Sports

The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
13.1k votes 1.4k voters 28.2k 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
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 72
2
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 53
3
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
4
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 30
5
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 39
6
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 49
7
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 58
8
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 55
9
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
10
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added age 70
11
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 44
12
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 32
13
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added age 27
14
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
15
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 44
16
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 78
17
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
18
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 77
19
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 58
20
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 46
21
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 32
22
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 60
23
Jose Canseco is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
RobLein added age 55
24
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 56
25
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 38