Sports are regulated by rules that, for the most part, prevent players from losing their minds on an opponent should one player lose his patience with another player who is trying to get under his skin.
There are plenty of athletes who have proven to be able to keep their cool with an agitator breathing down their necks. Take LeBron James, for example. Last season he was followed around the court by former Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson the way Pikachu would follow Ash in Pokemon Yellow, which you might have played as a child. Stephenson went as far as blowing into LeBron's ear in the middle of a game, to which James simply responded with a smile and an incredulous shake of the head.
There are other athletes out there who might have responded quite differently to Stephenson's antics. They might have given him a good shove and shouted some choice words in his general direction. They might have complained to the referee. The might have even flopped to try and draw a call, somehow.
And then there are those who would have simply turned around, swung a mean right hook into the jaw of Lance Stephenson, and walked off until the ensuing mayhem began.
There have been plenty of athletes through the years who've been labelled as guys with short fuses, who could simply not contain themselves. This list will stick to active players, to keep it fresh and interesting and thankfully there are plenty of athletes currently playing who haven't learned from the mistakes of former hotheads like Dennis Rodman, Ron Artest and Rob Dibble, just to name a few.
In compiling the list of today's sports hotheads, I secretly hoped that I never cross paths with any of these fine athletes, for fear that the claims made here might result in a ham-like fist being hurled at my head.
15 Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard is added to this list more for it's comedic value than his knack for losing his temper. It would have helped his street cred if he had retaliated a bit more forcefully to the repeated slaps he received from Yaya Toure during halftime of last week's match between Manchester City and Chelsea - for now, Hazard makes the list by the skin of his teeth (or Luis Suarez, depending on how you want to look at it) thanks to his antics in a match against Swansea last year when he took the phrase "kicking and screaming" to a whole new level when he "attacked" a Swansea ball boy who was attempting to keep the ball away from him (the jury is still out whether he kicked the ball or the kid).
14 Josh Beckett
13 Steve Downie
12 Jeff Gordon
11 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
10 Dominic Raiola
9 Nick Young
8 Zdeno Chara
7 Adam “Pacman” Jones
6 Richard Sherman
5 A.J. Pierzynski
4 Steve Smith, Sr.
3 Kurt Busch
1 John Scott
Again, a bit of an easy road to take by choosing a guy who is paid to fight as the top athlete on this list - but there's a bit of a different mentality when it comes to John Scott. John Scott is one of the more "forward" enforcers out there, in that he does not abide by any sort of code the way enforcers of past years would. He will simply hop the bench and start throwing. If you tick him off, he'll attack wildy - see the Phil Kessel incident for further proof. Of course, all this helps when you're a mammoth of a man, but it's clear that John Scott has a short fuse and will take it out on his opponents without a second thought about it.
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