1 of 25Robert Beck/SI; Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The NFL's use of motley crews of retirees and refugees (including Lingerie Football League castoffs) as scabs in a labor dispute ruffled the feathers of coaches, players, fans and those who placed bets during the first three weeks of the season. The litany of blown calls reached a howling crescendo after the final play of the Seahawks-Packers game on Sept. 24 was ruled an interception by one ref and a TD by another. (The TD stood.) The ensuing manure storm goosed the NFL to reach a deal with its regular officials, who were back at work for the next slate of games.
2 of 25Bill Frakes/SI
The NFL blew the lid off headhunters with a March report that the Saints' former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, had been rewarding his minions with cash for knocking opposing players out of games since 2009. Williams, who `fessed up and got contrite, was banned from the league indefinitely. Also suspended: head coach Sean Payton (2012 season), GM Mickey Loomis (eight games), assistant coach Joe Vitt (six), and players Jonathan Vilma (16), Anthony Hargrove (seven), Will Smith (four) and Scott Fujita (one). A $500,000 fine was tacked on and the Saints also had to cough up second-round 2012 and 2013 draft picks.
3 of 25Simon Bruty/SI
"A massive fraud now full exposed" in the poetic words of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong was relieved of his record-seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life for using performance-enhancing substances. (The International Cycling Union imposed a similar sentence.) Armstrong declined to challenge USADA, but rode off screaming "witch hunt!" despite more than 1,000 pages of damning evidence and testimony from former teammates. As a final indignity, his sponsors fled and the anti-cancer charity he founded dropped his name from its title.
4 of 25Mary Altaffer/AP
Despite record revenues and growing popularity, the hockey league that can't seem to shoot straight failed to avoid its fourth work stoppage since 1992, and third of Gary Bettman's tumultuous tenure as commissioner. As CBA talks sputtered on and off, team owners and the players union accused each other of being unwilling to negotiate while the lockout killed games through November plus the popular Winter Classic on New Year's Day and threatened the entire schedule for the second time since the lost season of 2004-05.
5 of 25Brad Mangin/SI
The 100th anniversary of Fenway Park was dishonored by a fowl season indeed. There was no love lost between Valentine and his players, who were alienated by their new manager's aloof attitude and public criticism. The pitching went to pot, injuries piled up, and the toxic Sox were buried in the basement of the A.L. East for the first time in 11 years, with their worst mark (69-93) since 1965. Valentine became the first BoSox manager since 1934 to wear a pink slip after only one season, but not before his memorable September radio rant in which he told WEEI's Glenn Ordway that he'd "punch" him "right in the mouth" for inquiring if the skipper had "checked out" of the season. CLICK HERE to get an earful.
6 of 25Gareth Patterson/AP
A motorcycle crash on April Fool's Day was the undoing of the Razorbacks' head coach, who was kicked to the curb with no contract buyout nine days later. Apparently, he'd been holding some extramarital tackling and sacking drills on the side and was riding with his sidecar -- mistress Jessica Dorrell, whom he'd questionably hired for a gig in the football department -- when they, according to an eyewitness, literally ended up in a ditch with Petrino's career.
7 of 25Jamie Squire/Getty Images
"We won't have Mota for a while," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said with some understatement after the reliever received 100-game ban in May for testing positive for the stimulant Clenbuterol, an illicit PED. Some folks wondered what good it had done since Mota, 38, had a 5.06 ERA at the time. Cabrera was another matter. In August, the All-Star Game MVP was leading the NL with 159 hits when he was suspended 50 games for using testosterone, which he claimed was in something he'd purchased from a website...that turned out to be bogus. The Melk-Man missed the postseason (and the Giants' World Series triumph), signing with Toronto in November.
8 of 25Andrew Hancock/SI
After four weeks of drug rehab, the All-America cornerback with the sweet nickname returned to LSU...and was busted with three teammates on October 25 for alleged possession of pot (not the kind you cook in). In August, Mathieu had been kicked off the Tigers for failing a drug test (weed again), all this after being suspended for an October 2011 game when synthetic marijuana was detected in his system. Shortly before his most recent arrest, SI reported that his hopes of playing for LSU in 2013 were in danger of going up in smoke due to possible NCAA rules violations regarding improper benefits from a local nightclub.
