Sport's worst Twitter offenders

Quade Cooper (left), Rio Ferdinand (Centre) and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu. Photo / Getty Images.
Quade Cooper (left), Rio Ferdinand (Centre) and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu. Photo / Getty Images.

When Quade Cooper was hit with a $NZD50,500 fine and three game suspension yesterday for his Twitter outburst earlier this year, he was just the latest in a long list of world class athletes who have struggled to control their tweeting.

Racial slurs, homophobic rants, cheating accusations and breaking team rules are all common themes in our bad-boy list of sportsmen who should probably delete their Twitter app.

Here are ten of the worst Twitter offenders in sport, and the penalties imposed upon them.

Suspension - Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu made a Twitter post linking the scheduling of the World Cup to slavery, the holocaust and apartheid, after Samoa had three days to prepare for their match against Wales, while their opponents had a week to prepare.

Officials that met with the Samoa team management accepted an official apology and decided that no further action was necessary. Later in the tournament when Samoa lost to South Africa Fuimaono-Sapolu tweeted that referee Nigel Owens was "racist" and "biased", which resulted in him being suspended from rugby for six months, however the punishment was suspended for two years.

Undisclosed sum - Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen was fined for criticising Sky television commentator Nick Knight on Twitter.

Pietersen was docked an undisclosed sum for comments aimed at the ex-England opener during the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's.

He wrote: "Can somebody please tell me how Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Tests? Ridiculous."

The remarks were deemed "prejudicial to ECB interests and a breach of the England conditions of employment".

$NZ3,042 - Antonio Cromartie
In August 2009, NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie was fined by the San Diego Chargers for tweeting that the team was served "nasty food" at a training camp. It may come as no surprise that he quickly moved on to play for the New York Jets.

$NZ29,400 - Federico Macheda
Ex Manchester Utd star Federico Macheda landed himself in hot water when he replied to an angry fan by saying "shhhhhhh u little stupid gay". Macheda maintains he meant to say 'guy' but the FA were having none of it slapping him with a fine.

$NZ30,400 - Chad Ochocinco
Then playing for The Cincinnati Bengals, Ochocinco tweeted during an NFL game which is against the NFL rules regarding social media. Players are not permitted to post messages on social media websites starting 90 minutes before kickoff and until postgame media obligations have been fulfilled.

$NZ39,200 - Carlton Cole
In April 2011, West Ham striker Carlton Cole was watching England's friendly match against Ghana. He tweeted: "Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha. The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George's flag!". After receiving several complaints he then tweeted "Why are there so many sensitive people out there! it was a joke & its not even racist!". The FA didn't find it funny.

$NZ50,500 - Quade Cooper
Quade Cooper was found guilty of twice breaching the Australian Rugby Union code of conduct in September, where he criticised the ARU, the Wallabies and, bizarrely, an ARU computer game on Twitter, in the media and in a television interview.

Over a five-day period, Cooper labelled the Wallabies set-up as toxic and later said the environment was "destroying him as a person" and he would turn down Test jerseys in the future.

The comments went down like a lead balloon with his Test teammates.

Cooper was also charged with bringing the game into disrepute, and also faced a charge of an "adverse tweet" criticising an ARU-licenced product, computer game "Rugby Challenge" on Twitter.

$NZ61,000 - Amare Stoudemire
New York Knicks' Amare Stoudemire responded to an abusive comment on his twitter by saying "F*** you. I don't have to do any thing f**,". He apologised within 24 hours but that didn't save him from getting slapped with a large fine.

$NZ88,300 - Rio Ferdinand
Terry & Cole vs The Ferdinand Brothers is just one of many footballing soap operas. In a racial abuse case involving Rio's brother Anton (in which Terry is accused of shouting racial abuse at Anton), Ashley Cole (Terry's teammate) gave evidence on behalf of Terry. Rio Ferdinand then referred to Cole as a 'choc ice' on Twitter which is a slang term used to describe someone that is black on the outside but white on the inside. It's also a delicious ice cream but that's not how the FA interpreted it.

$NZ608,000 - Micky Arison
The NBA fined Miami Heat owner Micky Arison $500,000 for comments he made on Twitter that violated the league's censure on speaking publicly about the lockout,

The fine is one of the largest for an individual in NBA history.

Arison responded to a poster on Twitter who had directed a comment to him questioning, "How does it feel to be a part of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don't give a damn about fans ... Fans provide all the money you're fighting over ... you greedy pigs."

In response, Arison posted: "You are barking at the wrong owner."

The response clearly fortified the belief Arison is part of a more moderate group of owners, mostly from big markets, who don't share the opinion of the majority of hardliners who think the NBA needs to keep the players locked out to achieve financial concessions.

- nzherald.co.nz

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