From hotheaded outbursts to excessive partying and illicit steroid use, the world of professional sports has never been short of athletes courting controversy. Here are five sports stars making headlines for their antics on and off the courts:
The 22-year-old tennis star, who is currently ranked 25th in the world, was arrested on Wednesday at the W Hotel in Miami after other guests complained about the noise coming from Tomic’s $7,000-a-night penthouse suite.
It’s not his first brush with the law. He’s racked up multiple speeding fines including one in his Ferrari and in 2012, police were called after reports that Tomic and another man were brawling outdoors at a Surfer’s Paradise, Australia apartment complex. He’s been getting criticized for tanking on court, not trying in matches, and snapping at reporters. And when he was a brash young 16-year-old the prodigy snubbed Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt’s offer of a hit-around, saying the Grand Slam winner wasn’t “Good enough.”
Another young Aussie tennis hotshot (and hothead), 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios’s on-court prowess has caught global attention but so has his sometimes less than sportsmanlike behavior. The ATP’s 41st highest-ranked player’s indiscretions seem to be confined to on the court so far but Kyrgios had a particularly eventful Wimbledon.
At one point, he slammed his racket into the ground, only to see it bounce into the watching crowds. In a separate incident shouted out ‘dirty scum’ though later he said he was referring to himself and not the umpire. Accusations that he gave up in his fourth-round loss against Richard Gasquet, however, did not result in any official sanction.
Michael Phelps may be the most decorated Olympian of all time, snagging 22 medals over his swimming career, but those aren’t his only records. Last October, he was charged for driving under the influence in his hometown of Baltimore, the second time he’s been arrested for drunk driving.
The court sentenced to 18 months probation prompting USA Swimming to put a six-month suspension on the swimmer. Phelps, who over the years has also been caught by the cameras cozying up to strippers and smoking marijuana, apologized over Twitter for the incident and checked himself into rehab.
With its firework-induced bathroom fires, and cigar and golf club-enhanced teammate altercations, English football has long been the home of the bad boy. Once held by the likes of Mario Balotelli, Joey Barton and Luis Suarez, the latest target of supporter’s ire is 20-year-old Raheem Sterling, who recently became the most expensive English football player of all time.
The midfielder, who has previously been censured for getting high on laughing gas, recently garnered a significant amount of flack for the way he went about securing his recent transfer to Manchester City. In January, he rejected a renewed contract reportedly worth £100,000 ($157,000) per week from his club, Liverpool. He requested to be left out of the team’s preseason tour to Asia and called in sick two days running in what appeared to an effort to force the club to let him out of his contractual obligations. On Sunday, he signed a deal to transfer to Manchester City for £49 million ($77 million), and, one might imagine, a hefty increase on his Liverpool salary.
Controversy has never been too far from baseball great Alex Rodriguez. He’s been in and out of the news for his personal life, facing numerous allegations of infidelity and prostitute patronizing. On the professional front, A-Rod is just returning from a year-long suspension from Major League Baseball after his most recent indiscretion, admitting last November to the Drug Enforcement Agency that he’d used performance-enhancing drugs.
At the ESPY awards on Wednesday, he appeared with actor Ken Jeong to deliver a send up of an apology speech, conspicuously leaving out any mention of his drug use.