foot in mouth disease: 10 of the dumbest and most controversial statements in sports

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foot in mouth disease: 10 of the dumbest and most controversial statements in sports

  • Earlier this month, Miami Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen caused an uproar in Florida after he said that he "respected Fidel Castro" for remaining in power for so long. Although Guillen promptly issued an apology, he was suspended for five games and Miami's Cuban-American remained skeptical about the Venezuelan manager's mea culpa.
  • Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker, the man who helped inspire the character of Kenny Powers in "Eastbound & Down," was one of the most controversial athletes of the '90s. Rocker, whose hatred of New York was well-documented, once said: "The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
  • Former Golden State Warriors star Tim Hardaway made headlines in 2007 after he admitted to being homophobic during a radio interview: "'You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States." Hardaway apologized, but felt like his comments should have been kept in perspective: "It was like, you know, I had killed somebody."
  • In 1994, Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan committed a public relations faux pas at the "Happiest place on Earth." Kerrigan, who made an appearance in the Walt Disney World parade after her Olympic victory, was overheard saying, "This is so corny. This is so dumb. I hate it. This is the most corny thing I've ever done." Kerrigan forgot she was wearing a mic and her comments were heard by various spectators.
  • Two years ago, Dominican-American NBA player Charlie Villanueva tweeted that Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett had poked fun at Villanueva's skin condition: "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke." Villanueva suffers from hair loss brought on by a condition called alopecia. Garnett claimed he wasn't making fun of Villanueva's skin: "My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact 'You are cancerous to your team and our league.'"
  • Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was no stranger to controversy: she once called two of her players "Million-dollar n*****s." In another highly-publicized incident, Schott said she thought Hitler "was O.K. at the beginning." Schott, who was German-American, added: "He rebuilt all the roads, honey. You know that, right? He just went too far."
  • Earlier this month, NBA star Dwyane Wade caught some heat for saying that he should be compensated for playing in the 2012 Olympics: "We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it's not there." Critics argued that athletes should be honored to represent their country in the Olympics, a competition that was once limited to amateur athletes. Wade later backtracked on his comments in a written statement: "I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics."
  • World soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo knows he's got plenty of haters, but he made reporters do a double-take when he revealed his theory behind the hate: "I think that because I am rich, handsome and a great player people are envious of me. I don't have any other explanation."
  • In 2002, after being asked by a reporter why he missed practice, Allen Iverson replied with one of the most celebrated rants in sports history: "If I can't practice, I can't practice. It is as simple as that. It ain't about that at all. It's easy to sum it up if you're just talking about practice. We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last but we're talking about practice man. How silly is that? Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about practice right now."
  • In 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis made national news when he appeared to say that he didn't think black athletes could succeed in managerial positions: "I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager… How many quarterbacks do you have, how many pitchers do you have that are black?" Two days later, the 40-year baseball veteran was fired.
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