33 Athletes With Famously Bad Tempers

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Athletes and anger seem to go together like hammers and nails. The hyper-competitive personalities of sports professionals combined with the insanely intense pressure of competing in high-profile and often high-stakes events could force anyone to lose his or her cool. 

To compile a list of 33 athletes who often lose their tempers, 24/7 Tempo consulted ESPN and other sports websites, as well as general-interest sources, including YouTube, USA Today, and The Guardian. We only included athletes who have lost their tempers multiple times during competition.

Most of the time, athletes take losses and bad calls in stride and move on to the next competition. Yet there are some who apparently can’t contain their temper at even the slightest perceived transgression or insult. These hotheads feud with anyone – coaches, teammates, opponents, officials, and even fans, often earning them large fines and sometimes long suspensions. (Maybe fines don’t matter if they’re among the 100 highest paid athletes in America.)

At one time, outbursts would only be seen if a TV camera was around. But with today’s social media channels, every fight is documented on YouTube or Twitter, so athletes can’t deny the incident ever took place. (These are some scandals that rocked the sports world.)

On this list are the usual suspects, like tennis champ John McEnroe, who made a career out of berating referees. Yet he’s far from the only angry person in that sport. Tennis seems to produce a lot of stars who break their rackets and scream at officials when calls don’t go their way.

Other sports are full of sore (and vocal) losers, too. Former NBA star Vernon Maxwell was nicknamed “Mad Max” for his frequent run-ins with fans and opponents. MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano sent a teammate to the hospital after a fight. Sadly, their tempers sometimes spill over to their personal lives, with alleged abuse against partners.

No one denies the talent of the athletes listed here. But it’s also true their anger management issues clouded otherwise stellar careers.  

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