The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

Over 2.2K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Voting Rules
Athletes from any sport that have been embroiled in controversy, such as domestic disputes, sex scandals, cheating accusations, etc.
Latest additions: Fernando Tatis Jr., Trevor Bauer, Tyreek Hill
Most divisive: Shoeless Joe Jackson

Sports stars are one part celebrity, one part athlete. Like so many celebrities, some sports stars are prone to scandal. These sports stars 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!

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