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The 10 Biggest Sports Turkeys of 2013


As Billy Ray Valentine's cellmate in "Trading Places" astutely observed, it ain't cool being no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving. These 10 have gobbled up the spotlight in 2013 with headline-grabbing acts of stupidity, selfishness or just an alarming lack of self-awareness.

1. Richie Incognito, Serial Scumbag

Incognito had cultivated the image of roided-up bullying thug even before the Jonathan Martin allegations became public, so those allegations were merely the cherry on Richie's SOB sundae. "Toughening up a teammate" is one thing; "being a racist turd" is another. Of course, in this story, there's plenty of disgrace to go around: the marshmallow-soft Martin pretty clearly has no place in a man's game, while the Dolphins allowed it all to happen right under their noses and then snapped their ACLs with their violent knee-jerk when the news hit the interwebs.

2. Lane Kiffin, Program Imploder

For the moment, Kiffin has finally stopped failing upwards. After running the Raiders ship aground, after setting Tennessee football back decades with his tumultuous one-and-done, Kiffin finally found a failure that he couldn't parlay into a promotion: turning five-star talent into two-star performance at USC and being unceremoniously dumped mid-season. The metaphor became obvious: Kiffin was a living, breathing Trojan Horse, brought in to great fanfare only to unleash destruction.  

3. A-Rod, A-hole

There's an urban legend that Alex Rodriguez has a painting of himself as a centaur. I so, so want that to be true; the thought of A-Rod gazing at himself on velvet cements the narrative of his runaway narcissism. What is undeniable is the evidence of juicing, the outrageous contract, the surplus of arrogance and the utter lack of likeability. Please, A-rod. Just go away.

4. Aldon Smith, DUI OLB

Smith oozes talent, but he also oozes stupid. The 49ers sack-master reached 30 career sacks faster than Reggie White, but he's apparently out to set the league record for DUI's. He's got two of those to go with stab wounds, a stint in rehab and three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. That's quite a resume.  

5. Ryan Braun, Character Assassin

After accusing lowly urine collector Dino Laurenzi, Jr. of being an anti-Semite who mishandled his sample, Braun had to cop to artificially enhanced brawn when the evidence became overwhelming. It's one thing to dispute damaging allegations. It's another to engage in baseless character assassination while doing so. The former MVP transformed himself into the most vocal putz of the year.

6. Tiger Woods, Repeat Offender

I'm not going to go full Brandel here and accuse Tiger of cheating, but Woods did spend much of 2013 bumping into the guardrails of the Rules of Golf. He had three penalties for rules infractions, and given that high-def cameras are trained on his every move, we all got a good look at each one. Early in the year at Abu Dhabi, he took forbidden relief from an embedded lie in a sandy area. Then came the notorious drop at The Masters — after his wedge shot clanged off the pin into the pond at 15, he admitted dropping his ball a few paces behind his original spot, a no-no that had him flirting with disqualification. Finally, at the BMW, his removal of a twig in front of his ball caused the ball to move slightly. Only Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel had the Titleists to come out and call Tiger a cheater, but many people thought it.

7. The CBS broadcast crew, Blackout Buffoons

Saturday Night Live's priceless lampoon of the CBS broadcast team's panicked reaction to the Super Bowl blackout underscored how unprepared to fill dead air the chuckling morons of the pregame desk really are. Sideline reporter Steve Tasker felt the skit's wrath, but my favorite moment came when Keenan Thompson's James Brown turned to Dan Marino and asked about his love child. Met with cries of protest from faux-Marino that the subject was off-limits, Thompson snapped, "That was before!" Then Jay Pharaoh as Shannon Sharpe put the icing on the cake, observing: "Ray Lewis knows who killed those people because it was him."

8. Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay's Staff Infection

The Buccaneers coach has inflicted the term "Schiano Man" on the NFL vernacular. What's a Schiano Man? A man who bum-rushes the other team's victory formation as another Bucs defeat winds down. A man who somehow creates sympathy for Josh Freeman by humiliating him on his way out of town. A man who thinks the answer to his team's problems is less individuality and More Rutgers.

9. Tom McCabe, Stevie Wonder-ful referee

Just when you thought the quality of officiating had hit rock bottom, McCabe grabbed a jackhammer. During the Ohio-Buffalo game, McCabe put his stamp on the MACtion by calling Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton for intentional grounding from the end zone, resulting in a safety. The only problem was, Tettleton had thrown the ball from the 4-yard line. (Watch the play: "Referees Make Horrible Call in Buffalo-Ohio Game")

10. Rob Ford, Mayor of Crazytown

We can squeeze His Honor into this crowded sports turkey coop because of his choice of attire at the press conference where he copped to smoking crack: a vintage NFL tie, complete with a loud array of old-school logos. Maybe the mayor thought we'd be distracted by the 1980s-era creamsicle Buccaneer with the knife between his teeth staring back at us.