Texans linebacker Brian Cushing recently tested positive for HCG — a banned fertility drug — but explained that it was a result of over training. Some athletes go the mental route, such as former MLB ace Roger Clemens “misremembering” his involvement in PEDs.
Other athletes are equally forgetful, such as when Sammy Sosa suddenly forgetting how to speak English heading into his PED hearing or when Shaun Rodgers forgot he had a loaded gun when checking his bag at an airport.
Want a good reason to hide your illegal history? Tell people “you’re not here to speak about the past,” like Mark McGwire famously did on the stand.
There’s also the excuse athletes use when seeking a bigger contract, such as Latrell Sprewell needing an extra few million to “feed his family.” Feed them with 24 karat-dipped Cheerios?
Or if you want an excuse to swear more, get in trouble often and be an all-around bad person, just tell the media that you’re “not a role model,” like Charles Barkley did.
No matter the case, subject or outcome, these excuses — or blatant lies — have always given sports fans a quick laugh. They’ve also given the media a perfect opportunity, and excuse, to jump down their throats.
Here are some of the worst excuses used by athletes.
It was spring training in 2002 when San Francisco Giants second baseman Jeff Kent broke a bone in his left wrist while washing his truck at a self-serve car wash.
Kent, the 2000 National League MVP who owns a white pick up with 4-inch lifts, was at a self-serve car wash when he slipped and broke the vancular bone trying to break his fall.
“I was straddling the back of my truck when I slipped and fell,” said Kent. “I didn’t think much of it at the time and finished washing my truck. It started swelling up during the night and got really sore.
But that’s not what a pair of witnesses saw. In fact, it’s not even close to what they saw.
“He was popping a wheelie and just wiped out,” said witness Leo Vera, one of two to call 911 after the accident, according to the Arizona Republic.
“He was doing probably about 45 mph and totally lost it. The bike threw sparks all around.” Another caller to 911, identified by police as Paige MacDonald, said, “The guy was hot-dogging it all the way. He was doing a wheelie down the road and he smacked into the curb. I drove by and looked at him and I said ‘you’re an idiot for doing this. I’ve seen more guys killed than you can imagine.’ He said: ‘Get the hell out of the way’ and [the rider and the two drivers who stopped] were just throwing [the bike] in the back of the white pickup truck.”
The stereotype of the stoner snowboarder was quickly reinforced in 1998 — the very first year in which snowboarding was introduced to the Olympic Games.
Canadian Ross Rebagliati won the first Olympic gold medal in the sport, but was found to have marijuana in his system. Rebagliati claimed he hadn’t smoked in months and thought the test was a result from secondhand smoke from parties he had attended.
He likely remembered “I didn’t inhale” was already taken by a former U.S. president.
Manny Ramirez seems to always have a surprise up his sleeve. In 2007, the slugger received permission from the Red Sox to report late to spring training for family reasons. His buddy, then-Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez, said that Ramirez’s mother recently had surgery, so general manager Theo Epstein granted his left fielder permission to arrive late.
However, Man-Ram was scheduled to attend the Atlantic City Classic Cars Auction on Saturday, according to the promoter of the auction.
Former Bruins enforcer Marty McSorley made headlines when he was found guilty of assault for his two-handed clubbing of Vancouver Canucks bruiser Donald Brashear in 2000.
The 17-year veteran’s reason for blind-siding Brashear? He was just trying to pick a fight. Apparently pushing, poking, cursing, tapping, yelling, asking, slapping, pinching, checking, begging, spitting, teasing and slashing-anywhere-but-Brashear’s-head weren’t available options with three seconds left on the clock.
At the trial, judge William Kitchen explained, “Brashear was struck as intended,” and McSorley “slashed for the head. A child, swinging as at a tee-ball, would not miss. A housekeeper swinging a carpet-beater would not miss. An NHL player would never, ever miss.”
Former NBA star Jayson Williams is behind bars for the murder of his limo driver, Costas “Gus” Christofi.
But rather than admitting he simply didn’t like Gus’s nickname or the amount of traffic lights he tended to hit while driving Williams around, Williams, who was drinking prior to the incident, came up with a classic excuse.
“I didn’t look in the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointed,” he said, before admitting that his handling of the gun was reckless.
When you can’t blame your teammates, the best thing to do is blame the food. As funny as Chan Ho Park‘s excuse was, I’m still not buying it.
Justin Gatlin won three medals at the 2004 Olympics, including gold in the 100 meters. He tied the world record in the 100 meters in May 2006 when he ran 9.77 seconds. But that record was annulled when it was announced he had tested positive for a banned substance in April 2006.
Trainer Trevor Graham claimed that Gatlin’s masseur, Chris Whetstine, had sabotaged Gatlin by rubbing his legs with a cream that contained a banned substance. Graham claims Whetstine rubbed down Gatlin and refused to show him the cream he used.
French tennis player Richard Gasquet needs to keep his lips to himself.
In 2009, Gasquet tested positive for cocaine after withdrawing from a tournament in Miami. He claimed the trace amount of coke in his system came from making out with a woman named “Pamela” whom he met at a dance music festival “notoriously associated with use of illegal recreational drugs including cocaine.”
Slammin’ Sammy went from fan favorite to the laughing stock of Chicago.
In 2003, Sammy Sosa was ejected from a Chicago Cubs-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game in the first inning when umpires discovered he had been using a corked bat. For some reason, they refused to check his corked blood for steroids — but that’s another story.
Major League Baseball ended up suspending the slugger for seven games. Sosa’s excuse was that he had accidentally used the corked bat, which he claimed he only used during batting practice.
At first, Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour De France, blamed his high levels of testosterone on drinking too much whiskey the night before the race (Ah, if I had a dime for every time I blamed whiskey for my faults…). Unfortunately for Landis, doctors claimed that it was impossible for his high levels to be caused naturally and had to have been caused by synthetic testosterone. They needed doctors to prove this?
Seeing that this excuse was going to fail, Landis backtracked, saying, “The whiskey idea was not mine.”
He then went a comical route — or comic book route — saying his body had naturally created a spike in his testosterone production.
“The levels that I’ve had during the Tour and all my career are natural and produced by my own organism,” Landis said.
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