No sooner had David Haye lost a lopsided unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in a July 2 heavyweight unification fight than the 30-year-old Briton revealed he'd suffered a broken pinkie toe in training (even tweeting a photo of the toe in question shortly after the final bell). Haye hadn't mentioned the injury in the build-up to the fight, saying he was in the best shape of his life. Responded the victorious Klitschko at the post-fight press conference: "Never say anything right now in the way of 'I had a broken toe; that's why I couldn't compete.' It's called a sore loser." Haye's alibi is merely the latest in a long line of head-scratchers.
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The coach of North Korea's women's soccer team served up an electrifying excuse after his team's 2-0 loss to the United States in the opening match of the 2011 Women's World Cup, saying they lost because at least five of his players were struck by lightning at their pre-tournament training camp in Pyongyang.
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After testing positive for the performance-enhancer dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and receiving a 10-game suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy, Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo said an energy drink he bought at a gas station must have contained the banned substance. "I didn't know it had any bad substances in it, and it caused a 10-game suspension," Mayo said. "It's not like I went to a GNC and got some Muscle Armor or ordered some supplement off the Internet or anything. It was just a local gas station that kind of got me hemmed up."
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Houston linebacker Brian Cushing believes he tested positive for HCG because he has a unique medical condition stemming from overtrained athlete syndrome.
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In March, the tennis pro was suspended by the ITF for two years after testing positive for cocaine. In July, Gasquet successfully appealed the ban by claiming that the coke got into his system when he French-kissed a woman in a nightclub who must have been using the Bolivian marching powder.
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Two drug tests say the NASCAR driver has used methamphetamine. Mayfield has hotly disputed the results, saying that he inhaled toxic fumes from a fiery wreck at Talladega, the testing system is flawed and corrupt, and that NASCAR has paid his stepmother to lie about his alleged past drug use.
7 of 25Bob Rosato/SI
The Steelers linebacker blew off an invitation to join his Super Bowl champion teammates at the White House in May, saying, "If you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, [President Obama] would've invited Arizona if they had won."
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The Olympic track champion told talk show host Oprah Winfrey in 2008 that she'd lied to federal prosecutors about using steroids because she didn't love herself enough.
9 of 25Simon Bruty/SI
While testifying before Congress in 2008, the Rocket insisted that his personal trainer, Brian McNamee, had injected him with lidocaine and vitamine B-12, not steroids, and that former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte "misremembered" their having a chat about illicit performance-enhancers.
10 of 25Greg Nelson/SI
The Golden State Warrior said he hurt his ankle in August 2008 while playing pick-up ball, but it was later revealed that he'd had a moped accident. Ellis had a reason to fib: He'd just signed a six-year, $66 million contract.
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In January 2007, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was detained at Miami Airport when security scanners found a hidden compartment in his water bottle that smelled like marijuana and appeared to contain residue. Vick insisted the compartment was just a stash box ... for his jewelry.
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The 2006 Tour de France winner had several interesting excuses for why his blood sample revealed elevated testosterone. First it was a night of heavy drinking. Then it was his body doing its natural thing. Then, after arbitrators ruled in favor of his disqualification: "There's something going on here other than trying to figure out the science." The only catch: the testosterone was synthetic.
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After failing to medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, the American figure skater said, "I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura. I was black inside."
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The former Dallas Cowboys receiver said the crack pipe found in his car during a 2005 traffic stop in Texas belonged to an addicted friend that he was trying to help through rehab.
15 of 25Robert Beck/SI
The Rockies shortstop broke his collarbone in 2005 and said he'd fallen on a flight of stairs while carrying "groceries" up to his apartment. It turned out that he was actually carrying deer meat after a day of hunting at teammate Todd Helton's ranch. "I just didn't think it was right to bring Todd Helton into something like this," Barmes told the Denver Post .
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After telling Congress that he had never used steroids "period," the Orioles first baseman came up dirty in August 2005. He then insisted he must have taken steroids by accident.
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The 2004 Olympic 100-meter champion and co-world record-holder claimed he'd flunked a doping test in 2006 because a masseuse with a grudge had rubbed testosterone cream into his legs instead of lotion.
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After the Olympic cycling champion failed a doping test in 2004, he claimed the presence of genetically different red blood cells in his specimen belonged to a "vanishing twin" that had shared their mother's uterus with him. Hamilton was banned for two years and retired in April 2009 after failing another test.
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In 2004, the Denver Nuggets star was busted at Denver International Airport when marijuana was found in his backpack. Anthony insisted the pot belonged to an out-of-town "friend" who'd borrowed the backpack and left the wacky weed inside.
20 of 25 Ray Stubblebine/Icon SMI
In his 2004 book My Prison Without Bars , baseball's all-time hits leader claimed that he couldn't stop gambling on baseball because he has "oppositional defiant disorder."
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While testifying in the BALCO investigation of 2003, the noticeably larger Giants slugger insisted that the clear liquid he'd received from trainer Greg Anderson and taken was merely flaxseed oil.
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The San Francisco Giants second baseman broke his left wrist during spring training in Scottsdale, AZ in 2002, claiming he'd fallen off his pickup truck while washing it. Several witnesses claimed he was actually doing a wheelie on his motorcycle.
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In 1992 Olympic 5,000-meter gold medalist flunked a steroids test in 1999 and insisted that someone had spiked his toothpaste.
24 of 25Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
After the 1988 Olympic 100-meter champion was disqualified for flunking a steroids test, he claimed that a herbal energy drink he'd enjoyed before the race had been spiked by a mystery man connected to rival Carl Lewis.
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And, finally, an excuse that actually stands up, from the Yankees' beloved catcher and Hall of Famer: "Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."
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