The biggest sports turkeys of 2019

Every Thanksgiving, most of us eat turkey. However, there’s another kind of turkey out there. In this, being a turkey is equivalent to being a goat. Not the “GOAT” but the opposite. These are the folks in the world of sports who were turkeys for one reason or another. Some of them had high points too. You can still be a turkey in a moment and then just hope to redeem yourself. 1 of 25

Antonio Brown

Brown is, without a doubt, the biggest turkey of the calendar year 2019. Frankly, if you consider the serious allegations levied against him, the word “turkey” isn’t strong enough. For starters, he got himself booted by the Raiders, who had traded for him this offseason, with various antics. This includes threatening to retire if he couldn’t keep using his old helmet. Then he signed with the Patriots and played one game. After the allegations came to light, Brown got cut by the Pats, and since then he’s alternately yelled at the NFL and threatened to retire or walk that back and say he still wants to play. We’re honestly sick of Brown at this point and would prefer if we have, in fact, seen the last of him. 2 of 25

The Houston Astros front office

The Astros were on their way to the World Series, and things should have been great for them. Then, Brandon Taubman opened his mouth. He found a group of female reporters and aggressively yelled in their direction  about how glad he was the Astros had acquired Roberto Osuna, a pitcher who has been suspended for domestic violence. When Stephanie Apstein reported on what she had seen happen, the Astros accused her of making up the story. Dozens of witnesses came out to support her, eventually requiring the Astros to fire Taubman and admit the heinousness of their actions. 3 of 25

Oakland A’s

The Athletics were taking a big risk when they drafted Kyler Murray ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. Given his college football career, he was a raw baseball player, but they couldn’t have seen where things were going to end up. Murray excelled with the Oklahoma Sooners and won the Heisman. Suddenly the NFL was a real option, and Murray decided to eschew the A’s to enter the NFL Draft. It paid off for him, as he was drafted first overall. The Athletics? They lost a top-10 pick for nothing.

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Josh Rosen

Speaking of Murray, he played into Rosen’s year as a turkey. Stuck behind a terrible offensive line in Arizona in 2018, the first-round quarterback struggled mightily. Still, the Cardinals would give him time, right? Not so much. Arizona drafted Murray and then traded Rosen to the Dolphins…who are the worst team in the NFL. He struggled once again behind a terrible offensive line and found himself benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick. 5 of 25

Anthony Davis

Davis was clearly not happy in New Orleans, and he was looking for the quickest way out possible. He basically shut himself down to avoid getting injured playing for the Pelicans while waiting for a trade. Davis also memorably wore a shirt that said, “That’s all, folks!” to the arena and then claimed he hadn’t chosen the shirt and it wasn’t meant as a message to New Orleans. Now Davis is a Laker, so nobody really believes that. 6 of 25

Chris Davis

Davis once hit 50 homers in a season. It’s good to remember that at a time like this, as we watch his career spiral down the tubes. On the year, the former slugger hit .179, a woeful batting average. However, the nadir of his season came early when the Oriole had a 54-at-bat streak in which he didn’t get a single hit. That set a new MLB record.

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NFL referees

There are a lot of ways we could go with this. Let’s start with that Saints-Rams NFC championship game. You remember the inexplicable non-call for pass interference that may have helped the Rams go to the Super Bowl. This decision was so reviled that the NFL made pass interference a reviewable call this season. However, refs are EXTREMELY reluctant to change any of their calls on possible pass interference penalties. Challenging pass interference has basically become a desperate act thanks to the referees. 8 of 25

The Rams offense in the Super Bowl

Sean McVay turned the Rams into an offensive juggernaut in the 2018 season. He basically turned Jared Goff’s career around and got Los Angeles to the Super Bowl. There, McVay and company simply couldn’t solve the Patriots defense. Bill Belichick got the better of McVay, as the Rams managed only three points in the entire game and only 260 total yards of offense.  9 of 25

Jay Gruden

Gruden is a turkey, but he’s also a bit of a scapegoat. He was the first head coach fired during the 2019 NFL season, as he was unable to turn Washington around. However, that whole franchise is an annual turkey. From the insistence on keeping its problematic name to the Trent Williams fiasco, Daniel Snyder’s franchise will be a turkey as long as he’s owning it.

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Willie Taggart

Florida State has won titles in the past — not the distant past either, as Taggart’s predecessor in Tallahassee, Jimbo Fisher, won a title. When Fisher left for Texas A&M, Taggart left Oregon after one 7-5 season in Eugene. Taggart’s decision didn’t really work out. The Seminoles missed out on a bowl game in 2018, and this year Taggart was fired in the middle of his second season. 11 of 25

LeBron James

This isn’t about anything LeBron did on the court. Sure, the Lakers missed the playoffs last year, but he’s off to a great start this season. No, it’s about his comments related to Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet that caused a huge controversy in China. James took Morey to task, seemingly mostly to protect his financial interests. It was a bad look for a guy who has positioned himself as a progressive voice of change. Also, he tried to trademark “Taco Tuesday,” which was ridiculous. 12 of 25

New York Knicks

There’s a lot of reason the Knicks team could be considered a turkey. New York was terrible last season and then didn’t win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. Hey, at least the Knicks had a ton of money for free agency. Would they sign Kevin Durant? Kyrie Irving? Both. The answer was none. New York’s biggest free-agent get was Julius Randle, and the Knicks are still terrible.

