Decade in Sports: Meltdowns 101
As we count down to 2010, we recounts top moments in 10 categories from the last 10 years.
Today: Armen Terjimanian suggests the top meltdowns since 2000...
Super Bowl XXXVIII usually is remembered for two things: the New England Patriots winning their second NFL title and Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during her halftime performance with Justin Timberlake. The Federal Communications Commission received 540,000 complaints after Jackson's breast was shown for a split-second as Timberlake sang, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song." CBS was fined a record $550,000 and the NFL told MTV, the show's producer and CBS' sister network at the time, that it would never participate in another halftime show.
Fight night wasn't exactly the plan for the Palace of Auburn Hills on Nov. 5, 2004, when the Detroit Pistons hosted the Indiana Pacers. With the Pacers leading 97-82 with 45.9 seconds left, Indiana's Ron Artest fouled the Pistons' Ben Wallace hard from behind. That started a chain of events that led to a fan throwing a cup toward Artest. Artest and some of his Pacers teammates charged into the stands, attacking a fan Artest thought committed the deed and chaos ensued. The aftermath of the Malice at the Palace: eight players suspended, five Pacers players charged with assault and battery, the cup-thrower banned for life from attending Pistons home games and a black eye for the NBA.
On May 9, 2002, Allen Iverson made practice look like a dirty word when he questioned why reporters wanted to know more about his habits after Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown questioned The Answer's work ethic after skipping practices. "We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice," Iverson said as he began a rant that lives in YouTube infamy. Kellen Winslow II of Miami (Fla.) raised eyebrows for a postgame tirade on Nov. 8, 2003, after taking out two Tennessee players then standing over and taunting them. "It's war. They're out there to kill you, so I'm out there to kill them. . . . I'm a (expletive) soldier!"
Losing their heads
During Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez drew the ire of New York Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, 72, following the beaning of the Yankees' Karim Garcia. When a bench-clearing brawl ensued later, Zimmer charged Martinez, who threw Zimmer down by the head. . . . In the 2006 World Cup final, France's Zinedine Zidane headbutted Italy's Marco Materazzi in the chest after the two exchanged words during OT.
Fans behaving badly
On Sept. 19, 2002, then-Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa was blindsided by two Chicago White Sox fans. A father and son wailed on the 54-year-old coach as a stunned crowd watched in horror. The Royals bench emptied, coming to Gamboa's defense. Once mayhem subsided, Gamboa walked off with some cuts and a bruised cheek. The father, William Ligue Jr., 34, was charged with aggravated battery, and his 15-year-old son faced an additional juvenile battery charge for striking a security guard. The attack left players shaken with their sense of security threatened.
Bartman blame game
Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series was shaping up fine for the Chicago Cubs. Leading the Florida Marlins 3-0 with one out in the eighth inning, they were five outs away from their first pennant since 1945. Everything started going wrong on Mark Prior's eighth pitch to Luis Castillo. Castillo's foul ball trailed to the left field wall. Cubs fan Steve Bartman, 26, tried to catch the ball to the chagrin of left fielder Moises Alou, who adamantly claimed fan interference. Many Cubs fans blamed Bartman, who needed a security escort, but the Cubs fell apart by giving up eight runs in the inning. The Marlins went on to win the game, the NLCS and the World Series. The Cubs haven't won a playoff game since.
The decade had its share of football coaches offering memorable quotes during heated news conferences. Jim Mora Sr. left his mark on the 2001 season with the Indianapolis Colts with his incredulous "playoffs?" response to a postgame question about the postseason. In 2002, then-New York Jets coach Herm Edwards told reporters that "you play to win the game" in response to a question about his team's ability to win after a 2-5 start. Then-Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green boiled over after his team blew a 20-point lead in a 2006 Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears, yelling, "They are who we thought they were," to reporters before walking away from the podium. And Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy made sure everyone knew his age after yelling at reporters to "come after me! I'm a man. I'm 40!" during a 2008 news conference that he spent chastising a newspaper column about one of his quarterbacks.
No pictures, please
Pitchers Randy Johnson and Kenny Rogers might have given new meaning to the term "camera shy." Johnson, who was traded to the New York Yankees by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Jan. 6, 2005, was walking down a Manhattan sidewalk as a cameraman followed him. Annoyed, "Big Unit" tried to block the camera while yelling, "Get out of my face; that's all I ask." On June 29, 2005, Texas Rangers pitcher Rogers shoved two cameramen during warm-ups. One cameraman continued filming, but Rogers knocked the camera down and kicked it. The cameraman was taken to a hospital while Rogers was sent home - suspended for 20 games, fined $50,000 and eventually charged with Class A misdemeanor assault.
Serena Williams' decade as one of tennis' top players - she won 10 Grand Slam events between 2002 and 2009 - ended with a tantrum at the 2009 U.S. Open. During her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters, Williams was called for a foot fault on her second serve, giving her opponent two opportunities at match point up 6-4, 6-5. Furious, Williams yelled at the lineswoman who made the call, using profanity and gesturing with her racket. Williams was penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave the match to bewildered Clijsters. Williams was later fined $82,500 and given two years' probation.
Steroids and baseball
The euphoria of the late 1990s home-run derbies disappeared with revelations of players using steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. The late Ken Caminiti became the first player to admit using steroids in a Sports Illustrated story in 2002, a year after he retired. In 2003, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) became the focal point for distributing a non-detectable steroid dubbed "the clear." Home-run king Barry Bonds were among those implicated. Mark McGwire's refusal to answer questions at congressional hearings in March 2005 sent shockwaves as did the 2007 Mitchell Report, which named more players in an investigation into steroids and HGH use in MLB.