Sports are a stress-heavy career, not one that encourages calm balanced people to apply. In fact, many people love sports for creating a lot of drama and emotion — the types of people who also enjoy gambling, Casino Mate points out. Sometimes, this means those who end up in this career do not have the best judgment. Especially when it comes to dealing with a lot of stress and antagonism with other athletes.
No wonder that people involved in sports — both athletes and sports news anchors — are involved in plenty of scandals. There’s been so many of them over the years that it’s enough to fill a whole list.
Top Ten People in Sports Let Go Over Insensitive Comments
This list should open with the man who made the most blatant and unapologetic comments, arguably, in the whole history of the NBA. Many people who made inappropriate comments were either too caught up in the moment to realize what they were saying was wrong or apologized afterward. Businessman and the owner of Clippers, Donald Sterling, did neither.
In 2014, a major news network released tapes that showed Donald telling his mistress at the time she shouldn’t associate with black people. That’s way above the level of a joke made in private, nor was it misconstrued. Donald also took his bigoted attitudes everywhere he went, reportedly refusing black people housing at his rental properties and being involved in a series of sexual harassment lawsuits.
Soon after this tape surfaced, NBA took the decision to ban the man for life despite his public apology that tried to pin it on his mistress.
ESPN’s Curt Schilling held much tamer beliefs but was nevertheless let go from the network in 2016 after a series of tweets. His views of the transgender community and Muslims were not news as he’s openly Republican. However, after publicizing them on Twitter and refusing to apologize, he was let go from his sports analyst career.
Another ESPN reporter, Rob Parker, was fired back in 2012 for blatantly racist remarks. Rob, a black man, openly questioned another black man, Robert Griffin from the then Washington Redskins, on air. In a rant that was certainly uncalled for, Rob said that the quarterback “has a white fiance” and stated that “he’s not one of us.” ESPN let him go a month after the incident which the reporter found shocking.
Seattle Mariners’ Steve Clevenger also could not keep off Twitter which cost him his job. The catcher with a fading career in sports shared his thoughts on the 2020 BLM protests: “Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha,” adding that protesters should be locked up like animals.
Understandably, his team did not even want to listen to the apologies and suspended Steve.
In 2020, Alexander Katai ended his US career after not his but his wife’s tweets. His wife Tea, a Serbian by birth, shared her hot takes on the protesters in her native language, probably thinking nobody would notice. As LA Galaxy, Alexander’s soccer club noticed her tweets full of racism and violence, he was promptly let go. He and his family moved back to Serbia a month later.
Not all controversies like this, however, mean the end for the player. Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen was found to have tweeted full-on racist things, N-word included when he was 14. After a prompt apology and explaining that at 22 he was a very different man, he stayed on the team without a suspension.
While it’s easy to believe Josh, it’s not that easy to believe that John Rocker has reformed and changed his racist ways. The baseball star let himself go loose in a 1999 interview where he shared his opinions on the queer community, the black community, and really most minorities in New York, calling them “degenerate” among other hurtful things. The result was a 28-game suspension that John worked down to 14 games.
Recently, Eagles’ DeSean Jackson also got off easy after venting on Twitter. The athlete shared his opinions on Jews, insinuating the old battered conspiracy theories about Israelites trying to control the world. His team took matters into their own hands and instead of letting DeSean go, arranged meetings with rabbis and Holocaust survivors to educate the man.
Most inappropriate remarks, however, are not this blunt. In the wake of BLM protests of 2020, NBA announcer Grant Napear resigned over his take on the movement. When asked on Twitter what his position is, he stated “All lives matter, every single one.”
This was probably in good faith as the 60-year-old did not have the knowledge of the context this phrase is often used. After a Twitter drama and a series of apologies, Grant left his position that he held for 30-some-odd years.
Another reporter who got caught in a moment was ESPN’s Anthony Federico. He crafted a story about two NBA teams’ rivalry titled “Chink in Armour”. His lapse in judgment was that the crutch of the story was Jeremy Lin, a Chinese American. Despite a lengthy apology and trying to explain it was an honest mistake, Federico lost his job.
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