Nearly every man has the same empathetic reaction upon seeing another man take a shot to the groin, wincing as though the pain has been distributed more or less equally amongst those bearing witness to the horrific impact wrought upon this most sensitive of regions. A hit below the belt can send the painful jolt of an electrical current straight on through to the kidneys and this unique sort of pain does not exactly dissipate quickly, often serving as an agonizing reminder for several days afterwards.
Unfortunately, the empathy felt by those witnessing such an act is not always present when athletic competition turns contentious, and as a result there have been many examples in which athletes have punched, kicked, speared, grabbed or otherwise attacked an opponent below the belt. Many of the incidents that follow were done with clear, malicious intent, though the majority of these unscrupulous sack-tappers at least earnestly attempted to make such an attack seem accidental.
It’s never easy to discern what could possibly provoke such testicularly injurious behavior, but there are certainly those who believe that a low blow is not only one of the quickest methods for leveling the playing field, but also one of the most effective as well. As the paterfamilias of the Simpson household once said to his young and literally yellow scion as he prepared for combat, “there's nothing wrong with hitting someone when his back is turned, and if you get the chance, get him right in the family jewels.”
Perhaps the following 15 athletes received similar advice at some point, or, as many claimed in the aftermath of these incidents, perhaps they did not intend to inflict such harm on another athlete and only did so by accident. Regardless, the athletes appearing on this list all landed at least one clear shot “right to the family jewels” of an opponent.
16 Dwyane Wade
After a few increasingly chippy possessions, Dwyane Wade appeared to retaliate when he “accidentally” kicked Ramon Sessions in the groin. Wade, who somehow managed to avoid being whistled for a foul on the play, claimed that the kick was unintentional and that he “just reacted to the contact that I got from [Sessions].” The NBA disagreed, levying a one-game suspension despite Wade’s attempt to blame Sessions for getting himself kicked in the junk:
I'm far from being a dirty player + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions. I just reacted to the contact that I got from him....— DWade (@DwyaneWade) December 28, 2012
14 Marc Staal
13 Serge Ibaka
12 Floyd Mayweather
11 Bill Romanowski
Depending on who you ask, Romanowski was either one of the NFL’s greatest competitors or one of its biggest thugs. J.J. Stokes would probably choose to go with the latter assessment, as the former 49ers wideout was on the receiving end of one of the more vile moments in the long history of Monday Night Football when Romanowski spit right into his face mask. What did Stokes do to provoke such a reaction? He had the unmitigated audacity to complain about Romanowski repeatedly punching him in the groin during a pileup.
10 Carlos Boozer
9 DeMarcus Cousins
8 Ndamukong Suh
7 James Harden
During a late-season game between the Rockets and Cavaliers in which Houston was able to emerge victorious in overtime, James Harden, James Jones and LeBron James got tangled up as the Cleveland pair tried to force a jump ball. Harden fell to the floor during the scrum and, during a moment of clear frustration, kicked the “King” right in his crown jewels.
6 Andrew Golota
5 Chris Paul
4 Brandon Prust
3 Corky Taylor
Corky Taylor delivered one of the most underhanded and deceitful attacks to the groin in the history of sport during a college basketball game between Minnesota and Ohio State in 1972. The game had featured rough play throughout, including an incident in which Luke Witte of Ohio State elbowed a Minnesota player as the teams headed off the court for halftime. When play resumed, a Minnesota player delivered a flagrant foul that sent Witte to the floor.
2 Nicolas Batum
1 Uliu Lapuaho
Anyone who has ever been at the bottom of a pile in football is quite aware of the fact that plenty of unsavory things can occur between opponents. This violence at the bottom of the pile is generally obscured by the mass of players, but in the case of BYU lineman Uliu Lapuaho, his attack was caught in full view of television cameras. While fighting for possession of the ball, Lapuaho connected on an absolutely brutal punch to the groin of a Boise State player and yet somehow managed to avoid a suspension from BYU for doing so.
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