There is a long history of sportsmen and sportswomen being frozen out of their sports, with governing bodies and team chiefs giving a whole host of reasons for taking the drastic step.
The latest high profile case of this in the NFL was of course Colin Kaepernick, whose career as a top-rated quarterback was paused for what many saw as exercising his right to peaceful protest, but others viewed as an unacceptable gesture that damaged the league’s brand.
Here are some of the other sportspeople who over the years have been given the cold shoulder, either for standing up for what they believed in, or for other dubious reasons.
This South African runner is a double Olympic gold medalist as well as the winner of three World Championship gold medals, and yet rather than being lauded as one of the sport’s greatest active athletes she has been unceremoniously dumped on the early retirement heap, owing to what could be perceived as some archaic rulings.
The only way Semenya currently would be allowed to compete would be for her to take medication that would lower the testosterone levels her body naturally produces. It is a strange concept and one that has had people questioning whether other athletes in the same situation, but from other parts of the world, would have been subjected to such degrading and damaging sanctions.
Athletics has a long and colorful history of its competitors falling foul of liberally applied rules and regulations
Of course, little more needs to be said about Kaepernick’s famous gesture, a move which has sparked a wider discussion about the role professional sports figures play in wider society outside of their insular sports bubbles.
With teams lining up to sign the talented quarterback it appears likely that he will play some part in the new season’s NFL betting odds, no matter whether the NFL hierarchy like it or not. It remains to be seen how those who follow Kaepernick’s lead will be treated down the line.
It should not be long before Kaepernick has his hands on a football again
Prior to Kaepernick, perhaps the most high-profile show of going against the grain came from Denver Nuggets point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
His actions led to a one-game ban handed down by the powers that be at the NBA. However, it was what happened afterward that showed the league had truly closed ranks, as Abdul-Rauf found it impossible to find a team that would so much as consider him, eventually forcing him to travel abroad to play in Japan.
This strong-willed and talented player continued to ply his trade deep into his thirties, all despite suffering from Tourette’s syndrome.
While many of the names on this list have probably rolled off the tongues of plenty of sports fans over the years, only those in the know will have ever heard of Texan cyclist Patrick McCarty, who once upon a time was teammate to the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong.
Riding during cycling’s bad old days (some would say the sport has yet to emerge from them) McCarthy made it clear to his US Postal team and cycling’s governing body that he would insist on riding clean.
Two years after joining the team he was ostracized, falling completely off the UCI Tour, with few teams inclined to consider a man who was not willing to go the extra mile to get the results they wanted.
Thankfully for McCarty he did have something of a late flourish in his career, claiming the King of the Mountains classification jersey in the Tour of California as well as the same honor in the Tour de Beauce. Neither is the Tour de France, but at least McCarty can sleep easy at night knowing he never betrayed his conscience, something that cannot be said for many of his former teammates.