Uh-Oh’s of the 00’s: The Marvelous Mishaps of Sports

Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/MCT

Aleck Ryner and Brian Friel

The Malice at the Palace
Nov. 19, 2004
With less than a minute remaining, the Indiana Pacers appeared to be wrapping up an ordinary regular season game, as they led the Detroit Pistons by a score of 97-87. But after a flagrant foul by Pacers forward Ron Artest, who is no stranger to questionable actions on the basketball court, things quickly turned south. A mosh pit of shoving and restraining between players, officials, and coaches ensued, and within minutes, the situation somehow escalated to the point where fans were hurling cups of Diet Coke at players, inciting Artest and his teammates to run into the stands and begin pounding random spectators whom they mistakenly believed were responsible. Stephen Jackson, a future poster boy for our beloved Golden State Warriors, was naturally seen running around, sucker-punching anyone who was dumb enough to get in his way. Amidst the chaotic free-for-all someone even chucked a metal folding chair across the sea of people who had congregated on the court. In all, nine spectators were injured. 83% of fans who voted in a poll by ESPN.com said it was “the ugliest incident of fan-player violence” they had ever seen.

Phillip Wellman is off his rocker
Jun. 4, 2007
After his starting pitcher was ejected for using a foreign substance, Minor League manager Phillip Wellman did what any good manager would do, which is to scream in the umpire’s face until he is forced to back down. Wellman, however, took it a step further and completely blew his top with a tirade of protests. Throughout his temper tantrum, Wellman covered home plate with dirt, uprooted all three bases, and tossed them into the outfield, crawled in a prone position across the infield like a soldier, pretended to bite and toss the rosin bag at an umpire as if it were a hand grenade, and finally attempted to eject the umpires themselves with a fist-pump, followed by blowing a farewell kiss to the crowd while taking a bow.

The “Safety”
Oct. 12, 2008
After finishing 0-16, the 2008 Detroit Lions were easily the most miserable team in recent memory. Yet as pitiful as they were, the Lions at one point found themselves tied in a game against the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings. This, naturally, didn’t last long though as quarterback Dan Orlovsky was “sacked” for a safety. As it turns out, it ended up being the deciding score of the contest. What was more pathetic though was that Orlovsky was never even touched. He ran out of the back of the endzone. “When they started blowing the whistle, I was like, ‘Did we false start, or were they offsides or something?’” Orlovsky said. “And I looked, and I was just like, ‘You’re an idiot.’”

Ridiculous Injuries
Injuries are quite common in sports, but the 2000’s proved to be a decade of some that were not quite as run-of-the-mill. Some of these less mundane injuries include former Cubs star Sammy Sosa missing time for a strained back due to a violent sneeze. Pitcher Adam Eaton stabbing himself while attempting to open a DVD. NHL defenseman Keith Ballard swung his stick in frustration and inadvertently struck his teammate Tomas Kovoun, causing him to leave the game on a stretcher. But taking the cake is NFL kicker Bill Gramatica, who, after nailing a 42-yard field goal, jumped up in wild celebration. As he came down, Gramatica tore his ACL, causing him to miss the rest of the season and add further embarrassment to the kicker position nationwide.

The Oakland Raiders: Let the Good Times Roll
After reaching the Super Bowl in 2002, the Raiders franchise fell apart. There are a few reasons for this, most notably the NFL draft and poor management and free agent decisions by owner Al Davis. The Raiders have not drafted a pro bowler in the first round since Nnamdi Asomugha in 2003, despite having five picks in the top 10 of the draft. These draft blunders usually result from picking players based solely on their lightning quick 40 times, an obsession of Al Davis. Combine these players with free agent mistakes like Javon Walker and you have the Raiders, the laughing stock of the league since 2002.

Plaxico Burress and Micheal Vick: Role Models
Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick share two things in common, both play football, and both have spent time in jail. Michael Vick earned jail time for dog fighting and Burress got time for inadvertently shooting himself in the leg in public. Vick is currently back in the league with the Eagles and Burress is still in jail. Maybe professional athletes aren’t the greatest people to look up to.

The Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco Show
Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco also have two things in common; both are pro bowl receivers, and both are famous for their inventive touchdown celebrations. Owens’ celebrations include pulling a sharpie out of his sock and autographing the football, taking pom-poms from a cheerleader, dumping a fan’s popcorn down his helmet, and running to the star at midfield at Cowboy Stadium, twice while he was a 49er. Ochocinco has become even more inventive, as his antics include proposing to a cheerleader, playing golf with the pylon, wearing a “future HOF?” golden jacket during a game, attempting to bribe a referee during a replay ruling with a one dollar bill, and holding a sign saying “Dear NFL, please don’t fine me again!” Naturally, he was fined for all of these incidents.