There are plenty of reasons to become a professional athlete. The first and most obvious is that you can get paid to do something genuinely enjoyable. Lawyers, doctors, bureaucrats, and other "professionals" can say they do interesting things and make good money, but they'd rather be getting paid to play sports and if they say otherwise, they're lying.
The pay is generally pretty good for plenty of sports. Even bench-warmers who see a handful of shifts, at-bats or plays per season generally make hundreds of thousands of dollars in the NHL, MLB, and NFL for example, while middle of the road starters make millions, and don't even get us started on the stars.
Finally, there is the factor of women. I'm sure that someone could write a sociology doctoral thesis (if it hasn't been done already) that at the end of the day, anything any man does to increase his status in the world is done to try to attain a higher level of tail. This may be an oversimplification of the gender and most will not admit it, but the theory speaks for itself. For some men, the search and hunt for booty is second to nothing in their priorities.
The same can be said of many athletes. While plenty find one woman and stick by her, some of the biggest stars in the world of sports have been caught two-timing. The media loses it every time it happens but when dozens of women throw themselves at pro athletes daily it's hard to see it as any surprise. But I digress, here is our list of the most notorious, shocking, scandalous athlete scandals.
20 Tiki Barber
With ten years in the NFL, over 10,000 rushing yards, three Pro Bowl appearances and an impressive list of New York Giants franchise records, Tiki Barber pretty much did it all in the NFL. Off the field, he hasn't done it all but he did trade in a gorgeous wife for an NBC intern who was nearly fifteen years younger. He was married to his first wife back in 1999 and separated from her in 2010. Less than a week later, he announced an upcoming marriage to another woman. It's clear that this wasn't a spur of the moment decision.
19 Johnny Damon
It's hard to say whether Johnny Damon's infidelities and shenanigans are actually scandalous because to hear him talk about such events, he almost goes about it in a nonchalant way with an arrogant frat boy demeanor. Our hero.
The former outfielder who won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox and then again with the New York Yankees has written about his cheating experiences in his book Idiot: Beating the Curse and Enjoying the Game of Life. He had married his high school sweetheart and was too young (to paraphrase his own words) to not get with everything that moved. He even claimed to have slept with nine women while his wife was in labor. He and his first wife broke up in 2002 and Damon has remarried. There is no word on whether he still fools around like he used to.
18 Paul Lo Duca
An eleven year professional baseball catcher with four All-Star seasons, Paul Lo Duca was once married to a Playboy model, Sonia Flores. But as we'll gradually learn, one gorgeous woman isn't enough. Lo Duca had been seeing a 19 year old student; Krista Guterman for some time back in 2006 when his wife found out and filed for divorce. The story goes that while her MySpace page revealed a near obsession with the New York Mets (Lo Duca's team in 2006 and 2007, when the affair occurred), she apparently had no idea who he was when they first met in a bar.
17 Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade is an example, much like Paul Lo Duca (and many others on this list), of someone who had an absurdly hot woman waiting at home, but still fooled around. He became involved with actress Gabrielle Union after she split from Chris Howard and the two are now married. Here's where it gets interesting though. Wade and Union may have split up in 2013, when Wade and a "friend," Aja Metoyer, had a child together. While Wade and Union have obviously put this behind them, as they got married in 2014, Metoyer claims that they had a relationship while Wade was dating Union, prior to their splitting up.
16 Mark Gastineau
Back in the 1980s, every quarterback in the NFL lived in fear of Mark Gastineau. The New York Jets defensive end led the league in sacks back in 1983 and 1984 and is still considered one of the best pass rushers in the history of the league. His affair was highly publicized due to the fact that he revealed it during divorce proceedings with his first wife and the "other woman" was model/actress Brigitte Nielsen. The two had a child in 1989 and Gastineau's divorce was not finalized until a couple of years later.
15 Chipper Jones
A well rounded player, Chipper Jones' MLB career spanned almost twenty years. He is one of the most storied names in the history of the Atlanta Braves franchise, with eight All-Star selections, one NL MVP award and one World Series win in 1995. His first marriage, however, was cut short after his wife Karin discovered that he had been shacking up with a waitress from Hooters for a year and a half. That waitress ended up having his kid too. Earlier this year, Jones married former Playboy model Taylor Higgins, so everything turned just fine for Chipper.
14 Jason Kidd
One of the most controversial figures in recent NBA history, Jason Kidd, makes our list after having allegedly cheated on his now ex-wife numerous times. For some background, now a coach, Kidd was one of the league's best point guards for much of his playing career, but had so many personal scandals it's hard to take his career seriously.
He married Joumana, his first wife, in 1997 after just three years of professional ball. Ten years later, they broke up and aside from domestic abuse allegations, and a monumentally dysfunctional relationship, she claimed that Kidd had carried on multiple affairs during their time together, with reporters, strippers, New Jersey Nets employees and a fan.
13 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neall, 1992's number one overall draft pick and one of the most decorated NBA centers of all time, is our lucky number thirteen. Known for his charming, pleasant demeanor, Shaq has admitted that his breakup from wife Shaunie Nelson, who he married back in 2002, was due in part to infidelities on his part. In a memoir released in 2011, he admitted that in his past he was unfaithful on a few occasions and that, to paraphrase, he did not do the things necessary to carry on the relationship.
12 Barry Bonds
Where do we start with Barry Bonds? He stands as one of the most divisive characters in the history of the game of baseball. You can start off with names like Ty Cobb and Pete Rose, but eventually someone is going to throw Bonds into the conversation. He married his first wife, Susann, in 1988 and divorced her in 1994, formally having the union annulled in '97. He married his second wife, Liz, in 1998, but from 1994 until around 2003, he had an ongoing affair with another woman, Kimberly Bell. Years ago, Bell testified at Bonds' perjury trial after his involvement with the BALCO scandal.
Bonds also has another affair scandal after he allegedly knocked up an adult film star, Devon Shire (or Jennifer Peace) back in 1994.
11 Tom Brady
I'm unsure whether Tom Brady actually did anything wrong here, but for the entertainment of all the Brady-haters out there, we decided to include another story about him allegedly "cheating." Between destroying a cell phone, leaving some balls unattended, and spying on an opponent like an NSA agent with a camcorder, many believe that Brady's current marriage to supermodel Gisele Bundchen started out as an affair. He was with actress Bridget Moynahan until late 2006 and seemingly the instant their relationship went the way of the proverbial dodo bird, he was dating Bundchen.
The timeline can be scrutinized, and while we have some admiration for Brady and his ability on the field, we felt we had to include him here because, well, who doesn't like reading about stories in which a Patriot may or may not have cheated?
10 Ashley Cole
English defender Ashley Cole has played in almost 400 EPL matches and is considered one of the best left backs of all time. During his prime, he was married to musician/actress /professional attractive woman Cheryl Tweedy for a few years. In 2008, they experienced marital problems after allegations of infidelity, but played the "deny game" well enough to remain in the relationship. However, two years later, the rumors resurfaced and saying "it wasn't me" was no longer enough. They divorced in 2010. The agreed-upon tally is five women.
9 Kobe Bryant
The Black Mamba or Vino (because nothing in the world is cooler than a self-assigned nickname) is our number nine, though he managed to stay married to his wife Vanessa, despite many controversial moments in their relationship. When they met, she was still in high school and his parents initially did not approve of the couple.
Several years ago, Vanessa stood by Kobe after he was accused of sexual assault, but the two have had a rocky marriage. According to some sources, Bryant has had affairs with around 100 women throughout his marriage, but still, his gorgeous wife remains.
8 Oscar De La Hoya
The Golden Boy, as we have learned since his retirement from boxing, may not be so golden after all. Well, to be fair, he was golden in the ring for the most part, but his life after boxing has involved drug and alcohol abuse, along with marital infidelity. He admitted to having been unfaithful to his wife, Millie Corretjer, several years ago. His most infamous media embarrassment occurred back in 2007 when photos were leaked of De La Hoya dressed in women's clothing with another woman. He initially told reporters that they were doctored pictures, but years later admitted that it was him during a part of his life of which he was not proud.
7 John Terry
One of England's most beloved and decorated footballers was not immune to the lure of a woman to whom he was not married. Worse, he got mixed up with the wife of a teammate. He's one of Chelsea's greatest stars but he is also probably the most notorious adulterer in the history of the EPL.
Back in 2009, he was exposed as having had an affair with the wife of Wayne Bridge, his teammate with both Chelsea and the English national team.
6 Alex Rodriguez
It's the same story with several members of this list. A-Rod may be one of the best baseball players in the game and possibly all time, but he's done too much in the way of tarnishing his own name to be considered a great hero of the sport. His two scandals for performance enhancing drug use have made him a villain on the field and some choice events in his personal life have fostered hatred for him off the field.
After marrying Cynthia Scurtis in 2002 and having two kids, Rodriguez found himself a single man in 2008 after his wife filed for divorce due to being abandoned after he had been involved with numerous alleged affairs involving strippers, hookers and, from the sounds of it, anyone else on whom he could get his hands. There is a reason people consider him one of the biggest scumbags in baseball, but damn, can he play ball.
5 Michael Jordan
The greatest basketball player of all time (debatable?) makes our list at number five in the wake of, what was at the time, the largest celebrity divorce settlement of all time. His Airness married Juanita Vanoy back in the late 1980s and they were together for seventeen years until they finalized a divorce in late 2006. One of the reasons for the end of their marriage was, of course, infidelity. MJ had multiple affairs and even an incredibly patient woman can only take so much of that crap.
4 Roger Clemens
Rocket Roger Clemens played over two decades in Major League Baseball, achieving the kind of success that even some of the most gifted of his peers can only dream of. Seven Cy Young Awards, two World Series wins and the distinction of having struck out 4,672 batters; third most of all time.
But his career was not always flowers and sunshine. His reputation was hurt by both his own personality (accusations of selfishness and some unpleasant comments) and allegations of steroid use. Moreover, his legacy was further damaged after retirement when he was discovered to have had at least one extramarital affair. The most notorious was with country music singer Mindy McCready, who some have suggested was fifteen years old when they first met. It has also been suggested that he hooked up with the ex-wife of golfer John Daly, along with another woman, whose name is unknown. Despite the controversy, Clemens and wife Debra are still married.
3 Tony Parker
What the hell do you mean a guy cheated on Eva Longoria? Did he never see her?! This was a paraphrased response of millions of men after San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker was caught cheating on a woman that many idolize for her beauty. Who knows, none of us are married to her, maybe she's completely insufferable.
To make a long story short, Parker was discovered, back in 2010, to have been involved with Erin Barry, the wife of former teammate, shooting guard Brent Barry. How was this discovered, you might ask? Well, he left his computer on one night and his magnificent (now ex) wife read some messages that left nothing to the imagination.
2 Ryan Giggs
Among the greatest football players of all time stands 23-year Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs. The man played in over 670 games, scored over 100 times, holds a few records for BPL football and has been honored with the distinction of the OBE (Order of the British Empire). But, aside from all that, he did something that many consider to be an unforgivable act. Giggs married his wife in 2007 and the two are still together. However, he carried on an affair with an impregnated Natasha (who went on to abort the child), the fiancee of his brother Rhodri for several years. The two brothers only recently started speaking again.
1 Tiger Woods
Do we even need to explain this one? The most gifted and classy man in (possibly) the classiest sport out there was married to a Swedish former model and decided chasing tail everywhere he went was a good idea. She found out, the media had something vastly beyond a field day and they divorced. He apologized and seemed to get everything back on track. He even started dating one of the hottest female skiers in the world, Lindsey Vonn. Sure enough, when they broke up, rumors started flying about another woman with whom he had fooled around. Her name is Amanda Boyd and she used to be married to golfer Jason Dufner.
It's ultimately unclear whether those rumors are true, but there is no question that Tiger Woods romantic history amounts to the most notorious and scandalous of all athlete affairs.