As the Frank and Jamie McCourt split demonstrated, sports and family do not always mix well. Siblings have turned on one another. Children have rebelled against parents. Uncles, stepmothers, half-brothers, stepchildren ... all sorts of relatives have factored into disputes. Here are 10 of the top sports family feuds of recent times.
Mark and Jay McGwire
Sports: Baseball, body building Relationship: Brothers Source of rift: A seemingly minor incident drove a wedge between them. During a visit Mark made to his brother's home, Jay's 9-year-old stepson spilled coffee on Mark — who overreacted, in Jay's mind. Things deteriorated from there. Domestic carnage: In 2010, Jay, a former body builder, published a tell-all book titled "Mark and Me: Mark McGwire and the Truth Behind Baseball's Worst-Kept Secret." It described, in great detail, how Jay juiced up his slugger brother. Mark dodged steroid questions and kept a low profile after retiring from baseball. But this issue resurfaced when the St. Louis Cardinals hired McGwire as hitting coach. Talking trash: Jay, from his book proposal: "Mark is a man I think most would like to forgive because his reason wasn't nefarious — it was for survival. My bringing the truth to surface about Mark is out of love. I want Mark to live in truth to see the light, to come to repentance so he can live in freedom-which is the only way to live."
Ken and Frank Shamrock
Sport: Mixed martial arts Relationship: Adopted brothers Source of rift: Bob Shamrock adopted Frank as a 13-year-old. At the time, Ken was 21 and out of the house. After Ken became a MMA star, he helped Frank develop a strong career of his own. But then Frank went off on his own. Domestic carnage: Ken accused Frank of turning his back on Bob when their father became gravely ill. Frank accused Ken of cutting himself deliberately to duck a fight with Kimbo Slice. Frank also accused Ken of abusing steroids his entire career. Talking trash: Ken got mad when Frank backed out of another proposed fight. "Frank's been talking about fighting me forever," Ken told MMANews.com in 2009. "Every time it comes down to fighting me though, he backs out. From early on I was very skeptical about fighting him because all he does is get all the press he possibly can out of fighting me — doing interviews and getting time on TV and stuff — and then when it comes time to fight he doesn’t. This is the fourth time he’s back out of a fight with me. It’s the same thing with Kimbo Slice. He wants none of me because he knows he’ll get his ass kicked."
Eddie Debartolo Jr. and Denise Debartolo York
Sport: Football Relationship: Brother, sister Source of rift: Through the 1980s and '90s, the 49ers were the model NFL franchise. They won five Super Bowl titles in 14 years. Eddie, who inherited control of the team from his father, reigned as pro football royalty. But when investigators tied him to political corruption in Louisiana, he resigned as 49ers CEO. Denise took the helm of the family football business. After his subsequent guilty plea, Eddie tried to reclaim his position via a legal battle with Denise. Domestic carnage: Eddie's takeover failed. After he signed over control of the 49ers in 2000, a cold war ensued. It finally ended when Jed York took the ownership helm. The franchise inducted Eddie to the 49ers Hall of Fame and threw a party to honor him. Talking trash: "I placed my trust and my family's trust in Denise's hands," Eddie said after filing his lawsuit, "and that trust has been betrayed."
Roy Jones Jr. and Roy Jones Sr.
Sport: Boxing Relationship: Son, father Source of rift: Roy Sr. groomed Roy Jr. to become a champion, using famously harsh tactics in his homemade ring. Biographers note that he whipped his young son with a plastic pipe or hose when he slacked off. Roy Jr. stuck with it, eager to please. "My dad was so interested in boxing that I figured I could get his attention if I boxed too," Jones once said. Domestic carnage: Roy Jr. eventually cut his father out of his professional and personal life. He isolated himself on his compound outside Pensacola, Fla., devoting his free time to hunting, fishing and cockfighting — a "sport" also favored by his father. In the twilight of his career, Roy Jr. finally welcomed his dad back into the fold. Talking trash: In an interview with EastSideBoxing, Roy Sr. addressed the estrangement and missing parts of Roy Jr.'s career: "I have no regrets over any portion of that. I was always a part of it in a sense. I always watched it, so I never did really miss it. Sometimes you’ve just got to let him go and do it. I can’t live his life for him. If I could I wouldn’t because there wouldn’t be anything for me to be proud of. I don’t have any regrets. It was his decision and whatever way he decides was up to him."
Frank and Jamie McCourt
Sport: Baseball Relationship: Husband and wife Source of rift: The former Dodgers owners separated in 2009, setting the stage for divorce in October 2010. In court documents, Frank accused Jamie of traveling to Israel with her bodyguard on company business, then extending the excursion to France for 2 1/2 weeks on the Dodgers' dime. Domestic carnage: Frank, then the Dodgers' chairman, fired Jamie as chief executive. Jamie sought to regain her job. Frank claimed he was sole owner of the team, but Jamie disagreed. The pair's lavish lifestyle and high-profile battle had ominous implications for the Dodgers. The team went into bankruptcy protection in June 2011, but Frank eventually sold the team in May 2012 for $2 billion, the highest figure ever paid for a pro sports franchise. That figure restarted the feud, as Jamie filed a motion in September to set aside the divorce settlement, claiming Frank committed fraud by vastly understating the team's value. Talking trash: Said attorney Bertram Fields about the September filing: ''Mr. McCourt got about 93 percent of the family assets, and Mrs. McCourt got about 7 percent. We would've much preferred to have this massive imbalance resolved with some modification, but we got no response to that approach. We didn't want to have more family litigation, but now it's up to the court.''
