04.24.12

Metta World Peace, David Beckham, and More Flagrant Fouls in Sports

L.A. Lakers forward Metta World Peace shocked fans when he elbowed James Harden in the head while celebrating. But the player with a checkered past isn’t alone. From David Beckham to Serena Williams, here’s a list of some other flagrant fouls in sports.

Metta World Peace Throws an Elbow

For a guy whose name conjures up visions of Mother Teresa, Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) has a funny way of spreading the love. After an impressive drive to the basket, he celebrated by striking shooting guard James Harden in the head with his elbow. Harden, visibly in pain, writhed on the floor as World Peace was ejected from the game. C’mon, Metta, give peace a chance!

Video screenshot

Simon’s Stick Fight

In a sport where players are allowed to punch one another in the face, it’s hard to imagine what constitutes a foul in hockey. That’s until you watch this video. After being legally checked against the wall, New York Islanders forward Chris Simon retaliated by taking a two-handed swing with his stick, striking New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg in the face. In the face! This flagrant example of unsportsmanlike conduct left Hollweg with a concussion and earned Simon a 25-game suspension.

Video screenshot

Lopez’s Hack Job

Blake Griffin is known for soaring over the competition. So it’s no surprise that someone wanted to take the wind out his sails. In a game against the Suns, the Los Angeles Clippers forward went in for a layup when he was cut down from underneath by Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez. In an attempt to block the shot, Lopez wrapped his arm around the neck of Griffin, pulling him down hard to the ground. Lopez was ejected and Griffin went in search of a good chiropractor.

Video screenshot

Beckham Sees Red

Be aggressive, just don’t overdo it, David. In a game against the Seattle Sounders, L.A. Galaxy midfielder David Beckman slid into trouble when he illegally tackled midfielder Peter Vagenas. After just 18 minutes of play, Beckham was issued a red card and ejected from the game. His hair, unsurprisingly, stayed perfectly in place.

Video screenshot

James Harrison’s Expensive Hit

It was the hit heard around the world—literally. After catching a pass, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was plowed down by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison. What made this hit foulworthy was the unforgettable collision of the players' helmets during the impact. Massaquoi walked off of the field, but doctors later diagnosed him with a concussion. Harrison, who also laid out wide receiver and kick returner Josh Cribbs in the same game, was forced to break open his piggy bank and pay a $75,000 fine for the illegal helmet-to-helmet hit.

Video screenshot

Suh Stomps Smith

During the Thanksgiving Day game against the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh gave thanks by stomping his competition. After knocking down offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, Suh repeatedly pressed his head into the ground and then stomped on his arm as teammates pulled the players apart. This wasn’t the only huge hit during the game. After his ejection for unnecessary roughness, Suh also suffered a devastating blow to his reputation.

Video screenshot

Potty Mouth Williams

In this incident, the flagrancy came after the foul. At the 2011 U.S. Open semifinals, Serena Williams prematurely celebrated a point by yelling “Come on!” while her opponent Samantha Stosur attempted to return the shot. The referee saw this as a hindrance violation and instead awarded the point to Stosur. Williams, enraged by the call, spewed a few nasty comments at the ref. Williams never regained her composure, losing to Stosur in straight sets, being leveled with a $2,000 fine, and living with a lifetime of comparisons to hothead John McEnroe.

Video screenshot