News Column

Biggest Sports Blunders From 2011

Dec. 27, 2011

From A to Z, the Tribune-Review looks at some of the lighter, flightier and seedier moments from the year in sports in 2011:

All his rowdy friends: Hank Williams Jr.'s theme song is booted from "Monday Night Football" after the singer makes an analogy to Adolf Hitler when discussing President Barack Obama's policies with Fox News.

Big Least: Despite getting a record 11 teams into the NCAA Tournament, the Big East has only two teams advance to the Sweet 16. Pitt is one of the victims.

Crying in basketball: Miami Heat players shed tears in the locker room after blowing a big lead and losing to the Chicago Bulls in March during a five-game losing streak.

Diced Hamm: Former Olympic gymnast Paul Hamm is arrested for failing to pay $23 to a cab driver, whom he fights after falling asleep during his ride home.

Erasing a streak: Six days after the fact, MLB takes away a double by Pirates center field Andrew McCutchen that halts what would have been a 15-game hitting streak.

Fashion statement: Dominique Wilkins, Hall of Fame basketball player and Atlanta Hawks TV analyst, is attacked by a former NBA referee over a clothing bill. Wilkins is accosted following a March telecast by Rashan Michel, who is arrested on two counts of simple assault. Michel claims Wilkins owes him $12,500 for custom-made suits.

Going green: A car salesman in Oak Lawn, Ill., is fired for wearing a Packers tie to work after Green Bay dispatched the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game. The salesman sports the tie in honor of his grandmother.

He had to go: USA ski team member Robert "Sandy" Vietze is dismissed from the developmental squad for getting drunk and urinating on a female passenger while on a JetBlue flight.

Iced puck: A Minnesota boy who makes a hockey shot during a charity event doesn't get the $50,000 prize because his twin brother was supposed to shoot the puck.

Just say no: Cowboys receiver Roy Williams sends an engagement ring by mail to girlfriend Brooke Daniels, then sues the former Miss Texas USA when she doesn't return it after breaking off the relationship. The $76,000 suit is dropped when she agrees to give back the ring.

Kentucky fried collapse: After the Red Sox blow a huge September lead and lose the wild-card spot to Tampa Bay, reports surface that pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester ate fried chicken, drank beer and played video games in the clubhouse during Boston's games.

LeBron, come home: The Cleveland Cavaliers, in the first year of the post-King James era, lose 26 consecutive games, setting an NBA record.

Mouthful for McCarver: When discussing Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepczynski's nickname "Scrabble" during the World Series, announcer Tim McCarver says, "It's a five-letter word: S-T-R-I-K-E."

No mustard on it: A fan is arrested for throwing a hot dog at Tiger Woods during the final round of the controversial golfer's return in August from an eight-week layoff.

Oh, no, Ohlendorf: Ross Ohlendorf wins his $2.025 million arbitration case in February despite going 1-11 the previous year. He spends most of the season on the disabled list, makes only nine starts for the Pirates and has an 8.15 ERA.

Price of Sugar: Boxer Sugar Shane Mosely loses three championship belts to his ex-wife in a divorce settlement. Each of his kids will get a belt when they turn 18.

Quick response: Boxer Floyd Mayweather exchanges post-bout words with interviewer Larry Merchant, prompting the 80-year-old analyst to say that if he were 50 years younger, he'd kick Mayweather's butt.

Robbing Rutgers: Referees miss a St. John's player's travel, step out of bounds with 1.6 seconds left and toss of the ball into the stands during a Big East Tournament game that sends Rutgers to a controversial 65-63 loss in the second round. The furor is so great that the three officials working the game withdraw from the rest of the tournament.

Shooting Stevie: Bills receiver Stevie Johnson is fined $10,000 for his post-touchdown celebration against the Jets in which he mimics Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg.

Taking a stroll: A Pirates employee suggests a boycott of the Stroll Inn when the Kennedy establishment promotes 5 cents off a pitcher of beer following each Pirates loss. The threat makes national news, and the Pirates suffer another PR gaffe. Team president Frank Coonelly contacts the bar owner, who says Coonelly scolded her for taking the dispute to the media. She said Coonelly was "very cold and not very nice."

Underwhelming UFC: Mixed martial arts comes to Consol Energy Center for the first time, but the UFC card changes several times before the fight. Neither original main event fighter makes it into the octagon. Rumble Johnson is injured, and Nate Marquardt doesn't make weight and is dropped by the UFC.

Vocal discord: Tens of millions of TV viewers watch Christina Aguilera flub the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Instead of singing, "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," she sang, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last reaming."

What's in a name?: Controversial basketball player Ron Artest changes his name to Metta World Peace, then promptly gets bounced from competition on the first week of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

X-rated performance: While interviewing a woman to be his housekeeper, former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra strips nude and requests a massage.

Yank up those drawers: Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is banned from a Dallas-area mall for 90 days and cited for criminal trespass for refusing to pull up his baggy pants.

Zzzzzzz: In a November hockey game, the Philadelphia Flyers refuse to play into Tampa Bay's 1-3-1 trap and hold the puck in their end for at least 30 seconds while Lightning players refuse to forecheck. This happens seven times in the first period. The referee, trying to move along play, twice blows the whistle for defensive-zone draws.

Source: (c)2011 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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