Special Report

The Worst Suspensions in Sports History

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35. Tyrone Robertson
> Total suspensions: 20 games (1.25 seasons)
> Suspended in: 2002
> Reason(s) for suspension: Substance abuse
> Team(s): Buffalo Bills

Robertson, a defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills, was suspended in October 2002 for repeated violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Robertson, who was 23 at the time of the suspension, had appeared in 12 games as a rookie, recording 27 tackles that included two sacks. During his rookie year, he was often fined for being late to meetings.

34. Marlon Byrd
> Total suspensions: 212 games (1.31 seasons)
> Suspended in: 2012, 2016
> Reason(s) for suspension: Performance-enhancing drugs
> Team(s): Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Guardians

In June 2016, the much-traveled baseball player Marlon Byrd was suspended for 162 games after the 38-year-old tested positive for violating Major League Baseball’s joint drug and prevention program for the second time in his career. The suspension effectively ended his career. Byrd, who was playing for Cleveland (his 10th team), became the the third player to receive a 162-game ban from MLB, joining Alex Rodriguez (2013) and Jenrry Mejia (2015).

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33. Metta Sandiford-Artest
> Total suspensions: 111 games (1.35 seasons)
> Suspended in: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2012
> Reason(s) for suspension: Violent conduct
> Team(s): Indiana Pacers

Metta Sandiford-Artest, formerly known as Ron Artest, was suspended a total of 111 games in four separate years for violent conduct. Artest, a forward for the Indiana Pacers, was involved in one of sports’ ugliest brawls in a game with the Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills in 2012. A fan doused Artest with beer and the brawny forward jumped into the stands and attacked him. Other teammates followed and chaos ensued with bottles tossed and chairs thrown. Artest was hit with an 86-game suspension for the incident, the longest non-drug-related suspension in league history.

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32. Koren Robinson
> Total suspensions: 22 games (1.38 seasons) (tie)
> Suspended in: 2006
> Reason(s) for suspension: Substance abuse
> Team(s): Green Bay Packers

Koren Robinson, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, was suspended without pay in October 2006 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The action by the NFL came after Robinson pleaded not guilty to charges of drunken driving and fleeing police during a high-speed chase in the previous August when he was playing for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings cut Robinson and he was picked up by the Packers.

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31. Vontaze Burfict
> Total suspensions: 22 games (1.38 seasons) (tie)
> Suspended in: 2016-2019
> Reason(s) for suspension: Player safety violations
> Team(s): Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict has had a troubled NFL career. He’s been suspended four times, three of them for on-field incidents. The most recent episode was a 12-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle. In 2016, Burfict was suspended three games for multiple violations of player safety rules. A year later, the linebacker was suspended five games for hitting a defenseless player. That was eventually reduced to three games upon appeal. In 2018, Burfict missed four games for a violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy. Burfict, a one-time Pro Bowler, has had 17 run-ins with the NFL’s disciplinary office.

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