Whenever a lot of money is at stake, you know people are going to lie, cheat and steal. This is as true in sports as it is in business or politics. However, every once in a while an athlete comes along who takes lying to another level, an athlete whose boldfaced lies just make us shake our heads. And today, in light of recent events—Aaron Rodgers knows what I’m talking about—we’re going to take a look at the most infamous liars in sports.
Who’s up first? Click the arrow to find out…
"To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything."
Those words there were spoken on behalf of Sammy Sosa by his lawyer when the former slugger was called to testify before Congress on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball in 2005. At the time, nobody really believed him, but the incredulity only grew stronger in 2009 when the New York Times reported that Sosa was one of those players who had tested positive for steroids in 2003—you know, that round of testing that was supposed to be anonymous and punishment-free, and was intended only to help MLB determine whether they really had a PED problem.
11. Sammy Sosa
Katie Couric: For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other performance enhancing substance?Alex Rodriguez: No.
Like Sosa, A-Rod also tested positive for 'roids in 2003 as part of MLB's investigation into steroid use, and like Sosa, the results of A-Rod's test were supposed to remain anonymous. That's probably why he felt safe lying right to Katie Couric's face when she asked him if he ever used PEDs on 60 Minutes.
10. Alex Rodriguez
"And, uh, I've decided that, uh, I'm gonna be playing football at the University of California."
In 2007, a high school football player in Nevada named Kevin Hart received recruitment letters from Washington, Oregon and Nevada. However, due to his 1.8 GPA (and the fact that he wouldn't even take the SATs), they had all stopped recruiting him by his senior year.
Sadly, Hart was too embarrassed to admit this to anyone, so he just lied. First he told everyone that those schools were still recruiting him. Then he took things to a whole other level by telling his school that he'd chosen to play for the Cal Golden Bears—making the official announcement on national signing day in 2007, with lots of local media present.
Of course, just a few hours later the real story came out. Hart was not going to Cal and had never been recruited by them. He tried to get out of it with another lie–something about being strung along by somebody he'd paid to get schools to recruit him—but that was absurd, and he soon confessed to making up the whole thing.
9. Kevin Hart
"I promise you I won't be one of those guys who says that and then retired and then shows up with someone else."
Lots of athletes say they're retiring, then come back. What makes Favre's case so special is that he specifically promised that he wasn't going to be "one of those guys." And, of course, the fact that he did it not once, but twice. Oh, and also the fact that the second time around he came back to play with the Vikings, one of the Packers' biggest rivals.
8. Brett Favre
ESPN's Tom Farrey: How old are you?Miguel Tejada: Me? 32.
Miguel Tejada probably also used steroids, but if he ever lied about that, it certainly wasn't as entertaining as when he lied about how old he was during a "gotcha" interview with ESPN.
Now, I'm not saying I blame the guy for lying about his age. Players do it all the time to escape impoverished conditions in the Dominican and elsewhere. I'm just saying the manner in which this lie was discovered was more amusing than others.
7. Miguel Tejada
"I think I've said this over and over and over again. I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
I have to admit that I'm actually fairly persuaded by Saban as to why he lied so vehemently about leaving the Dolphins to coach the Alabama Crimson Tide. It would have been bad for the team if he had been honest and said, yeah, I'm thinking about it. But a lie is still a lie, and this one is pretty bold.
6. Nick Saban
"I did not bet on baseball."
Pete Rose, baseball's hits king, was banned from the game for betting on baseball—something to which he has now admitted. Of course, at first he said he never did it. Then he said he did it, but he never bet against his own team.
Was that true? Probably. If there's one thing I think I know about Pete Rose, it's that he hates to lose. So I really doubt he would actually lose on purpose. But still, you can never really trust a lying gambling addict.
5. Pete Rose
"I have never used steroids. Period."
In 2005, speaking before Congress, Rafael Palmeiro gave one of the most emphatic denials of PED use in the history of sports. I mean, the guy pointed his finger at them.
Then, just five months later, Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. Of course, he said he had no idea how they got in his body, because he never knowingly juiced. Then he speculated that he might have accidentally taken them when he injected himself with a dose of liquid vitamin B12 that he got from Miguel Tejada.
Is it possible that Palmeiro didn't take 'roids on purpose? Sure. But I wouldn't say it's very likely.
4. Rafael Palmero
"There exists no one who can truthfully testify that I have ever used performance enhancing drugs simply for the reason that I never have."
In 2006, Marion Jones out "Palmeiro'd" Rafael Palmeiro when she held this press conference and vehemently denied ever taking PEDs. She really couldn't have been more unequivocal about it.
Sadly, by the next year the writing was on the wall: federal investigators looking into the BALCO clinic had so much evidence against her that she couldn't deny it any more. So she did the only sensible thing: she went on Oprah in 2008 and begged the high priestess for forgiveness.
3. Marion Jones
"This is all B.S. I am completely innocent."
The great thing about the case of Ryan Braun is that he wouldn't have made this list if he hadn't given that ridiculous press conference last year after getting MLB's suspension thrown out on a technicality. If last year he had just said, "it's over, and I'm moving on," then after he got suspended for 65 games last week we all would have said, "well, that's good." But now we're all like, "hahaha ya big lyin' douche!"
2. Ryan Braun
"I have never doped."
Speaking of lying d-bags, number one on our list of biggest liars in sports is, quite obviously, Lance Armstrong. Nobody in the history of sports ever built their reputation (and fortune) off of competing hard and living clean the way this guy did. So when Lance finally owned up to what many of us realized had to be the truth—and I have no hard feelings for you folks who really wanted to believe him, because I understand that—it was a big deal.
1. Lance Armstrong
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