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Top 10 Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

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Throughout the history of sports, there have been numerous athletes that earned the title of being controversial. Some athletes create controversy because of their attitude, while other athletes seem to never stay out of trouble with the law.

Here are the top 10 athletes of all time that have created a world of controversy for various indiscretions:

1. Lance Armstrong, Cycling: Armstrong might be seen as one of the best cyclists of all time, but he is due to have all of his Tour de France titles stripped, after choosing to stop fighting the doping allegations that have overshadowed his career. From 1999 until 2005, Armstrong took first place in the Tour de France and cemented himself as one of the best in the sport. The controversy is all about whether or not Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his career, but records show he has passed several hundred drug tests during his professional cycling career.

2. Terrell Owens, Football: Owens is easily one of the best football players to ever come into the National Football League, but his ego has put him in a world of controversy. When Owens was with the San Francisco 49ers, everything was great, but he slowly unraveled when he went to the Philadelphia Eagles. Owens ended up getting into a fight with teammate Hugh Douglas, after Owens criticized quarterback Donovan McNabb during a radio interview. Owens suddenly became an NFL player that wanted everything to be about him. Now Owens is in jeopardy of being cut from the Seattle Seahawks for his attitude, dropped balls, and lack of true work ethic.

3. Tim Tebow, Football: Tebow might be considered a very unique quarterback in the NFL, but his mechanics are not what makes him controversial. It is well-known that Tebow is very religious and has no problem thanking God during press conferences, which has led to people questioning the role of religion in sports. Tebow has often been seen during NFL games praying on one knee, which created the phenomenon known as "Tebowing." The role of God and being so outspoken about his faith has led Tebow to being talked about all over the world.

4. Pete Rose, Baseball: Rose was a very special baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds and holds numerous records, but his legacy is best known for betting on the game. In 1989, Rose was banned from Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was a punishment Rose accepted without saying he was guilty as charged. In 2007, Rose did finally come out and admit he did bet on baseball games while he was a manager; he was very remorseful, and wanted to finally be accepted by MLB for the great player he was.

5. Ty Cobb, Baseball: Controversial athletes come in many different forms, but Cobb has to be the most controversial for his off-field, evil behavior. Cobb broke many records in MLB, but his legacy is overshadowed because he had a very bad temper, argued with everyone over just about everything, and once even strangled a groundskeeper at Tiger Stadium. Cobb was just a ticking time bomb, getting into violent fights, and his drinking made him even more erratic.

6. Jason "Mayhem" Miller, MMA: There are always controversies in the MMA world, especially within the UFC, but Miller is in a league all on his own. The controversy that surrounds Miller is due to his personality, often showboating and lacking respect for his opponents. Miller is the face of "Bully Beatdown" on MTV, and branded himself as a prankster throughout the years. Miller's antics recently got him kicked out of the UFC, and Dana White wants nothing to do with him anymore due to undisclosed incidents backstage. Even bigger news was when Miller was arrested naked inside of a church, partially incoherent, shortly after being fired from UFC.

7. O.J. Simpson, Football: There is not a person in the world that has never heard of Simpson, but it is not because of his Heisman Trophy, or his legendary Hall of Fame career in the NFL as a running back for the Buffalo Bills. Simpson has faced a world of controversy after his former wife Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman, were found violently murdered in 1994. Simpson was found not guilty of the two murders, but the controversy multiplied when he released a book about how he would have committed the crimes, if he had been the murderer.

8. John McEnroe, Tennis: McEnroe has to be on the top 10 list of greatest tennis players of all time, but people remember him for something completely different. The controversy that surrounds McEnroe is all about his crazy personality, screaming rants at tennis officials, and his angry tirades on the tennis court. One of his most famous tirades was during the 1981 Wimbledon tournament, where he uttered "you can't be serious!" at the umpire.

9. Mike Tyson, Boxing: No boxer is as infamous and famous as Tyson, but there is some controversy surrounding this amazing athlete. Tyson's most infamous controversy comes from biting the ear off of his opponent, Evander Holyfield, and then talked about ripping out his heart. Tyson also failed to make a comeback in the ring more than once, and he has also displayed bizarre behavior over the years.

10. Dennis Rodman, Basketball: Rodman is probably known more for his controversy and behavior than for his basketball career. Throughout the years, Rodman has been involved in many controversies, including when he wore a white wedding dress on the court while promoting a book. Rodman quarreled with referees and teammates, and was known for having a different color hair every day.

Jeanne Rose has always been a fan of professional sports, including the NFL, MLB, and UFC. Jeanne enjoys going to various sporting events, as well as watching them on television with her family.

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