Sports Most Infamous Cocaine Scandals

Fame and fortune are often accompanied by beautiful women, fast cars, luxury houses and apartments, tax-free bank accounts and liberal servings of a popular powdered narcotic. Whilst snorting cocaine is de riguer in the modelling and movie industries, it is not quite as accessible to sportspeople, who are routinely tested for drugs and run the risk of serving long bans if caught with this potentially performance enhancing drug in their bloodstream.

This of course, doesn’t dissuade some sports stars from snorting the forbidden powder, resulting in scandal, prematurely ended careers, and the following list of sports’ most infamous cocaine scandals:

Richard Gasquet:

The true extent of the French tennis player’s dalliance with drugs are unlikely to be known until the French Tennis Federation has conducted a thorough investigation into how Gasquet’s urine samples, taken at the 2009 Miami Masters, both tested positive for cocaine. Whatever the outcome, the scandal is likely to have a substantial impact on Gasquet’s career, as the promising young player faces a lengthy ban from competition.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis broke onto the tennis scene as a dazzling teen star in the 1990s and departed as a coke head in 2008 after positive tests for cocaine during a tournament. Hingis denied having ingested the drug, but decided to retire early rather than put herself through an investigation into her alleged drug usage.

Vitas Gerulaitis

American tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis played the game before mandatory drug testing became part and parcel of professional tennis. However, after his retirement Gerulaitis openly admitted to having used cocaine during his career.

Mike Tyson

The fact that Mike Tyson was bust using cocaine is somewhat lacking in the surprise element department. One of the most notorious boxers in history, he showed every sign of spending most of his off-ring time with his face buried in a pile of cocaine. What is surprising is that Tyson was only bust for his drug use in 2006, long after his boxing career had ended.

Diego Maradona

The man, who introduced the world to the hand of God, introduced his own nostrils to cocaine early on in his career. Maradona was repeatedly bust for using narcotics during his career, with a positive test for cocaine leading to a 15 month ban in 1991. At the 1994 World Cup Maradona tested positive for cocaine’s cheap cousin, ephedrine, and subsequently found himself watching the tournament from the sidelines. Many believe that Maradona’s 2004 heart attack was brought on by the use of cocaine.

Adrian Mutu

Adrian Mutu joined the ranks of those football players who’d rather snort the line than walk it, in 2004. The Romanian footballer tested positive for cocaine usage while playing for Chelsea, leading to a seven month ban and the severance of his contract with the London-based club.

Robbie Fowler

Although striker, Robbie Fowler, was never bust for cocaine usage during his Premiership career, he quite openly advertised his drug abuse after scoring a goal for Liverpool against Everton. The infamous incident involved Fowler mimicking the snorting of cocaine using the white penalty line. Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, subsequently did a worthy impression of a crack-head by suggesting that Fowler had simply indulged in a ‘grass eating celebration’, learned from teammate Rigobert Song.

Marco Pantani

The use of drugs appears to be inseparable from the sport of cycling, and this was highlighted in 2004 when Marco Pantani died after overdosing on cocaine. The former Tour de France winner was tested positive for the substance during the 1999 Giro D’Italia, in an incident that ended his career as a professional cyclist.

Tom Boonen

Belgium’s World Champion cyclist, Tom Boonen, demonstrated that he was incapable of learning from the mistakes of others, when he tested positive for cocaine usage in 2008. The Belgian was promptly slapped with a ban by the organisers of the Tour de France. Incredibly, Boonen tested positive for the substance again in 2009.

Len Bias

One of the most tragic stories of cocaine usage unfolded after the death of star college basketball player Len Bias. The 22 year old celebrated being drafted by Celtics, by purchasing cocaine to mark the occasion with his college buddies. The cocaine induced cardiac arrhythmia, leading to Bias’s death. Eight days later, the tragedy was repeated when NFL defense rookie of the year, Don Rogers, died of cocaine usage in his mother’s home.

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