When a professional athlete gets into trouble we tend to make a big deal out of it even though it has become rather commonplace (see: TMZ).

Still, in the annals of history there stands a handful of athletes who have accrued more stupid points than ever thought possible. They are truly trailblazers of idiocy.

From that elite list we’ve chosen five we feel are most deserving of a mention.

credit: Chris Cole/ALLSPORT

credit: Chris Cole/ALLSPORT

5.) Tonya Harding

Harding will forever be remembered for the Nancy Kerrigan knee incident. To this day, she maintains that she didn’t know her husband planned the attack until after it happened. The problem for her is that nobody believes that story. And it’s not hard to imagine why.

A bulky Harding would resurface as a professional boxer, likely angry and seeking revenge on nay-sayers. Then there are the more recent reality and comedic TV appearances. Oh, Tonya.

credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

4.) Tanard Jackson

Jackson was elated to return to the Washington Redskins in May after an indefinite drug-related suspension was lifted by the NFL two years after it was imposed. It was the third — and longest — suspension of his career.

Jackson told reporters at Redskins Park that it was going to be different this time around; he had been humbled by having to work in a warehouse to make ends meet.

Well, a humble Jackson is likely filling out an employment application back at the same warehouse. On July 9, the Redskins announced Jackson had again been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Indeed, this time will be different . . . because he won’t be coming back. Admittedly, he’s on the list because he’s a local guy.

credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

3.) Lance Armstrong

I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. Okay, I did.

Armstrong denied multiple doping allegations for years until finally confessing to Oprah on a two-part primetime television special.

There were hearings and investigations and yet he came out of all of it unscathed until he finally came clean.

The whole time he was doping, the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor was building the über inspirational Livestrong Foundation. Sadly, his inspiration will always be stained by controversy.

The fallout from the scandal continues to this day.

credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

2.) Manti Te’o

Imaginary girlfriend. That is all.

credit: Chris Gardner/Getty Images

credit: Chris Gardner/Getty Images

1.) Plaxico Burress

Remember that time a gun slipped down the back of your pants and you accidentally shot yourself when you tried to grab it? Probably not.

But Burress does, which makes him today’s undisputed winner.

He probably wished the story ended there, but he missed the rest of that season while recovering and cops wound up charging him with criminal possession of a handgun. He served almost two years in prison before trying to revive a fledgeling football career.

credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

We would have included Albert Haynesworth, but he’s actually brilliant for doing a whole lot of nothing and still bilking the Redskins out of a huge pile of cash.


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