Ranking the biggest turkeys in sports in 2021

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

November 23rd, 2021

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means it’s time for an annual tradition. Each year, we take a look back at some of the biggest turkeys in sports, re-living some moments that we all wish hadn’t happened. In that spirit, here’s this year’s list!

1. Kyrie Irving

This is as easy a spot as any to begin. Kyrie Irving hasn’t played a game to this point in the 2021-22 NBA season as a result of New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and the superstar guard’s refusal to be vaccinated. Despite Irving’s defiance, the Nets are 13-5 as of this writing, which is the best record in the Eastern Conference. Still, one has to think the loss of Irving will be felt in a big way if this saga stretches deeper into the season.

2. Nick Rolovich

As long as we’re talking about the COVID-19 vaccine, let’s talk about the former Washington State football coach. The state mandated all employees at institutions of higher learning to be vaccinated. Rolovich was not, and after a long battle, he was fired in the middle of the season. Whatever your views on vaccines are, the fact is that Rolovich cost himself a cushy job at a power-conference school due to his refusal to follow the rules laid out by Washington.

3. Aaron Rodgers

Sensing a theme here? In a disastrous appearance on Pat McAfee’s show, the Green Bay Packers quarterback discussed his infamous vaccine faux pas, where he claimed he was immunized, tested positive for COVID-19, and missed the Packers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Among the "highlights" was a shout-out to podcast host (and apparent pandemic expert) Joe Rogan, which visibly caught McAfee off-guard. Again, vaccine viewpoints notwithstanding, rules were outlined and made very clear. Rodgers did not abide by them, got caught, and looked like a fool.

4. Trevor Bauer

We go to a different kind of disaster here. Bauer did not appear in a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the final months of the 2021 season due to an ongoing sexual assault investigation. We still don’t know much, but text messages leaked by the accuser were damning enough for Bauer to be sent away from the team in June.

5. Many Manningcast Guests

We can’t end on a sour note, so we’ll close by recognizing a number of guests on one of TV’s most ingenious inventions. Peyton and Eli Manning host a watch party of sorts each Monday night on ESPN2, with guests from all over the sports world. On several occasions, the casual conversation has resulted in expletives being thrown around. Specifically, Marshawn Lynch likely had censors wishing they had a "mute" button handy, and Eli himself even got in on the action by mimicking a two-fingered salute given to him by a child in Philadelphia.

This one’s more harmless fun than anything else, and given the past year and a half or so, don’t we need more of that?