These Controversial Suspensions Have Us Wondering Who’s Making The Rules In Professional Sports
Every sport has a set of written rules. When athletes break these rules, they get suspended. The problem is, the length of suspensions compared to the “crime” of the athlete don’t always seem to match. Do you think a six-game suspension for intentionally hitting a player with 97 mile-per-hour fastball is enough during a 162 game season? Or how about a delayed suspension for making racist gestures during the World Series? You’re about to learn about all of these controversial suspensions and more! Were they too long or too short? You help us decide!
Urban Meyer Was Taken Off The Sidelines For Three Games
Ohio State University thought it would silence its critics after suspending head coach Urban Meyer three games for lying about knowledge of Zach Smith’s behavior in 2015. That was the year Smith was fired for allegedly hitting his wife, Courtney. Meyer said at the time he had now knowledge of Smith’s actions.
In 2018, text messages revealed Meyer was lying. Ohio State launched an investigation and punished Meyer with a three game suspension. During this suspension, he can still run all team practices and team meetings. Do you think the time fits the alleged crime?
Yuli Gurriel Gets His World Series Suspension Delayed To The Start Of The 2018 Season
If there was anything bad to say about the epic 2018 World Series match-up between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, it would have to be the delayed suspension of Houston slugger Yuli Gurriel. After hitting a home run off Yu Darvish, Gurriel looked at the pitcher and imitated “slanted eyes.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Gurriel for the first five games of the next season, without pay. In defense of not suspending him the rest of the series (as fans cried out for), Manfred stated, “I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer.”
Draymond Green’s Suspension Might Have Cost The Warriors A Championship
In one of the great “what ifs?” of Bay Area sports fans, the Warriors had a 3-1 series lead during the 2016 NBA Finals when Draymond Green was suspended. During the playoffs, Green showed a tendency to attack opponents “most sensitive” area. During the Finals, the league had enough and suspended him for Game Five.
As you remember, the Warriors went on to lose the last three games of the Finals, handing Cleveland its first trophy in over 50 years. At the end of the day, Bay Area fans can’t really complain. Kevin Durant signed with them during the off season and they’ve been unbeatable since.
Michael Vick Was Suspended For Two Games For Dog Fighting
Michael Vick’s NFL career will forever be marred by the two years he spent in prison for running a dog fighting ring. Setting records as the Falcons’ quarterback, he was hot off the heels of signing a $100 million contract when he was arrested and charged.
When Vick got out of prison, he was suspended for two games by the NFL. The length of his suspension is far too little for many, who view Vick’s crime as unforgivable. Playing with the Eagles, Vick enjoyed a brief career resurgence before injuries took over the back end of his career.
Jose Urena Loses Two Starts For Throwing At Ronald Acuna Jr.
There’s an unwritten rule in baseball that makes it okay to hit a batter if he did something offensive first. That wasn’t the case when Jose Urena took it upon himself to hit Ronald Acuna Jr. with a 97 mile-per-hour pitch to start a game in 2018. What was Acuna Jr.’s crime, you ask? He had hit a home run in three straight games.
Urena was ejected immediately and suspended six games by MLB. As a starting pitcher, that means he missed one to two starts depending on his spot in the rotation. To us, this seems far too light for the crime if MLB really wanted to send a message about in-game violence and behavior.
No One Knows How Pacman Jones Is Still In The NFL
Adam “Pacman” Jones had a chance to to be a great NFL player. Correction: Adam “Pacman” Jones still has a chance to be a great NFL player. Despite a career marred by suspensions, the defensive back and kick returner is set to suit up for the Denver Broncos for the 2018 season.
Jones’ first suspension lasted one season after he left a men paralyzed during a night club fight. When the NFL reinstated him, he got into another fight and was hit with an indefinite suspension. After an appeal, the suspension was reduced to four games to the shock of fans around the country.
The NBA Hands Down 146 Total Games In Suspensions For “The Malice At The Palace”
You know an incident is controversial when it gets a name. “The Malace at the Palace” happened during a regular season game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. Indiana star Ron Artest was laying on the scoring table when a fan threw a drink at him. He went after the fan and a brawl between players and crowd ensued.
The NBA came down hard on the nine players involved with the fight. Artest was given an 86 game suspension, topping the list. The suspensions hurt players in their pocket books too, costing a total of $11 million in pay.
Big Ben Roethlisberger Was Suspended Without Proof Of His Crime
The NFL was looking to make an example of Ben Roethlisberger in 2010 when it suspended him six games for “violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.” Roethlisberger was accused at the time of sexually assaulting a woman in his hotel room. Later, a second woman accused Roethlisberger of the same crime.
Big Ben wasn’t charged in either incident because of a lack of evidence. Still, Roethlisberger was forced to participate in the league’s, “professional behavior evaluation.” At the time, he was the only NFL player suspended for being cleared of wrongdoing by a court of law.
Albert Belle Was Suspended Seven Games For Trying To Cover Up Using A Corked Bat
In another case of MLB slapping a player on wrist instead of making an appropriate example of them, Albert Belle was suspended a mere seven games in 1994 for using a corked bat. Unwilling to use a normal bat, Belle even sent one of his teammates into the umpire’s office to retrieve his illegal one.
We understand how getting caught with a corked bat would be only seven games. But being caught trying to steal your bat back from the league feels like it should be worse. There are 162 games in an MLB season, so Albert Belle probably wasn’t sweating losing seven paychecks.
Amare Stoudemire And Boris Diaw Were Suspended For Breaking Up A Fight
You read that headline correctly. During the 2007 NBA Western Conference semifinals, Phoenix Suns players Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw and were suspended after leaving the bench to break up a fight between Steve Nash and Robert Horry. Horry was appropriately suspended two games, and that’s where the punishment should have ended.
