In an age when we hear more about sports stars’ sordid sexual deviances than their performances on the pitch, the fact that our heroes’ misbehaviour is not always linked to their married lives can be easily overlooked.
Prevalence of such stories in the media is at an all-time high. It can be demonstrated by the fact that the recent scandal enveloping John Terry appears to have subsided this week, just in time for fresh allegations to be directed at his club team mate Ashley Cole.
Last weekend we were reminded that exposing misbehaving sports stars does not necessarily require delving into their sex lives. Wales’ flanker Andy Powell was arrested for drink driving just hours after his team’s thrilling six nations victory against Scotland at the millennium stadium.
It later emerged that the 28 year-old had stolen a golf buggy from the team hotel and taken it for a spin on the M4. Powell has since been charged by police and dropped from the Wales squad.
In light of this incident I have compiled a list of the top five sport stars behaving badly, and there is not an affair in sight.
1. Barry Ferguson and Alan McGregor
Glasgow Rangers duo Barry Ferguson and Alan McGregor were banned from playing for Scotland for life in April last year, after engaging in an all night drinking session with fans whilst on international duty.
The pair were originally dropped to the bench for the next game but were filmed putting two fingers up to the camera during the match.
Their actions ultimately led to lifetime bans and to Ferguson being dropped as Ranger’s captain.
2. Stephen Ireland
In 2007, the Manchester City midfielder asked to leave international duty with the Republic of Ireland because his grandmother had died.
After flying the player home on a private jet, the Irish FA discovered his grandmother was still alive. Ireland told them it was his other grandmother, which was also found to be a lie.
The player eventually came clean and admitted that his wife had recently had a miscarriage and wanted him to come home from international duty to keep her company.
The 23 year-old has not appeared for his national team since.
3. Andrew Flintoff
After an opening match defeat against New Zealand at the 2007 cricket world cup, the England team and coaches went out to a night club.
All-rounder Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff was one player who ended up going slightly ‘overboard’ as he required being rescued from the sea in the early hours of the morning. He had strayed the beach in a pedalo.
Freddie was fined and banned from England’s next match against Canada after it was revealed this was not the first time he had been warned about his behaviour.
4. Michael Vick
In 2007, popular American football player, Michael Vick was arrested for his involvement in an inter-state dog fighting ring.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback had not only be financing the operation, but had also taken part in the execution of underperforming dogs by hanging or drowning them.
Whilst he was bailed to await trial, Vick tested positive for marijuana in a random drugs test.
In December 2007 he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison. Upon his release, Vick returned to the NFL on a two year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
5. Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas is a three time NBA all-star and currently plays for Washington Wizards. On Christmas Eve last year, a changing room argument revealed that Arenas was storing firearms in his locker. He was arrested for breaching Washington’s gun control laws.
A few weeks later a pre-game stunt in which 28 year-old Arenas pretended to shoot down his teammates on the court resulted in an indefinite suspension.
He is due to be sentenced next month.
By Nick Higgins