Top 20 Biggest Falls From Grace in Sports History

Sports athletes are some of the most famous, well respected and followed celebrities on Earth. They have legions of fans who praise and follow their every move. This, along with the massive financial compensation that most superstar athletes make, can make being a professional athlete one of the most popular dreams a child can have.

One thing that isn’t so great about being a mega sports star is the fact that you are always in the spotlight, even when that spotlight is on you for something negative. When athletes screw up in life, in any way, that screw up is broadcast worldwide for everyone to see. Whether that screw up is cheating, troubles with the law or other embarrassing events, these players have nowhere to hide from the watchful eye of the public.

If the screw up is larger than normal, these athletes can sometimes completely crash and burn as a result of the negative PR that comes from the announcement. More often than not, these athletes fade into obscurity, when they had a chance to be the best in the world. This crash and burn is often called a “fall from grace,” and that is the topic of this list.

The following 20 athletes from numerous sports and backgrounds were at, or near, the top of their sports before stupid decisions, exposed lies or something else altogether, caused their shooting star to fall back to earth. Some of these athletes have made peace with their fall and some have completely faded away from the public eye in denial.

Read on and enjoy looking at the Top 20 Falls from Grace in Sports History.

20 Antoine Walker


19 Marion Jones


18 Maurice Clarett


17 John Rocker


16 Roger Clemens

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

15 Chad Johnson


14 Mark McGwire


13 Albert Haynesworth


12 Lenny Dykstra


11 Mike Tyson

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

10 Tonya Harding


9 Aaron Hernandez

The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

8 Adriano


7 Gilbert Arenas


6 Pete Rose

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

5 Michael Vick

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4 Barry Bonds

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3 Tiger Woods

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2 Lance Armstrong


1 O.J. Simpson


Now we have the biggest fall from grace in sports history. O.J. Simspon was a Heisman winning superstar at USC who went on to have a very successful NFL career, where he was the first player ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Simpson made worldwide headlines in 1994 when he was charged in the double murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The infamous low speed chase that followed when Simpson wouldn’t turn himself in is one of the most surreal moments in television history. Although not found guilty of murder, Simpson was found liable for their deaths. He is currently serving jail time for numerous other felonies.

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Top 20 Biggest Falls From Grace in Sports History