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Baker Mayfield

He went from hero to turkey in one season. Mayfield was the first-overall pick last year and gave the Browns hope to finally make the playoffs this year. They added guys like Odell Beckham, and spirits were high in Cleveland. Then they came out of the gate struggling. Mayfield started out particularly poor, and now the Browns could miss the playoffs once again, although he does have them on a three-game win streak. Freddie Kitchens is also a bit of a turkey. 14 of 25


Pour one out for another group of people who thought they could create a new football league. At least the AAF didn’t try to challenge the NFL, as it played during the NFL’s offseason. Well, it wanted to. The AAF ran out of money before it could even finish one season, ending the dream almost as quickly as it began. 15 of 25

Cody Parkey

Two words: Double doink. The Bears have a history of kicking issues. Parkey had the role last season, as the Bears headed into the playoffs as the third seed to take on the sixth-seeded Philadelphia Eagles. Chicago was down 16-15 when Parkey stepped up to try a 43-yard field goal as time expired. While the kick was ever-so-slightly blocked, at the moment all we saw was Parkey’s kick hitting the left upright and the crossbar and then bouncing out. The kick was no good, the Bears lost, and the term “double doink” entered our lexicon.

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Maximum Security

Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby…until he didn’t. The horse finished in first place, but there was controversy. A complaint was lodged by two different jockeys. It was decided that Maximum Security had swerved in a way that kept other horses from running the race properly. Maximum Security was disqualified, and Country House was named the Kentucky Derby winner. 17 of 25

Mike Yeo

Yeo was brought in to be the coach in waiting for the Blues when Ken Hitchcock was head coach. When Hitch got fired, Yeo took over. After missing the playoffs in the 2017-18 season, Yeo got fired 19 games into the 2018-19 season by the Blues. Craig Berube took over as the head man for St. Louis, and all the team did was win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history. 18 of 25

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay had an all-time great regular season in the 2018-19 campaign. The Lightning won the Presidents’ Trophy with 62 wins, making them the third team to ever have that many wins in a season. Nikita Kucherov won the Hart as MVP, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina. Tampa entered the playoffs as the favorite to win it all. Instead, the Lightning flamed out in the first round, getting straight-up swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Mike Leach

Leach likes to speak his mind. That’s how he earned the reputation as a delightful eccentric with an affinity for pirates. Sometimes, though, Leach should consider saying a bit less, like, say, after Washington State lost to Utah in September. In addition to calling the team “very soft,” he called his players “fat,” “dumb,” and “entitled.” Maybe the millionaire veteran head coach shouldn’t be telling the teenagers and 20-somethings playing for free that they are “entitled,” much less fat and dumb. 20 of 25

David Duval

Duval has had some great days on the PGA tour. He won the 2001 British Open, but the 2019 British Open went much worse for him. On the par-5 seventh hole he posted a 14. That’s right: Duval had a nonuple bogey. He finished that round shooting a 91. Shockingly, he did not end up winning the tournament. 21 of 25

U.S. men’s soccer

The U.S. failing to quality for the 2018 World Cup was a nadir, but the soccer program has not risen above turkey status in 2019. It may have been only a friendly, but the American’s 2-0 loss to Canada was still a shocking disappointment. This was the first time Canada has beaten the United States in men’s soccer in 34 years. These kinds of losses can’t be happening for a team looking to recapture its old glory.

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Deandre Ayton

Ayton didn’t win Rookie of the Year last season after being the first-overall pick by the Suns. He will always have to live down being taken before Luka Doncic. However, Ayton did show promise. Unfortunately, that promise hasn’t been on display in the 2019-20 NBA season. After the season opener,  Ayton was suspended 25 games for a PED violation. 23 of 25

Mark Emmert

As long as Emmert is the Ppesident of the NCAA, he’s going to be a big, giant turkey. He’s been fighting the fight to keep college athletes from getting paid for years. This came to a head in 2019 thanks to California’s new law that will allow athletes to profit off their images and names. Naturally Emmert is against it. He also went as far as to once again trot out the old line that because many college athletes get scholarships they aren’t necessarily “not paid” for the millions of dollars they bring in for revenue. 24 of 25

Trevor Bauer

Bauer has a history of creating controversy, mostly off the field. His political views are often an issue, and he’s not above attacking people, especially women, who criticize him online. However, let’s stick to one particularly goofy and dumb moment from the 2019 MLB season. When Bauer was about to be pulled from a game, he turned toward the outfield and whipped the ball over the fence instead of handing it to his manager, as is tradition. Shockingly, Cleveland had enough of him, and ended up dealing Bauer to Cincinnati.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas

Tennis seems to be the sport for meltdowns. Greek tennis player Tsitsipas had perhaps the meltdown of the year on the tennis court. The eighth seed had some issue with his first-round opponent at the U.S. Open, Andrey Rublev. Tsitsipas lost to his unranked opponent, which is bad enough as is. However, during the match he had plenty to say to chair umpire Damien Dumusois. In particular, he accused the umpire of having an agenda against him, going as far as to say, “You’re French, probably. You’re all weirdos.”

By: Chris Morgan

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