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Major bans span across sports, history

Biogenesis suspensions significant but not unprecedented

Alex Rodriguez's suspension, announced Monday by the Commissioner's Office, is assuredly historic. It isn't quite unprecedented.

Bans of a season or more are not all that common in major sports, but they do occur. In hopes of providing a bit of context for Rodriguez's situation, compiled a list of notable major suspensions in sports.

The list is not intended to be comprehensive, but instead to highlight some of the more prominent, noteworthy, lengthy suspensions in major sports over the years.


1921: The "Black Sox": Eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were first suspended, and then permanently banned, for throwing the World Series against the Reds. The players, most prominent among them "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, were acquitted in a trial, but subsequently banned by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis nonetheless.

1947: Leo Durocher: The fiery, controversial manager of the Dodgers was suspended for the entire 1947 season by Commissioner "Happy" Chandler for "the accumulation of unpleasant incidents," including his association with people involved in gambling.

1970: Denny McLain: The last 30-game winner, McLain was suspended by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for three months of the 1970 season due to his association with gamblers.

1979: Willie Mays: The Hall of Famer was permanently suspended by Commissioner Kuhn for accepting a job at a casino. He was reinstated by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth in 1985.

1980: Ferguson Jenkins: Kuhn suspended Jenkins for life after being arrested in Toronto for possession of drugs. However, Jenkins' suspension was overturned by an arbitrator later in the same month.

1983: Mickey Mantle: Like Mays, Mantle was banned by Commissioner Kuhn for his association with a casino. Like Mays, he was reinstated by Commissioner Ueberroth in 1985.

1989: Pete Rose: Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, was placed on the permanently ineligible list by Commissioner Bart Giamatti as a result of his gambling on baseball. Rose was permitted to apply for reinstatement but remains ineligible to this day.

1990: George Steinbrenner: The Yankees owner consented to a lifetime "agreement" with MLB as a result of his attempts to discredit player Dave Winfield. He was reinstated in 1993.

1992: Steve Howe: The reliever, who battled substance abuse for nearly his entire career, was permanently suspended by Commissioner Fay Vincent for drug use. That followed a one-year ban which cost him the 1984 season. He was later reinstated and pitched again in 1994.

1993: Marge Schott: The owner of the Reds, Schott was removed from day-to-day operations of the club for the entire 1993 season due to a number of racially offensive remarks. She was suspended again for similar behavior from 1996 through 1998.

2007: Neifi Perez The Tigers infielder was suspended 80 games by Commissioner Bud Selig for a third positive test for a banned stimulant.

2011: Manny Ramirez: Ramirez was suspended 100 games early in the 2011 season for his second violation of MLB's drug policy. Instead, he voluntarily retired. Upon his application for reinstatement, it was announced that Ramirez would still be required to serve 50 games once he was signed to a contract.

2012: Guillermo Mota The Giants reliever was suspended 100 games during the 2012 season for his second violation of MLB's drug policy. He returned to pitch for San Francisco in September and in the postseason.

2013: Ryan Braun: Though Braun successfully appealed a suspension for a 2011 positive drug test, he was suspended 65 games earlier this season for violations of MLB's drug policy.


1977: Kermit Washington: Under Commissioner Larry O'Brien, Washington was suspended 60 days (26 games) for punching Rudy Tomjanovich during an on-court fight.

1997: Latrell Sprewell: NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended the Golden State Warrriors player for 82 games (the length of an NBA season) for assaulting coach P.J. Carlesimo. The suspension was later reduced to 68 games.

2004: Ron Artest Stern suspended nine players in total for a brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons, but Artest took the worst of it. The Pacers forward (now known as Metta World Peace) was suspended 86 games, including the postseason, for both his role in the fight and his additional actions, which included going into the stands.

2010: Gilbert Arenas, Javaris Crittenton: Stern suspended the two Wizards players for possessing and displaying firearms in the locker room at the Verizon Center in Washington. Arenas was banned for 50 games, Crittenton for 38.


1963: Paul Hornung, Alex Karras: Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended the Green Bay Packer and Detroit Lion indefinitely for betting on NFL games. They were reinstated after one season.

