radio Manziel's latest (rumored) Vegas-related tryst makes him a "non-starter." He added, "I think what we need to do is look to the future and find what we think is going to be the best fit for us and go from there," per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

    Even Cleveland legend LeBron James has put some distance between himself and the embattled QB.


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