Every week, it seems like at least one athlete gets fined enough for questionable conduct or a seemingly innocuous comment to put a serious chunk in most people’s student loan debt. While $25,000 might not seem like a lot to most players, I find it hard to fathom you can dock someone the price of an economy sedan for saying something bad about the referees.
I was recently contemplating the absurdity of these fines and found myself going down the rabbit hole in an attempt to examine the insane amounts people have had to shell out over the years for their various transgressions.
After spending way too much time researching the topic, I decided to share what I’ve found when I set out on a quest to figure out which athlete has been hit with the biggest fine in the history of sports.
Before diving into the details, I should note the definition of “fine” can be a bit fluid. Many players who are hit with a fine receive one in the form of a suspension, during which they forfeit the money they would have made while playing in those games. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to classify any salary that was sacrificed as a fine.
I’ve also decided to omit fines levied upon players and franchises—Jerry Jones was reportedly fined millions for interfering with Ezekiel Elliot’s contract negotiations— as they’re significantly more than any single player (with some exceptions) has had to deal with.
To answer the big question. let’s take a look at the league by league breakdown.
In 2015, notorious dirtbag Raffi Torres blindsided Jakob Silverberg during a preseason game because Torres apparently needs some time ahead of the season to prepare for doling out cheap shots when things officially kick off.
The repeat offender was suspended for 41 games and lost over $440,000 thanks to the hit, making it the most expensive on-the-ice incident in the history of the NHL.
What is easily the most entertaining fine on this entire list is brought to us by Vladimir Radmanovic, who was playing for the Lakers when he decided to go snowboarding and separated his shoulder in the process.
Radmanovic was sidelined for two months after taking a dive and was rewarded with a $500,000 fine from the franchise for violating the terms of his contract, which apparently had a no-snowboarding clause.
If you’re curious, he has nothing on DeMarcus Cousins as far as careers are concerned, who has racked up over $1 million in fines over his time in the NBA.
There are plenty of ways to get fined in the NFL, the most notable of which is being a dirty player—like Ndomakong Suh, who was fined a record $100,000 for a hit in 2013.
However, nobody has had it worse than former Miami Dolphin Dion Jordan, who failed multiple drug tests before being suspended for the entirety of the 2015 season, which meant he lost out on at least $5.6 million (not including the potential bonuses he sacrificed).
Around the turn of the millennium, America’s Game suffered a major league blow when it was revealed almost every beloved superstar had managed to get to the top of their game thanks to the help of performance-enhancing (and testicle-shrinking) drugs.
The scandal rocked the league and a number of players were hit with massive suspensions but no one felt the brunt of the impact more than Alex Rodriguez, who was hit with a 162-game ban that he claims cost him $40 million when everything was said and done, making him far and away the highest-fined player of them all.