9 of 25Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMI
A-Rod the lightning rod for Yankees fans' wrath had an underwhelming injury-interrupted season (.272, 18 HR, 57 RBI) but his worst was yet to come. In the playoffs, he batted a robust .120 with 12 strikeouts, inspiring the use of a pinch-hitter six times and earning a ride on the pine during three games. Immobilized, A-Rod still made headlines by flirting with a comely model seated near the Yankees dugout during Game 1 of the ALCS. After Detroit's sweep, there were not-so-polite calls for the Yanks to deal the third baseman they still owe $114 million until 2017. Alas, there was no interest from other teams and even if there had been, A-Rod stated that he won't waive his no-trade clause.
10 of 25Chuck Burton/AP
Minority owner Michael Jordan's woeful squad rode a 23-game skid to exit the 2011-12 season with a 7-59 lockout-shortened slate, good for the most abysmal winning percentage in NBA history (.106, shattering the old mark of .110 held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73). Among the Bobcats' other, ahem, accomplishments: finishing last in the league in scoring and shooting percentage, and losing 22 games by 20 points or more.
11 of 25Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
After hauling in $201 million-worth of free agents plus new manager Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins stank and sank to the bottom of the NL East. Along the way, Guillen didn't exactly endear himself to the local Cuban-American community with his positive comments about Fidel Castro in an interview with Time magazine. A housecleaning began with trades in July and Guillen was canned after the season with three years left on his $10 million contract. Miami then dealt shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and infielder Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto in a 12-player blockbuster.
12 of 25Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Rex Ryan's big green wind machine continued to blow, though not as brashly, after a quarterback controversy began with the acquisition of Tim Tebow. As starter Mark Sanchez drew fire during the team's 4-6 start, Tebow was egged by a dozen anonymous team sources, one of whom termed him "terrible" in the New York Daily News . The rival New York Post followed with the back page headline "Talk of the Clowns" illustrated by the head coach adorned with a bulb-nose and green wig, and offering stories entitled "Rex rips `cowardly' anonymous Jets", "Time for Tim to flee-bow this circus" and "The joke's on Ryan."
13 of 25Fred Brooks/Icon SMI
With Auburn at 2-8 (0-7 in the SEC), a disgruntled fan took to the "We The People" website to petition President Obama to fire the embattled head coach, and athletic director Jay Jacobs while he was at it. (On Nov. 25th, they got their wish, but it wasn't the POTUS who did the deed after a 49-0 loss to Alabama.) Some members of the faithful had donned paper bags during a 38-0 loss to Georgia on Nov. 10 -- when the Tigers had been losing by an average margin of 20.3 points. University President Jay Gogue released the comforting statement that he would evaluate the football program after the season. Turns out that the NCAA was already looking into it...for potential rules violations, according to sources cited by The Birmingham News .
14 of 25David Becker/Getty Images
Still playing well with others, the jolly boxer's eventful year included a two-month stretch in the slammer on a domestic battery rap, an alleged verbal altercation with a woman in Las Vegas that jeopardized his one-year probation, forking over $114,000 to Manny Pacquiao in a defamation lawsuit after claiming that Pacquiao used performance-enhancing drugs, plus a falling out and Twitter war with rapper 50 Cent, with whom Mayweather had formed the short-lived TMT Promotions ("The Money Team").
15 of 25Gerald Herbert/AP
Simply attending a game or event (pick a sport) can bring you into contact with turkeys, but Brian Downing is a particularly unsavory breed. After the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans, Alabama fan Downing was caught on video placing his exposed cohones on a slumbering LSU fan who'd succumbed to the effects of firewater in a Bourbon Street eatery. The fan sued Downing, who'd turned himself in to law enforcement and later pleaded guilty to obscenity charges that rewarded him with two-year stretch in the jug. (What is it with Alabama fans this year? In September, one named Harvey Updyke was charged with allegedly poisoning the landmark oaks at rival Auburn.)
16 of 25Jim Spellman/WireImage
The former NY Giants running back's post-NFL career continued its descent into farce when he co-founded a company that offers you the opportunity to pay handsomely for the chance to engage in wholesome activities with current and former sports luminaries. According to Thuzio.com, Mets infielder Frank Catalanotto will join you for lunch or attend your fantasy draft for $400. Want to play golf with Larry Holmes? That'll be $6,250 an hour, please. Too steep? Tiki will play around, er, a round for the low, low discount price of $1,000. He also does karaoke, as you can see by CLICKING HERE .
17 of 25Andres Leighton/AP(2); Michael Regan/Getty Images; Adek Berry/AFP/GettyImages
NBA and NHL teams have been suspected of losing on purpose to secure a top draft pick, but the shady strategy spread to the London Games where eight players from South Korea, China, Indonesia were suspended for intentionally blowing matches in order to face weaker opponents in an ensuing round. The Olympics have long been a warehouse of scandals, but this one was particularly up-front. The tankers' constant serves into the net and ridiculous scattershot returns had crowds screaming mad, an ump waving a black warning card, and officials calling for an investigation.
18 of 25John Biever/SI
The venerable scribe-turned-ESPN personality got served with a heaping helping of hot scorn after he was overheard on the air asking colleague Stuart Scott to "say that I had this first on Twitter" -- this being Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury in a Monday night game vs. Kansas City, which had been widely and instantly reported. Reilly's reports began after the Steelers had tweeted the news and his remark drew an immediate evil eye from Steve Young as well as an avalanche of mocking tweets and an on-air trashing by WFAN's imperious sports talk host Mike Francesa, which you can view by CLICKING HERE .
19 of 25David Cannon/Getty Images
We are glad that one of the biggest entertainers in the world is a golf nut, but we're still baffled by the cringe-worthy golf poem ( CLICK HERE ) that Timberlake read during the opening ceremony at the Ryder Cup. It included such lines as "It can be as sweet and passionate as your lover on a warm summer night" and "Oh, this game! It is never, ever the same from day to day!" Take that, Jim Nantz! To see GOLF.com's gallery of that sport's turkeys CLICK HERE .
20 of 25Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI
Perhaps more Dodo bird than turkey, the WPSL had two close encounters with extinction after its 2011 season and the third time proved to be the smooch of death. Having canceled its 2012 season in January with the hope that it might rise again in 2013, the league -- down to five teams -- threw in the proverbial towel in May after a legal dispute with owner Dan Borislow caused by the termination of his magicJack team in Florida.
21 of 25Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
The 2004 Sprint Cup champ continued on his road to nowhere, riding ths reputation as a hothead that had cost him rides with Roush Fenway and Penske Racing. Busch spent 2012 toiling for Phoenix Racing, a lowly single-car outfit and managed all of 5 top-10 finishes while battling with drivers, crew members and reporters and getting himself put on probation (for doing a burnout through Ryan Newman's pit box) and suspended for a race. By the time the season ended, his antics had driven Phoenix into part-time status for 2013 and Busch ended up signing a one-year deal with the even more obscure single-car team Furniture Row, which will likely send him to the chair if he doesn't get his act together.
22 of 25Rich Schultz/Getty Images
For the second straight year, the Lions' defensive tackle was named the NFL's dirtiest player in a poll of his peers conducted by The Sporting News . This time Suh got 32 votes among the 103 candidates and proved he deserved them by viciously turfing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in a Monday night game. Suh also got into two more traffic scrapes -- a verbal hassle after sideswiping a car in Detroit in October, and a ticket worth $955 in fines for doing 91 in a 55 mph zone, signaling improperly and failing to carry proof of insurance in Portland, OR, where he'd crashed into a drinking fountain and a tree last year.
23 of 25Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The target of a classic withering critique by NBC Sports Network's Keith Jones (to listen CLICK HERE for listless play in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Radulov spent the evening before Game 3 in a Scottsdale, AZ gin mill with teammate Andrei Kostitsyn and didn't return to the team's hotel until well after curfew. The pair were suspended, and without their top postseason scorers, the once promising Predators bowed out in five games. Radulov, who'd jerked the Preds around in 2008 by skipping out on his entry level contract and going back to Russia, was allowed to return to the KHL in July. No sad country songs were sung in Nashville upon his departure.
24 of 25Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI
Making fun of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal is a classless business that didn't stop a clothing company from marketing "Pedo State" t-shirts. In another charming instance, McCaffrey ( center ), Boston College's second team All-ACC forward, was suspended for an NCAA women's soccer tournament game against Penn State by issuing 10 tasteless tweets about the disgraced school. Without their second-leading scorer, the BC Eagles fell, 5-2. "The student-athlete used very poor judgment and exhibited insensitivity toward Penn State, for which she apologizes," BC athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement.
25 of 25Ben Queenborough/BPI/Icon SMI
A 2011 Turkey, Terry secured the honor again when he was stripped of his England captaincy in February and the English Football Association charged him in July for alleged racist verbal abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last year. Terry had been cleared by a London court, but the FA handed him a four-match ban and $356,000 fine nonetheless. Returning to Chelsea's lineup on November 11, he scored a goal and then was carried off the pitch after injuring a knee ligament.
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