1983: Art Schlichter: The quarterback was suspended by Rozelle for gambling. He played in 1984 and 1985 before being released, and after a 1987 gambling arrest, he was not permitted to return to the league.

1989: Stanley Wilson: Wilson was suspended on the eve of the Super Bowl for substance abuse issues. The suspension was made permanent in May of that same year.

1989: Dexter Manley: A star defensive end for Washington, Manley was suspended for life for substance abuse in 1989. He was reinstated, then permanently banned after another violation in 1991. Manley was the highest-profile of several players suspended for a year or more by the NFL due to substance abuse issues in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

1999: Leonard Little: Little was suspended for eight games, half a season, for a DUI manslaughter conviction.

2003: Maurice Clarett: The Ohio State running back was suspended for the 2003 season for violating NCAA rules.

2007: Chris Henry: The Bengals wide receiver was suspended eight games for multiple violations of the league's personal conduct policy. Henry was arrested four times prior to the suspension.

2007: Tank Johnson: The Bears defensive lineman was suspended eight games for gun-related violations of the league's personal conduct policy. He was released that summer, signed with the Cowboys, and returned after sitting out the eight games.

2007: Pacman Jones: Jones was suspended for the 2007 season by Commissioner Roger Goodell following his involvement in an altercation at a club in Las Vegas in April of that year.

2007: Michael Vick: Vick was suspended indefinitely after pleading guilty to charges connected with a dogfighting ring. He spent 21 months in prison, and after being released, served an additional two games.

2009: Donte Stallworth: Goodell suspended Stallworth for the entire 2009 season after his guilty plea on charges of DUI manslaughter in Florida.

2010: Ben Roethlisberger: Though he was not charged after being accused of sexual assault, Roethlisberger was nonetheless suspended for the first six games of the 2010 season as a result of the incident. The suspension was reduced to four games.

2012: Sean Payton: The New Orleans Saints coach was suspended for the season due to his involvement in a bounty program carried out by the Saints. Four players' suspensions were vacated, but Payton served the entire 2012 season.


1927: Billy Coutu: Coutu is the only player in history to be banned for life from the NHL because of violence. He was punished for his attack on two officials during a 1927 Stanley Cup Finals game.

1948: Don Gallinger and Billy Taylor: Both were banned from the NHL for life due to gambling by league president Clarence Campbell. They were reinstated in 1970.

1993: Dale Hunter: After the Capitals' Hunter blindsided Pierre Turgeon into the boards -- causing a concussion and separated shoulder while the Islander celebrated a goal during a playoff game -- Commissioner Gary Bettman issued a then NHL-longest 21-game suspension that was served the following season.

2000: Marty McSorley: Bettman suspended McSorley 23 games, the remainder of the regular season, for striking Donald Brashear in the head with his stick. After McSorley was convicted of assault for the incident, his suspension was extended to one full year. He never played again in the NHL.

2007: Chris Simon: Simon was suspended 30 games by Bettman for his actions toward Jarko Ruutu. Simon stepped on Ruutu with his skate.


1989: Ben Johnson Johnson won the title of "World's Fastest Man" for his triumph in the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics, but was suspended for two years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Johnson was stripped of his medal and his world record. After a second positive test in 1993, he was banned for life.

1995: Eric Cantona: A forward for Manchester United, soccer star Cantona was suspended by his club for the final four months of the season after attacking a fan. The suspension was extended for four additional months by the English Football Association, meaning Cantona missed more than eight months total.

2006: Justin Gatlin: The 2004 Olympic champion in the 100 meters, Gatlin received a four-year doping ban for a positive test.

2007: Floyd Landis: Landis received a two-year suspension for doping, and was stripped of his 2006 Tour De France title.

2007: Marion Jones: The Olympic star received a two-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency due to a "non-analytic positive," after a guilty plea for lying to federal agents in a doping investigation. She retired upon receiving the suspension. Jones was also stripped of the five medals she won at the 2000 Olympics.

2012: Lance Armstrong: The seven-time Tour De France champion was stripped of every title for doping. He was also banned for life not only from cycling, but from all sports which follow World Anti-Doping Agency protocols.

Matthew Leach is a national reporter for Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach.