It was another banner year for sports in 2006. Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth on the all time home run list, only to be booed mercilessly for doing so. Barbaro seemed poised to be the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 18 years, but then broke his leg in the opening seconds of the Preakness Stakes and barely avoided an on-the-spot execution.
The Winter Olympics made their quadrennial appearance, but were overshadowed by Bode Miller’s drug scandal. Terrell Owens tried to kill himself—uh, allegedly—and then capped off his year by spitting in an opponent’s face. And, to really get people in that Christmas spirit, George Karl called Isaiah Thomas a “jerk” and an “asshole” after their two teams brawled in mid-December at Madison Square Garden.
Great. And these were just the tip of the iceberg. Here, we honor the cream of the crop—those athletes and other sports-related figures who did their best in 2006 to embarrass themselves, to bring shame upon their families, to let their teams down, and to stain the honor and dignity of their respective sports.
10. Joe Cullen
We start our list with what is, at least to our knowledge, a new crime in the annals of sports misbehavior: driving while nude. On the night of August 24th, Detroit Lions Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen pulled his SUV up to Wendy’s and picked up his burger, fries and Coke totally naked.
“The suspect did nothing obscene, other than being naked at the drive-thru,” said the Wendy’s employee who called the cops on him. Toss in the fact that a week later Cullen was arrested for drunk driving—clothed, unfortunately—and we’ve got a budding star on our hands.
9. OJ Simpson
It’s good to see OJ back on track, isn’t it? After keeping mostly quiet for the past few years, The Juice returned to the scene this past November and hit a new low by agreeing to a $3 million joint book and TV special about the murders of Ron and Nicole, entitled “If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened.”
Unfortunately, FOX and Regan Books caved to public pressure and cancelled the deal—meaning now we’ll never know how OJ would have done it, although we can probably safely assume it involved knifing two people to death. 8. Marco Materazzi
If the World Cup is the biggest event in the sports world, then Italian Defender Marco Materazzi certainly belongs on this list for bringing shame upon both the Cup and its biggest star, French legend Zinedine Zidane. Sure, everyone remembers Zidane getting tossed from the World Cup final for decking Materazzi with a head butt to the chest, but it was Materazzi who started it by getting in the Arab-blooded Zidane’s face and calling his sister a, quote, “terrorist whore.”
Materazzi later claimed those weren’t the words he uttered, offering the following excuse: “I don’t even know what the word [terrorist] means.” So, we guess that means he’s either retarded or secretly 9-years old—but either way, we salute him. 7. Tank Johnson
Chicago Bears Defensive Tackle Tank Johnson had a bad weekend in mid-December. On Thursday, December 14th, Johnson was arrested for the third time in 18 months when police raided his home and seized six unregistered guns—two assault rifles, three powerful handguns, and a .308 Winchester hunting rifle.
The next night, Tank’s friend and bodyguard, Willie Posey—who was also arrested during the previous night’s raid—was murdered at a Chicago night club. Police are now trying to figure out why Posey was murdered, but we think the answer’s obvious—because he didn’t have those six guns on him, duh.
6. Keith Hernandez
One time Met great and current broadcaster Keith Hernandez—now most famous for allegedly spitting on Kramer and Newman—was labeled a sexist after comments he made on the air this April. Spotting a female massage therapist in the San Diego Padres dugout, Hernandez mused: “What’s going on here? You have got to be kidding me. Only player personnel in the dugout. I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout.”