The MLB's league-wide crusade against players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal ends today as they deliver the sentences.
When the Miami New Times first reported that Biogenesis, a South-Florida anti-aging clinic, had been supplying professional baseball players with performance-enhancing drugs (PED), the MLB began its investigation and is now dealing out suspensions.
Last month, the 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun, agreed to a suspension amounting to 65 games, essentially ending his season. Today, 12 players have been suspended for 50 games.
Receiving the most severe suspension is Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. This is Rodriguez's second PED-related offense, after admitting to using PED's during his time with the Texas Rangers (2001-2003). He is also accused of obstructing MLB's investigation by attempting to buy Biogenesis records.
As a result, Alex Rodriguez is suspended until the end of the 2014 season, a total of 211 games. He is expected to appeal and will be taking the field for the Yankees until the appeal is heard.
A-Rod is, according to ESPN, "the most accomplished player ever suspended by baseball."
Similar to Rodriguez, here are five other athletes who were suspended while they were on top of their games and rocked the sports world.
The Canadian power-forward was suspended for 17 months after he sucker-punched opponent Steve Moore on the back of the head on March 8, 2004 during a Vancouver Canucks-Colorado Avalanche regular season game.
After the hit, Moore face-planted on the ice and Bertuzzi fell on top of him along with several other players who joined in the fray. Moore was knocked-out cold, suffered three neck vertebrae fractures, facial lacerations, and a concussion.
That was the last time Moore played professional hockey. Bertuzzi is now playing with the Detroit Redwings.
This American figure-skating champion and two-time Olympian was the first woman to complete a triple axle in competition.
However, Harding is most known for her involvement with the Nancy Kerrigan attack before the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in 1994. Kerrigan was one of her main opponents, and on the eve before the figure skating national championships in 1994, she was struck by a man with a baton above the knee, resulting in a leg bruise that forced her to withdraw from competition.
Harding's ex-husband and her bodyguard coordinated the attack. They hired Shane Stant to carry it out with specific instructions to break Kerrigan's leg. Harding pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation and admitted to knowing about the attacks all along.
Kerrigan eventually healed and won silver during the Winter Olympics a month after the attack. Harding finished 8th and was later banned from U.S. competition for life.
Heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali was exiled from professional boxing for over three years after winning his first heavyweight title in 1967. Ali was drafted by the U.S. armed forces to fight the war in Vietnam but he refused to go. He was arrested, charged with draft evasion, and lost his title.
Ali was unable to fight during what many consider to be an athlete's peak years. He returned to the ring at 29 years of age, once he was granted license to box again.
He won two more heavyweight titles.
Metta World Peace
Professional basketball player Metta World Peace is known for his physical play and top-tier defense.
In 2004, during a Detroit Pistons-Indiana Pacers regular season game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, World Peace, then named Ron Artest, was at the center of an incident known as "Malice at the Palace."
With one minute left, World Peace commits a hard foul on Pistons center Ben Wallace. Wallace shoves him unto the scorer's table and players from both sides rush in. World Peace lies down on the table waiting for the commotion to dispel, until he is hit by a drink hurled from the stands. He immediately goes to the stands throwing punches. Fans enter the court fighting. Food, drinks and chairs are thrown at the players and security officials try desperately to quell both sides. To this day, it is the most notorious brawl in NBA history.
World Peace was suspended for the rest of the season and post-season. The NBA heightened security and limited the sale of alcohol on all games. He changed his name from Ron Artest to Metta World Peace in 2011.
Joseph "Shoeless Joe" Jackson
Implicated in one of the biggest scandals in MLB history, Joseph Jackson was banned from baseball and consequently, lose his eligibility for the Hall of Fame.
Players from his team, the 1919 Chicago White Sox, were accused of conspiring with gamblers to fix the World Series. Jackson's association with the players involved is controversial, and he claimed that he was never involved in any dealings.
Adding to the controversy was his play during the World Series. With 12 hits, no errors, and a .375 batting average for the series, Jackson performed spectacularly, reinforcing his innocence.
Jackson has the third highest batting average in baseball, .356. He died on December 5, 1951, just 10 days before he was scheduled to appear on TV in an effort to clear his name.
He was never reinstated.