The 20 Worst Locker Room Cancers in Sports History

 

 

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The Worst Clubhouse Cancers in Sports History

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

They say it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. In the world of sports, 'bad apples' are usually referred to as 'locker room cancers'. The term is very harsh, but that's because a team cancer is probably the worst thing an athlete can be. The problem is that some athletes are oblivious to the concept of a team cancer, and therefore those individuals often make the worst cancers.

In addition to the term locker room cancer, bad sports apples can also be referred to as: clubhouse cancers, team killers and selfish d-bags. Okay, I made the last one up, but you get the point.

So what's the true definition of a locker room cancer?

First off, it's an athlete who puts himself ahead of the team. Team cancers are often selfish and egotistical. They're also usually ball hogs and they want their share of the action every single time out. There's no such thing as a 'team effort' to most clubhouse cancers.

But to truly be a locker room cancer, the player must ultimately hurt their team. It can happen by the athlete commanding too much attention on and off the field, or it can come in the form of morale. When one player separates from the rest of the team it creates a divide. In a pro sports locker room, that's the last thing that's needed. Championships are hard enough to come by when everyone is bought in. They're almost impossible when one player thinks he's above the rest.

One thing you'll notice about most of these players is that they're from the modern era and most of them are stars. For teams to put up with diva types, they usually have to be really good at what they do, and most of these athletes are/were good at their jobs. As for most of them being from the modern era, it's really only because of technology and instant information, that we even know about some of these guys being clubhouse killers. There simply just isn't that much information available on players from generations' past. At least not a lot of info about how they acted in the clubhouse.

So with all that in mind, here are the 20 worst locker room cancers in sports history:

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Vince Young

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'College' Vince Young seemed like a good apple, but by the end of his time in Tennessee, he had definitely become a locker room cancer. It's a shame, because he may have been able to extend his career if he had a better reputation.

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Gilbert Arenas

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Arenas has never played on a team that's done anything. Coincidence? I think not. If there's any doubt about Agent 0 being a locker room cancer, look no further than the fact that he literally brought firearms into the Wizards locker room back in 2009.

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Sean Avery

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Avery is one of the most notorious jerks in NHL history. He has a track record a mile long of questionable incidents and there's a reason he played on four different teams, despite being pretty good at his job.

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Ryan Braun

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USA Today Sports

Braun was considered a pretty good dude up until the time he was caught lying and cheating by MLB. Now, he's a clubhouse cancer until further notice. How are his teammates supposed to like and respect him after what he did?

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Carmelo Anthony

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Anthony is your typical 'me first' NBA scorer. He's not a guy who shares the ball and he doesn't appear to be much of a leader. There's a reason Melo's teams have never came close to making the Finals.

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Chad Johnson

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Chad Ochocinco was one of the worst alter egos in sports back in the 2000s. Sure, he was a pretty good receiver, but he was also very selfish and concerned about his end zone dances more than anything else.

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Stephon Marbury

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@AsianCagers

Starbury seems like a really good dude away from the basketball court. He's known for making large charitable donations and he even co-authored a children's book. But early in his career in Minnesota he earned a reputation as a clubhouse cancer. He demanded a trade back in 1999 after becoming unhappy and then in 2005 he had a public feud with Knicks head coach Larry Brown.

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Ryan Leaf

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Leaf's NFL career was very short-lived, but during his time as a pro football player he earned himself a very poor reputation. He was known for making his own schedule and for being a bad teammate. And of course, we all remember his classic locker room outburst towards a reporter, where he had to be physically restrained.

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Keyshawn Johnson

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USA Today Sports

Johnson wrote a book after his rookie season entitled 'Just Give Me the D*** Ball'. He was also traded twice during his career and earned a reputation as being difficult to deal with.

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Jeff Kent

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Getty Images

Kent was not a popular clubhouse guy during his lengthy MLB career. Why? He apparently didn't say much and wasn't really a fan of teammates (or people in general). At least he kept quiet most of the time.

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Riley Cooper

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USA Today Sports

Cooper put a permanent mark on his record in 2013 when he was caught saying the n-word on camera. That's just something you can't say if you expect teammates (or anybody) to like you. It sounds like things were smoothed over a bit in Philly by the end of the season, but if the Eagles don't re-sign him, he might have a hard time finding work.

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Barry Bonds

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By nearly all accounts, Bonds was a selfish, egotistical jerk.

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Albert Haynesworth

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USA Today Sports

Once Haynesworth got his big payday, he decided to call it a career. His battles with Mike Shanahan are well documented and their feud was still going as of late 2013.

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Alex Rodriguez

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USA Today Sports

Not only is A-Roid a clubhouse cancer, he's an MLB cancer. No one in baseball likes this guy, no one.

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Richie Incognito

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Incognito claims that the Jonathan Martin situation got blown out of proportion. But the reality is that the OL has been kicked off of nearly every team he's ever played for.

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Carlos Zambrano

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USA Today Sports

Hot-headed moron. That would be one way you could describe Carlos Zambrano. There's no doubt this guy was a big time distraction on several Cubs teams that were pretty good.

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Milton Bradley

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Milton Bradley is a buffoon who acted as a clubhouse cancer on many teams throughout his MLB career. In total, he played for eight teams before GMs around the league just decided to avoid him all together.

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Randy Moss

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USA Today Sports

Moss has a terrible reputation when it comes to locker behavior and mailing it in. You never knew which Moss was going to show up -- the one that acted like an All Pro receiver or the one who acted like he didn't want to be on the football field.

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Terrell Owens

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T.O. is not only the biggest locker room cancer in sports history, he sets the standard for being one, to this very day. It took until the very end of his career before he finally got 'it', but by then it was too late. Even though there was no doubt he could still play in 2012, teams avoided him like the plague. It makes you wonder if his career would have been different, had he became a better teammate sooner.


Around the Web

  • Timbo Slice

    Vince Young is a terrible example of team cancer. Dude won games whenever he actually got a chance to start.

  • Jack Blackestone

    How about Latrell Spreewell, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, Dennis Rodman, I could likely go one for an hour naming jerks just in basketball.

  • Joseph Haas

    Riley Cooper really doesn’t belong on that list. He made a huge mistake, but he also did a lot to atone for it and apparently has been forgiven by his teammates, not all of whom were ready to do so initially. He also helped his cause by having a strong season.