People have a predetermined idea of what athletes are like nowadays. They’re respected for doing what they do, for entertaining millions year after year, for their perseverance, their strength, and their skills. For this, whether they like it or not, athletes are constantly under the public eye, and although some may not deserve it, athletes become role models for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
I mean, of course they are. They’re constantly portrayed in flattering ways in marketing campaigns, and they do something every sports fan wish they did; play sports for a large salary. But what happens when an athlete is caught with another teammate's girlfriend or wife, or worse? Of course, a lot is just gossip, albeit convincing nonetheless, but some are also clear as day.
In team sports, the idea is embedded into players from a young age that your teammates are your family. You may not always get along, but everybody has to trust each other and when push comes to shove, you put the team before yourself. However as in any walk of life, things happen that will tear people apart and athletes are imperfect like all of us. These actions though, are just inexcusable if in fact true.
Here are the top 15 athletes who allegedly cheated with a teammate's no longer significant other, or worse...
15 Shannon Brown and Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
It was during the playoffs of the 2010-11 season that that the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers were swept convincingly by the Dallas Mavericks that people started wondering what the real issue was with this team. Pau Gasol took much of the blame during that series, averaging just a meager 13.1 points a game. It was so bad that coach Phil Jackson was even seen screaming at Gasol and thumping him on the chest to try and get a reaction from the Spaniard. It was after that performance that the nasty rumor that Shannon Brown was having an affair with Silvia Lopez Castro, the woman Gasol was engaged to.
The rumour grew, prompting Brown to post this on Twitter: “I DID NOT SLEEP WITH @paugasol woman!!! First and last time addressing it!" Gasol himself barely commented on the incident, saying simply that the rumor was hurtful to Castro.
14 Jason Richardson, Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Here’s another one for the rumor mill, and a very bizarre one at that, featuring recently retired basketball legend Steve Nash. This was probably prompted because of Nash’s divorce from his wife, Alejandra Amarilla, came at an interesting time in the sense that Amarilla had just given birth to their third child. Of course, when it was announced, rumors started that the baby was in fact of a mixed race, fathered by one of Nash’s African American teammates. The first alleged father was Leandro Barbosa, only to be replaced weeks later by Jason Richardson. Photo evidence obviously suggests that the child was indeed a product of Nash and Amarilla. Still, Richardson was traded later that year, and the fact that Nash finalized the divorce right after the birth of their third child leaves food for thought.
13 Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson, Dallas Mavericks
Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson were supposed to be the two stars that lifted the Mavericks out of mediocrity and into the glory of an NBA championship. But it was in 1996 that it all came apart for the Mavs and their young stars, and rumor has it that the separation was caused by an unlikely source; country singer Toni Braxton. Now you may be asking yourselves why this happened. It is said that the country singer cancelled plans with Kidd to hang out with Jackson, reportedly causing a rift between the two players. Kidd and Jackson were both traded shortly afterwards.
Of course, the Mavericks were experiencing many problems besides Toni Braxton’s alleged man-swapping. Jamal Mashburn, who was on the Mavericks roster that season, said “we didn’t have enough camaraderie amongst ourselves, core values, and our egos were a little bit too big that we couldn’t coexist together for whatever reason it was.”
12 Delonte West and LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
This alleged incident, which is in no way confirmed true, involves not a girlfriend or a wife, but a mother. LeBron James’s mother in fact, Gloria James. The rumours started when West and James were both playing with the Cavaliers, and although it seems too far fetched to even say, LeBron’s play in the series vs. the Celtics in 2010 was so horrid that people thought there might be some truth to it.
West, on the other hand, has spoken about the rumors on the Dallas Morning News, saying this about the rumors: "Number one, something like that never happened. I don't know where they got that from. For a strong black woman like that, for people to try to tear her down, that's terrible. That's terrible in so many ways." West also said this in an interview with Vice Sports concerning his son's name: “I named my son Cash after Cassius Clay and Johnny Cash…His middle name is Delonete but I didn’t want to name him Delonte West Jr. just because of that… I don’t want my son going to school and people making fun of him for something his daddy did, “Oh didn’t yo' daddy have sex with LeBron James mama?’ Man, I don’t want to deal with all that . . . "
11 Tony Parker and Brent Barry, San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker was married to Eva Longoria. You may think, would someone really be crazy enough to go behind Eva’s back? You know, the beautiful, tanned and lovely Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives? Well rumor has it that Tony Parker was sending very personal messages Erin Barry, wife of his former teammate Brent Barry with the San Antonia Spurs. The relationship between the two was widely believed to have been limited to simply “sexting”, but it may not be just a coincidence that both players' marriages ended at around the same time. Longoria has spoken out about the alleged text messages between the two and spoken on the effect the divorce had on her.
10 Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure, Russian National Team
Perhaps one of the odder stories on our list is the relationships of Russian superstars Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov with tennis player Anna Kournikova in the early 2000’s. So here’s what we do know. Fedorov himself confirmed that Kournikova and himself were indeed engaged, albeit for a brief amount of time, the Russian superstar saying this: "They are true [the rumors of a relationship between him and Kournikova]. We were married, albeit brief, and we are now divorced."
Now, Kournikova and Pavel Bure met in 1999 and were rumored to be engaged in 2000, after being photographed having dinner together. Although the details are a little hazy, it does seem as if Kournikova’s time with Bure and Fedorov may have overlapped.
9 Tommy Salo and Mike Comrie, Edmonton Oilers
It was 2003 when the rumor came out that Mike Comrie was sleeping with the wife of veteran goaltender Tommy Salo. Of course, Comrie profusely denied the rumor after he chose not to comment at first. "I should have said something right away. I didn't think it would have the legs it did. Everyone thinks it happened but it's the most ridiculous rumor. It's not true.” The signs however say otherwise.