Stoudemire and Diaw were both hit with one game suspensions for, “leaving the immediate vicinity of their bench.” Again, they left the bench to break up a fight. We’re not sure how that’s really a punishable offense. Suns’ fans still blame the league for losing the semifinals and their shot at the NBA Finals.
In 1999, Atlanta Braves closer John Rocker was on top of the world when Sports Illustratedran a feature on him. The feature destroyed his reputation after several racially insensitive remarks were published. We can’t repeat what we said here, just know he has strong thoughts on the kind of people who live in New York.
For his colorful language, MLB issued him a 28-game suspension. If you think that’s not enough, you’ll hate learning that it was reduced to 14 games before the season started. In 2014, Rocker published an autobiography claiming he was a changed man.
Ty Cobb Takes Us Back To 1912 With This Oldie But Goodie
Ty Cobb is remembered today as one of the best MLB players ever. Revered by millions, few remember when he was suspended in 1912 for fighting a disabled fan during a game. At the time, Cobb defended himself, saying the fan was, ‘a character who had ridden me hard in past New York appearances.”
Cobb’s teammates came to his defense, staging a strike against the sport. Historically, Cobb’s suspension, and his teammates protest were the beginning of the MLB Players Union. Cobb probably shouldn’t have fought his suspension (his actions were pretty indefensible), but his fight resulted in one of the sports most positive associations.
“Deflategate” Put Tom Brady’s GOAT Status In Question
East Coast sports fans will always and forever consider Tom Brady the greatest of all time (GOAT) at the quarterback position, but the rest of the nation isn’t so sure. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season after he was caught deflating balls before games beneath the NFL’s air limit.
Brady and the Patriots fought the NFL tooth and nail on the suspension, but ultimately lost. To this day they still maintain their innocence in the matter. With five Super Bowl championships to his name, none of us are denying how great Tommy “Football” is. Since the controversy though, we’ll always ask just how great he really is.
Ray Rice Lost Two Games For Aggravated Assault
Before you say anything, we know Ray Rice lost his career after video was released of him dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator. This list is about suspensions, though, and Rice was only suspended two games by the NFL for his actions.
Perhaps playing into the NFL’s decision was the fact that no charges were ever filed and Rice married his girlfriend shortly after. Still, the league was highly criticized for its decision and now implements a six-game automatic suspension for domestic violence cases. In changing the policy, Roger Goodell referenced the Rice case, saying he “didn’t get it right.”
Greg Hardy Took The NFL To Court And Won
Before he joined the UFC, Greg Hardy was one of the NFL’s best defensive linemen. He was also one of the most violent off the field. In 2015, the NFL suspended Hardy 10-games for domestic violence. However, Hardy was never charged with a crime when his accuser failed to show up in court.
Feeling like his own rights had been violated, Hardy took the NFL to court. A neutral arbitrator listened the case and lowered the suspension to four games, saying, “10 games is simply too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year.”
Five Knicks Were Suspended At The Same Time During The 1997 Playoffs
This is one of the harshest suspensions the NBA ever handed down. It easily killed the Knicks’ NBA Finals chances when the league suspended five players for fighting with the Heat during a 1997 playoff game. The brawl that caused the suspensions started when a Heat player body slammed Charlie Ward into sideline photographers.
New York players ran to the aid of their teammate and punches were thrown. The NBA gave players, including the Knicks’ top two scorers, a total of seven games worth of suspensions. By handing down the controversial suspensions, the league was trying to put an end to the increasing number of on-court brawls.
Raffi Torres Was Suspended 41 Games By The NHL In 2015
Raffi Torres received the second longest suspension in NHL history after he illegally checked Jakob Silfverberg in the head during a preseason game. The 41 game suspension cost Torres half the season and nearly half a million dollars. We would have been okay if it cost him the whole season and over a million dollars. When the suspension was up, he was sent to the Sharks AHL affiliate.
The longest suspension in NHL history (for those curious) was given to Billy Coutu in 1927. He was suspended by the league for life after attacking a referee during the Stanley Cup under his coaches orders.
Chris Simon Was Given A Light Suspension By The NHL After His Second Offense
Unlike other sports, the NHL knows how to hand down a suspension, which makes the case of Chris Simon odd. He earned a well-warranted 25-game suspension for swinging his stick at a player in 2006. When he struck again in 2007, you can argue the league wasn’t as harsh as it could have been.
Once 2007 rolled around, Simon still had some anger to get out and did it by slamming his skate down on another player’s foot. For his second offense, Simon was banished for 30 games. For context, Raffi Torres’ 41-game suspension nearly doubled his previous suspension for excessive violence on the ice.
Pete Rose Has Arguably Paid His Price
When talking about MLB suspensions, they usually go way too far, or don’t go nearly far enough. When Pete Rose received his lifetime ban for gambling on the sport he loved, it seemed oddly appropriate. Decades later, though, it seems unfair that one of the greatest hitters of all-time will never find his place in Cooperstown. It’s not like he did steroids or anything!
Rose has submitted papers for reinstatement by the league several times, most recently in 2015. In upholding his ban, the league said Rose did not have a, “mature understanding of his wrongful conduct.”
MLB Threw The Book At Alex Rodriguez
In 2013, MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez became embroiled in the Biogenesis Scandal. The athlete, who had denied steroid use in the past, was listed as having received HGH from Biogenesis of America. MLB suspended Rodgriguez for 211 games, a record for steroid use at the time.
The controversial part of this suspension is the length. Technically this was Rodriguez’s first offense and should have been a 50 game suspension. Because the scandal put his previous denials in questions, the league determined his behavior “constituted conduct detrimental to baseball” and threw the book at him.