Silver impounds Sterling: Other sports figures banned for life
Donald Sterling's racist comments got the Clippers owner banned from for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, but Sterling is far from the first to be given that punishment. Here are other infamous sports figures who have been prohibited from their leagues.
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Lance Armstrong was a hero, a fighter, an icon. He beat cancer and amazed us by winning Tour de France title after Tour de France title. Now, he'll go down as one of the biggest fakes in all of sports. The seven-time Tour champ has been stripped of all of his Tour titles after admitted to doping in 2012. He even lost his endorsement deal with Nike — and Nike doesn’t drop anyone (Tiger Woods still has his deal, and they even brought Michael Vick back on).
AFP/Getty ImagesNATHALIE MAGNIEZ
Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle
Yep, even two of baseball's biggest icons were once handed lifetime bans. But for Mickey Mantle (center) and Willie Mays (left), it had nothing to do with their playing careers. Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned the duo after they began working as greeters for casinos in Atlantic City. Kuhn was rankled by the gambling connection when he handed down the ban, which was reversed two years later by Peter Ueberroth.
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The only woman to have received an MLB lifetime ban, former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott made the list when Bud Selig gave her the boot in 1996 for disparaging comments about African-Americans, Asians, Jews and homosexuals. She also expressed her support for the policies of Adolf Hitler (Schott said he "was good in the beginning, but went too far.") Schott was reinstated in 1998, but sold the team a year later and died in 2005 at age 75.
The Canadian sprinter demolished a field that included Carl Lewis and Linford Christie to win the 100m gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a world-record time. Just three days later, however, his gold medal and world record were stripped and he was sent home from the Games after testing positive for the banned steroid. Johnson returned to the sport in 1991, but he was found guilty of doping in 1993 and banned for life by the IAAF.
Getty ImagesTony Duffy
Even The Boss can get banned. George Steinbrenner was kicked out by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on his own player (Dave Winfield). Bud Selig reinstated Steinbrenner three years later and he stayed in the game until 2006, when he turned the Yankees over to his sons.
Hockey is a sport that embraces tough play. However, in 1927, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Billy Coutu took that credo a step too far when he attacked a referee. Coutu holds the distinction of being the only player to be banned from the league for life. Coutu never played in the NHL again.
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Steve Howe took baseball by storm, winning Rookie of the Year in 1980, saving the clinching game of the 1981 World Series and making the All-Star team in 1982. But after that, there was all sorts of trouble — well, one sort of trouble (drugs) and all sorts of suspensions (seven). He was handed a lifetime ban in 1992, but managed to win an appeal and get reinstated. His return was short-lived; he was out of the game by 1996. Howe died in 2006 after his truck flipped in Coachella, Calif.
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'Shoeless' Joe Jackson and the Black Sox
Arguably the most infamous scandal in baseball history, the Chicago White Sox throwing of the 1919 World Series led to lifetime bans for eight players. "Shoeless" Joe was the most controversial of the bunch, given that he rocked a .375 average in the series and maintained his innocence. None of the eight have been reinstated.
A Pro Bowler with two Super Bowl titles under his belt, Manley was nonetheless hampered by his frequent drug use and was banned for life by the NFL in 1991 after failing his fourth drug test. The former Redskins defensive end recently received another ban from DC radio station WTOP after he directed a gay slur toward former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman last year.
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Once a championship-level figure skater in the early 1990s, Harding failed to medal at the 1992 Olympics and by 1993 her career was in decline. Nobody saw what came next: Rival Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a man hired by Harding's ex-husband during a practice at the 1994 US Championships. Harding admitted to covering up the attack, and she was subsequently banned for life by the US Figure Skating Association.
AFP/Getty ImagesVINCENT ALMAVY
The 7-foot Tarpley was the seventh pick in the 1986 NBA draft out of Michigan and played for the Dallas Mavericks until he was kicked out of the NBA for cocaine use in 1991. After playing in Greece for a couple years, Tarpley was reinstated by the NBA and signed a six-year, $20 million contract with the Mavericks in 1994. But after his alcohol use violated the terms of a court-imposed program, Tarpley was permanently banned from the NBA a year later.
Getty ImagesMike Powell
This is perhaps baseball's best-known lifetime ban — if only because Pete Rose makes sure we don't forget about him. Managing the Cincinnati Reds after years starring for them, Pete Rose was booted from the game in 1989 for gambling on baseball. He's made four bids for reinstatement, all denied, eventually coming clean about his misdeeds in 2004 (with a tell-all book and publicity tour, of course.) Still, baseball's all-time hits king remains out of baseball and out of the Hall of Fame.