Salo’s play in 2003 got worse and worse, and although he never took any blame for his horrid play, many thought it had a lot to do with his wife and child moving back to Sweden after a possible affair with Comrie. As for Comrie, contract negotiations with the Oilers turned sour into the 2003-04 season, many believing that the alleged affair being the reason.
8 Paul Terry and Dale Roberts, Rushden & Diamonds FC
John Terry’s shenanigans (see no.2) apparently run in the Terry family tree, because not only does his brother Paul Terry play football for a lower league club, but the footballer has also had an affair with his teammate's fiancée. Terry was allegedly having an affair with goalkeeper Dale Roberts wife, Lindsey Cowan. Unfortunately, a simple public snub is not the end of this tale. Shortly afterwards news of the affair broke, Roberts hanged himself in the home he shared with his fiancée.
Adam Johnson, a school friend of Roberts and Manchester City winger and England star, said, “I'm not sure he could deal with the embarrassment the story caused him. His death was a combination of the negative press and his leg injury.” Paul Terry was given a free transfer when news of the affair broke and was in no way blamed for Dale Roberts’s suicide.
7 Rick Manning and Dennis Eckersley, Cleveland Indians
Dennis Eckersley of the Cleveland Indians had his own marital issues when his wife left him for his teammate Rick Manning. Rumor has it that when the Indians heard about the alleged affair in 1978, they opted to trade Eckersley to the Red Sox as opposed to Manning because of the cracked vertebrae in his neck. Eckersley himself confirms to this day that the team had no idea the affair was happening until months after he was traded. Eckerlsey even mentioned Manning and his ex-wife, Denise, by name in his induction speech when he joined the Hall of Fame.
6 Brendan Shanahan and Craig Janney, St. Louis Blues
Yes, hall of famer and current Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan has snuck onto this list. It was during the 1994-95 season that Shanahan presumably got together with the wife of his teammate Craig Janney. In Shanahan's defense, Janney and his wife Catherine did end up getting a divorce, and Shanahan is still happily married to Catherine and has three children with her. Still, this is another incident in his career that made him a little unpopular with his teammates, and according to Ken Campbell from the Hockey News, may have played a role in his snubbing for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012: “You have to wonder if his relationship and then marriage to the wife of former St. Louis Blues teammate Craig Jannet caught up with Shanahan […].”
5 DeMarco Murray and Brennan Clay, Oklahoma Sooners
It all started when former Oklahoma Sooners player Brennan Clay purportedly found explicit messages and pictures sent to Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray by his wife, Gina D’Agostini. The two were teammates in 2010 for the Oklahoma Sooners, and Clay has already described Murray as “the person I looked up to the most as a running back and as a friend.” Clay took to Twitter to speak about his wife’s affair, only to take back what he said later on. Murray has always denied the alleged affair, and nothing more has really come out of this, considering Clay never made it to the NFL after being cut by the Broncos in training camp.
4 Wayne Carey and Anthony Stevens, North Melbourne Kangaroos
Have you all ever heard of the AFL, more commonly known as Aussie Rules? This sport, which is quite similar to Gaelic Football and can draw crowds of around 50,000 was the home of one of the greatest sports scandals to rock the land down under. Wayne Carrey, one of the better AFL players, was caught in the bathroom with his teammate's wife, Willi. That teammate was Anthony Stevens, his supposed best friend. When his teammates caught him, a meeting was held to decide if they could continue to play alongside their captain of nine years.
The affair was widely criticized as “un-Australian” by many people, and Carey was put on a 24-hour suicide watch after having confessed to a four-month affair with Willi. In just a heartbeat, a man who was considered the team's “heartbeat” and that boasted the nickname “King” was stripped to nothingness.
3 John Harkes and Eric Wynalda, U.S. national soccer team
It was quite shocking that almost a decade after the alleged affair, former head coach Steve Sampson admitted that he dropped Jon Harkes from the mens roster just two months before the 1998 World Cup because he was having an affair with Amy Wynalda, wife of teammate Eric Wynalda. Harkes, of course, had long denied the affair. Since then, Wynalda has spoken out about the relationship saying "I'm calling it an inappropriate relationship. It was a major contributor to why I'm no longer married.” Sampson faced a lot of criticism for the team’s performance, but when having to deal with something so serious within the dressing room, one could understand the task at hand for the coach, forced to rid himself of a player like Harkes.
2 John Terry and Wayne Bridge, Chelsea Football Club
One of my personal favorites involves Chelsea captain John Terry and his former teammate Wayne Bridge. Terry allegedly cheated on his own wife of three years with the girlfriend of his teammate Wayne Bridge, the French underwear model named Vanessa Perroncel, also the mother of Bridge’s child. Bridge would later be sold to Manchester City in late 2009.
However, it was an incident that happened in the Manchester City verus Chelsea game that really gave this affair wings. As the pre match rituals were coming to and end, Wayne Bridge came face to face with John Terry, and deliberately did not shake his hand. With John Terry’s wife watching from the stands and millions around the world noticing and talking about the snub, it seems that Wayne Bridge indeed got some revenge on the Chelsea skipper.
1 Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, New York Yankees
This is perhaps the most scandalous and yet the most bizarre incident in the history of baseball. It was on March 4, 1973, that Yankees players Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich held two separate press conferences on the same day announcing the same thing. That these two teammates had decided to swap wives and swap homes – basically swapping lives. Of course, there was a frenzy of stories and theories concerning the real reason this “trade” happened, but 40 years later Petersen simply says “it was a love story. It wasn’t anything dirty.” Petersen has been married to Suzanne Kekich since 1974, although the other two split up a few years later without ever getting married.
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