Alex Rodriguez's looming 211-game suspension, though currently under appeal, is the largest penalty Major League Baseball has imposed since the Chicago Black Sox scandal almost a century ago. With all of the professional sports leagues levying stiffer penalties to try and clean up their sport, STACK takes a look back at some of the biggest suspensions that have come down from the league offices over the years.
The Canadian sprinter, who set a world record in the 100 meters in 1987 and took home Olympic gold for the same event in 1988, tested positive for steroids twice, then for hydrochlorothiazide, a drug used to mask the presence of other drugs. He was banned for life by the IAAF. His gold medal and world record were rescinded
Frank Filchok and Merle Hapes
Two key cogs of the 1946 New York Football Giants, quarterback Frank Filchok and running back Merle Hapes, were banned from the NFL for life after they were found guilty of taking bribes and planning to fix the '46 championship game between the Giants and the Chicago Bears. Both continued their careers in Canada, and although Filchok was eventually reinstated, neither played another down in the NFL.
Adam "Pacman" Jones
The talented but troublesome cornerback out of West Virginia had his share of legal dustups, but the slime hit the fan in 2007. After an incident inside a (ahem) gentlemen's club in Las Vegas, in which Jones assaulted a dancer and threatened a bouncer, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for the entire 2007 season and part of the 2008 season. Jones kept himself occupied during his down time by joining Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Before his tattooed body was soaring through the air, grabbing offensive rebounds and slamming home put-back dunks for the Miami Heat during the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the one they call Birdman was kicked out of the NBA for two years for violating the league's drug abuse policy as a member of the New Orleans Hornets in 2006. Andersen was the first player to be suspended from the league for drugs since 1999. After serving his two-year ban, he was reinstated in 2008.
The NHL wasn't playing around with its punishment after Billy Coutu assaulted one referee and tackled another in the midst of a brawl during the 1927 Stanley Cup Finals. The league immediately handed down a lifetime ban for Coutu, a punishment that hasn't been seen since. It didn't last long; he was reinstated in 1932, though he never played in another NHL game.
In 1999, when referee Jeff Triplette accidentally threw his weighted penalty flag into the facemask of Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown, striking Brown below the eye, things got slightly out of hand. As he was being taken off the field by trainers, an enraged Brown ran back onto the field and shoved Triplette to the ground with two hands. He was suspended indefinitely, though the NFL reinstated him in March of 2000 after his eye had still not healed properly.
Major League Baseball banned Pete Rose for life in 1989 for betting on baseball, both as a player and as a manager for the Cincinnati Reds. The all-time leader in hits cannot be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and the issue of his reinstatement arouses controversy in baseball circle every year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell brought the hammer down on the New Orleans Saints in 2012, when it was discovered the team had been running a bounty program on defense, under coordinator Gregg Williams. The program allegedly paid players for big hits, including those that injured opposing players. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, taking the brunt of Goodell's wrath, was suspended for the entire 2012 season. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue overruled Goodell's stiff penalty, and Vilma only missed five games.
The Black Sox Scandal
After conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in order to receive money from gamblers, who had placed money on the team to lose, eight members of the Chicago White Sox, including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, were banned from baseball for life. None of the eight have been reinstated.
Metta World Peace
After rushing into the crowd to fight the fan he thought tossed a cup of beer on him during the now infamous Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons brawl during the 2004-2005 NBA season, the man formerly known as Ron Artest was suspended by the NBA for 86 games (73 regular season and 13 playoff), essentially ruining any shot the once immensely talented Pacers had at getting to the Finals.
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