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Top 20 Craziest Owners in Professional Sports

Becoming the owner of a professional sports franchise comes with an almost immediate increase in reputation and stature. Regardless of how an owner acquired their massive wealth, once they purchase a team, their primary identifying quality is their status as a franchise owner. Along with this increase in statute comes increased scrutiny from the media and the general public. Under the watchful eyes of the public some of the eccentricities of these owners take the spotlight rather than the achievements of their respective teams.

Owners hold a unique position in sports. They wield more power than general managers, coaches, and players because they possess the ability to hire, fire, or trade almost any member of their organization. This power can sometimes become all-consuming and lead to their downfall, but often there are no real consequences for the outlandish actions of team owners. However, if an owner’s actions are patently offensive to the public or illegal, public opinion and fellow owners may turn against them.

Recently, owners are being increasingly forced to adhere to the rules and regulations that apply to players and other league personnel. Their outrageous actions are being dissected under the microscope of the media on a daily basis. Pundits make a living commenting on their lifestyles and the era of discretion among the media is over. In this new era, the personal lives of franchise owners is scrutinized with the same intensity that players receive. This new era has revealed that franchise owners can be downright crazy.

20 Silvio Berlusconi – AC Milan

via theguardian.com

19 Frank McCourt – Los Angeles Dodgers

via losangeles.cbslocal.com

18 Dan Gilbert – Cleveland Cavaliers

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

17 James Dolan – New York Knicks, New York Rangers

William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

16 John Spano – New York Islanders

via whatnottodoc.com

15 Dan Snyder – Washington Professional Football Team

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

14 Donald Sterling – Los Angeles Clippers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

13 Marge Schott – Cincinnati Reds

via foxsports.com

12 Mike Brown – Cincinnati Bengals

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

11 Peter Pocklington – Edmonton Oilers

via sportsnet.ca

10 Jim Irsay – Indianapolis Colts

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

9 Wayne Huizenga – Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, Florida Panthers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

8 Harold Ballard – Toronto Maple Leafs

via thestar.com

7 Mohamed Al-Fayed – Fulham FC

via tipsfotball.com

Mohamed Al-Fayed purchased Fulham Football Club for only £6.25 million in 1997. Two years later Michael Jackson attended a league game featuring Fulham taking on Wigan Athletic. Al-Fayed succeeded in making Fulham a Premier League mainstay during his tenure as owner. In 2011, a statue was unveiled outside Craven Cottage depicting the famous singer, which was a little bit insane...

6 Vincent Tan – Cardiff City

via theguardian.com

5 Bill Veeck – Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Browns

via sports.mearsonlineauctions.com

4 Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

3 Mark Cuban – Dallas Mavericks

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2 George Steinbrenner - New York Yankees

via cleveland.com

1 Al Davis – Oakland Raiders

via newyork.cbslocal.com

Al Davis lived by the credo “Just Win, Baby.” Throughout his ownership of the Raiders his teams have fluctuated between winning and losing. He traded head coach Jon Gruden, benched Marcus Allen following a contract dispute, and drafted a kicker in the first round. He also hired and fired the first African-American coach in NFL history. Al Davis had a reputation for battling with the league in court and had a notorious rivalry with former NFL Commissioner Pete Rosell. The Raiders also would abstain from all league votes, as they continue to do with his son as owner, which is another way that Davis would rebel from the league he helped merge with the AFL, Late in his life, the Raiders suffered through many losing seasons, but Davis’ passion for the game and involvement remained.

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Top 20 Craziest Owners in Professional Sports