Controversial The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
12.6k votes 1.4k voters 27.1k views 61 items

List Rules Athletes in any sport that have been embroiled in controversy - domestic disputes, sex scandals, cheating accusations, anything really

Sports stars are one part celebrity, one part athlete. Like so many celebrities, some sports stars are prone to scandal. These sports stars are were involved some of the biggest controversies of all time, and many remain controversial figures to this day despite being retired.

O.J Simpson is perhaps the biggest controversial athlete of all time, for "not killing his ex-wife" in 1994. Remember when one of the best NBA players of all time, LeBron James, took his talents to South Beach? That was definitely a case of a sports star who caused controversy. And then, of course, there's Anna Kournikova, who has caused controversy simply for being beautiful.

Which athletes do you think are the most controversial of all time? What is your definition of controversy? Is it off-the-field antics like the domestic drama surrounding Tiger Woods, or is it on-the-court antics like John McEnroe's famous profane meltdowns?

Which is worse, steroids or biting off someone's ear? The choice is yours! Vote up the stars who've caused the most controversy and if we missed any scandalous athletes, add them to the controversial sport stars list!
list ordered by
1
603 98
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 72
2
431 165
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 53
3
395 157
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
4
294 108
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 30
5
293 144
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 39
6
280 126
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 49
7
301 168
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 58
8
196 73
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
9
257 140
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 55
10
263 171
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 44
11
259 141
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added age 70
12
190 101
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 32
13
163 100
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added age 27
14
207 149
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
15
152 110
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 44
16
198 119
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 78
17
184 123
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
18
128 78
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 46
19
168 147
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 77
20
106 86
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 58
21
111 75
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 56
22
115 99
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 32
23
107 65
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 60
24
101 70
Jose Canseco is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
RobLein added age 55
25
101 76
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 38