Ted Williams, John Henry Williams, Bobby-Jo Ferrell
Sport: Baseball Relationship: Father, son, daughter Source of rift: After Hall of Famer Ted Williams died, his children clashed over his remains. Bobby-Jo said her father wanted to be cremated. John Henry, her half-brother, insisted the remains be frozen at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Bobby-Jo accused John Henry of planning to peddle their father's DNA. But John Henry prevailed. A 2009 book, "Frozen," alleged that workers at the cryonics facility abused Williams' remains. Domestic carnage: As a young boy, John Henry didn't see much of his dad. But he later took charge of his father's affairs and marketed his memorabilia. John Henry also traded on his name to play baseball, toiling in his 30s for low-level minor league teams. After he died of leukemia, his body was shipped to Alcor. Talking trash: "We knew all along that this isn't what Ted Williams wanted and that it was a fraud perpetrated on him by his so-called son," Mark Ferrell, Bobby-Jo's husband, said in a 2003 report by The New York Times.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather
Sport: Boxing Relationship: Son, father, uncle Source of rift: Floyd Sr. groomed his son as an amateur. Then a prison term intervened and uncle Roger guided Floyd Jr.'s early pro career. When Floyd Sr. got out, he reclaimed his role as trainer. In 2000, Floyd Jr. sought more career control. One thing led to another, and Roger replaced Floyd Sr. as manager. Domestic carnage: During his nine-year estrangement from his son, Floyd Sr. continued his training career, working with Oscar De La Hoya. Later, Floyd Sr. returned to his son's camp but clashed with Roger. But, at his son's insistence, all of the Mayweathers were trying to get along. In August 2011, however, Floyd Jr. and Floyd Sr. were caught in a heated exchange on the HBO Sports show "24/7" promoting the title clash between Floyd Jr. and Victor Ortiz. Talking trash: After Floyd Sr.'s return to the Floyd Jr. camp, Roger downplayed his impact. "Floyd Sr. is my brother, not my mortal enemy, so that is why he is in camp. I won’t stop him. What he does in training, I don’t know. You know more than me. He’s just holding the bag."
Prince and Cecil Fielder
Sport: Baseball Relationship: Son, father Source of rift: Cecil, the former Tigers slugger, negotiated Prince's first Brewers contract after managing his son's development. But Cecil's well-documented financial troubles (reportedly because of failed business ventures and gambling debts) strained the relationship. While in the minors, Prince was served with legal papers relating to his father's money trouble. Domestic carnage: Cecil claimed his ex-wife turned his son against him. As Prince became a hitting star for Milwaukee, this feud escalated. Cecil suggested his own notoriety helped Prince get picked in the first round of the amateur draft. Prince's big-money move to join the Tigers before the 2012 season reignited interest in the feud, especially when Cecil criticized his son in February in a Tampa Bay Times article. Talking trash: In 2007, they exchanged barbs as Prince Fielder hit the 50-homer plateau. Said Cecil: "I don't think he's grown up yet. Until he can move on and talk to me like he's my son, we don't need to talk." Said Prince: "You've got to look at who's saying it. Let's be honest. He's not really the brightest guy."
Mary and Jim Pierce
Sport: Tennis Relationship: Daughter, father Source of rift: Jim coached his teenage daughter to international prominence, using verbal and physical abuse to drive her. His threatening behavior prompted the World Tennis Council to ban him from events. Mary was forced to employ new coaches, starting with Pierre Barthes, and hire bodyguards. Domestic carnage: The family split up and Jim did not take the separation well. Sports Illustrated chronicled her story under this headline: "Why Mary Pierce Fears For Her Life." Mary got a restraining order against her father. In time, with the help of newfound spirituality, she put that period behind her and enjoyed a professional renaissance. She also reconciled with her father, who remarried. Talking trash: "My father coached me from 10 to 18 and it was always the same," Mary said in a 2006 article in The Guardian. "My father coached me from 10 to 18 and it was always the same. The pressure to win was immense. But we're all human and you can't win every time — it's just not possible. People ask if I'm glad in a way that I endured it all and came out OK on the other side, and I just say that if I had to go through it again I would just pray it would not be so very hard. But nothing in life is a coincidence. Those events led me to being the person I am today."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt
Sport: Stock car racing Relationship: Son and stepmother Source of rift: Teresa raised Dale Jr. while Dale Sr. was off racing. She inherited the family business when Dale Sr. died. When the race team struggled, Dale Jr. sought control of Dale Earnhardt Inc. His sister, Kelley, represented him in unsuccessful negotiations with DEI executive Max Siegel. Dale Jr. moved on to Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 season and continues to drive for that company. Domestic carnage: Teresa refused to let Dale Jr. take his famous No. 8 with them when he left the firm. "Maybe it's for the best," he said after leaving. "Maybe it's sort of a blessing in disguise to really make a clean break. If I was to get the 8 and allow Teresa to still have control over it, I would still have to deal with it. That is not what I wanted. I have to let it go." Talking trash: After the 2006 season, Teresa fired this shot at Dale Jr., according to a Wall Street Journal report: "He has to decide on whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or . . . a public personality."