Sports are basically the last place in western society in which violence is accepted, and even in competition, contact and aggression are starting to lose favor. Moving back to society as a whole, bar fights now end with people in a cop car rather than the two parties splitting a couple of brews and kids who scrap on the playground are treated like criminals; rather than, wait...normal kids?
In terms of tolerating violence, obviously MMA is the king of sports right now, followed by boxing and hockey, but frightened, teary-eyed whiners are trying to get the violence off the ice too. American football, baseball and basketball are different stories altogether, and looking to soccer (football), when Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi several World Cups ago, it almost seemed as if Europe was going to swirl into a third world war.
What people are forgetting, however, is that athletes are not just diligent workers and gifted competitors, but they are also, in many cases, huge egomaniacs. Add an egomaniac to a strong body and it's sometimes a wonder that sports aren't more violent. In some cases, whether athletes can or can't get away with fighting opponents, they just end up fighting their own teammates.
It's among the stupidest phenomena in the sports world, but it happens. Some coaches hate it, while others think it's healthy for these men to rip each other to pieces on occasion. Ultimately when players turn their energy against teammates it may be counterproductive to team success, but it never fails to entertain. Here are the twenty most violent and brutal times teammates fought each other.
21 Honorable Mention: Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton Standoff
20 Kieron Dyer VS Lee Bowyer
19 Greg Hardy VS Davon Coleman
This is the first of a couple of NFL training camp fights. They happen every year and they are essentially shrugged off by most media outlets as a natural occurrence in a league full of arrogant egomaniacs. For those who aren't versed in NFL criminal news, Greg Hardy is a repeat offender in the allegedly "beating women" category.
18 Jeff Kent VS Barry Bonds
17 Matthew Barnaby VS Marty Lapointe
16 Albert Haynesworth VS a Couple of Teammates
15 Manny Ramirez: Multiple Incidents
He may have been one of the best hitters of his time, but Manny Ramirez was also an incredibly polarizing player to have in the dugout. In June 2008, he and Kevin Youkilis exchanged words and then shoved and took some shots at each other before Ramirez was pulled off by teammates.
14 Renardo Sidney VS Elgin Bailey
13 John Hartson Kicks Eyal Berkovic
12 Steve Downie VS Akim Aliu
This fight basically came down to having two aggressive clowns on one team who became involved in a hazing incident. Downie and Aliu were playing for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League at the time. After Aliu refused to participate in a humiliating initiation ritual (standing naked in a bus bathroom with another player), Steve Downie, one of the dirtiest players ever to make it to the NHL, crosschecked him in the face, knocking out three teeth. The two then brutalized each other on the ice.
11 Darryl Strawberry VS Keith Hernandez
10 Steve Smith: Multiple Incidents
9 Bill Guerin VS Brett Draney
Hockey, much like football, is a violent game in which there are rules, but there are also aggressive alpha males who want to watch the world burn. Bill Guerin was one of those tough-as-nails players who racked up penalty minutes about as quickly as he tallied up everything else. He was talented, but was the first to drop the gloves and put someone's face into the ice.
8 Ikemefuna Enemkpali Breaks Geno Smith's Jaw
This is the most recent event on our list and it is also one of the funniest. The New York Jets chronically underachieving quarterback will be sidelined for at least half the 2015 season after sustaining a broken jaw at the hands of former Jets linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali.
7 Keith Primeau: Multiple Incidents
6 Michael Westbrook VS Stephen Davis
5 Carlos Zambrano VS Michael Barrett (Twice in one game)
4 Wimbledon's Crazy Gang: Vinnie Jones and John Fashanu
For those who don't religiously follow EPL soccer (football), The Crazy Gang was a name for Wimbledon FC in the 1980s and 90s. They were a violent bunch who routinely engaged in boisterous behavior, violence and ridiculous practical jokes.
3 Latrell Sprewell Chokes P.J. Carlesimo
2 Bill Romanowski: Multiple Incidents
In a sport that is filled with violence and brutal hits, it takes a special kind of aggressive man to earn a place among the game's most unnecessarily violent. Linebacker Bill Romanowski was talented, playing 14 seasons, winning four Super Bowls and tallying up over 1,100 tackles.
1 Setanta O'Hailpin KO's Cameron Cloke
A Fijian and an Irishman had a kid once, he was born in Australia and went on to play Australian rules football. That's not the start to a joke, it's the start to a decent story that includes an awesome single punch knockout. Setanta O'Hailpin was playing for Carlton Football Club back in 2009 when he got into a confrontation with teammate Cameron Cloke. During that confrontation, he Cloke'd him right in the face. It was a textbook knockout and he followed it up with a swift kick. Sure it was unsportsmanlike but as someone who thinks violence in sports is essential, it was an outstanding method of ending a disagreement.
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