It’s been a long year both politically and socially, and all of it spilled over into the sports world.
Trump’s rhetoric has been seen in the NFL and NBA as players constantly denounce his hateful speech and use their influence to impact the world in a better way. We’ve seen the NFL lock arms and kneel, NBA players get traded after shady tweets and LeBron James stomping his way through Madison Square Garden.
Check out the biggest sports controversies that happened in 2017″
Ezekiel Elliott’s Domestic Violence Case
Zeke was suspended for alleged domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend. But with appeals, it dragged on to the last half of the season and he finally served his five-game suspension. It probably didn’t help that Elliott lifted up a girl’s shirt to expose her breasts during a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Trump’s Battle with Steph Curry & LeBron James
Of all the people Trump pissed off this year, James and Steph Curry are at the top of the list. Trump redacted the Golden State Warriors invite to the White House… despite the fact that the team already decided they weren’t attending. And the icing on the cake? James called the leader of the free world a bum.
The NFL’s Kneeling Protest
2017 is the year when everyone took a stand by taking a knee to protest racial inequality. While many initially took a knee, it wasn’t until Trump referred to players as “sons of bitches” before owners decided to lock arms with their players to show solidarity. And then there was that PR move where Vice President Mike Pence walked out of NFL game after seeing players kneel…
LaVar Ball…Being LaVar Ball
What didn’t LaVar do this year? His eldest son Lonzo got drafted by the Lakers. He pulled LaMelo out of high school to homeschool him. He refused to acknowledge Trump’s supposed role in LiAngelo getting home from China safely. He got into a full-out Twitter brawl with Trump. He got two of his sons drafted by a Lithuanian club. And to cap off the year, he’s ready to start his own league. The Ball family had a helluva year.
LiAngelo Ball’s Trouble In China
“People starting taking stuff and I took something, too,” was LiAngelo’s excuse when asked why he decided to steal sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in China. It ignited a huge controversy that led to Trump getting involved and the Ball family getting even more notoriety.
Hollywood imploded this year with Harvey Weinstein’s victims coming forward and it soon spread to the sports world. Larry Nassar was the USA Gymnastics national team doctor and has been named in over a hundred lawsuits that allege sexual abuse under the pretense of medical treatment. The likes of McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas have all come forward with their own stories of horrifying abuse.
Though she was recently cleared of any wrongdoings by authorities, tennis star Venus Williams was involved in a car crash on June 9 that led to the death of a 78-year-old man two weeks later. Due to traffic congestion, Williams was caught in an intersection that led to those who had the light not being able to drive at a normal speed, which led to an accident.
ESPN’s Sexual Assault Allegations
The exodus of sports media during the age of the sexual harassment purge started with former NFL players turned analysts Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis getting suspended from ESPN while the company investigated sexually inappropriate behavior. The suit was started by Jami Cantor, a wardrobe stylist who’d worked there for a decade.
ESPN’s Fantasy Draft “Auction”
Someone at ESPN didn’t take into account the racial insensitivity that comes with airing a fantasy football auction segment that includes Black players. Having a skit that figuratively sells Black men probably isn’t the best idea. And don’t get us started on the archaic use of the word “owner” around the sports league…
Jemele Hill’s Suspension
Free speech? Nah. After calling Trump “a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists” on Twitter, the big bosses over at ESPN weren’t too happy and decided to bench her for two weeks. In solidarity, her SC6 cohost Michael Hill sat out an entire episode because of her suspension.
LeBron James Calls Himself The King of New York
We all love LeBron for his ability to get the sports world riled up with just the lift of a finger, but he might have done a bit too much this time. After starting a war with Knicks fans everywhere by inadvertently taking shots at rookie Frank Ntilikina and referred to himself as the King of New York. Slow your roll, King. Even Hov had to talk about it.
Amid rumors that he wanted to leave the Phoenix Suns, Bledsoe tweeted “Don’t wanna be here.” But according to Bledsoe, it was because he was stuck in the hair salon with his girlfriend. The GM of the Suns didn’t even believe that shit, and Bledsoe was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. He appears to be living his best life alongside the Greek Freak.
Rick Pitino’s Firing
News broke in November that Louisville Basketball recruits were getting paid or bribed to play for the Division 1 school. Louisville’s head coach claims he had nothing to do with the scandal, but adidas said not only was he aware but “supported the scheme.”
Derrick Rose’s Disappearing Act
At the top of the year when Derrick Rose was still a New York Knick, he disappeared from the team and missed a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans. And when the Knicks called him, he didn’t answer. He claimed he needed to fly home to deal with a family issue. But the fact that he didn’t alert the team was… odd.
New York Giants Benches Eli Manning
You can’t spell Elite with “Eli,” and we’re guessing Ben McAdoo isn’t too great a speller. After racking up 210 consecutive starts, the Super Bowl quarterback was benched by the head coach in favor of Geno Smith because the season was already a loss. After an emotional Manning spoke on not starting, internal chaos ensued and ended with the firing of McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese.
O.J. Simpson Gets Released
The Juice is finally loose. After a stint in prison for stealing his own memorabilia, O.J. has finally been released to society. He’s spent his months free by wearing his own Buffalo Bills jersey while handing out Halloween candy and hanging out with models in LA. Here’s hoping O.J. can stay out of trouble.