I often feel like athletes do not even know the kind of power they hold. They communicate so much with their game that a lot of what is said outside the court is ignored or wrongly seen in the light of their sporting achievements. This is something they need to be aware of, but in so many instances, are not.

Here are instances when some of the top athletes let down their fans. Read on.

1. Novak Djokovic makes public appearances allegedly after finding out that he is COVID positive.

Following a very complicated case that Novak Djokovic won, the Australian courts had to allow him to play at the Australian Open, 2022. The country does not allow people to enter its borders unless they are fully vaccinated but Djokovic got an exemption that was agreed upon by authorities earlier. 

This led to a lot of discussions, including the questionability of the Grand Slam rules, the personal liberty of an individual when it comes to vaccines, the moral obligations of the said individual, and nations’ politics during the pandemic. Those are big topics, worthy of a feature film script, but the fact remains that beyond the legality of things, Djokovic’s actions are still dodgy. 

He is said to have learned about being positive on December 16 but he continued to meet people, even young kids, in the days that followed. There is no explanation for this. There is no explanation for why he organised a full-blown tennis tournament in 2020. His vaccination – or the lack of it – is a reflection of his principles, which, for now, do not seem to be grounded in empathy.

2. Lance Armstrong confesses that he did indulge in doping in the scandalous Oprah interview.

The winner of seven consecutive Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong was stripped off each one of them after he confessed to taking drugs. This confession came years after the awards were won, and Armstrong argued that the allegations being levied against him were not as serious as everyone thinks. He meant to say that he took drugs only for a little while, during a few odd years.


That would, and did, make a difference when it came to the punishment being handed to him. However, the damage was much bigger. Armstrong was an idol for millions, who stood by his side in the worst phases of his career. Meanwhile, he kept denying the doping allegations, only to say he did do it later.

There are very few athletes who failed their fans like him.

3. Hansie Cronje fixes the match that his team was going to play against India, approaches his teammates to do the same. 

Cronje, like many other South African players, was adored in India, and this was a big blow to his reputation. The scandal also involved Mohammad Azharuddin, who allegedly was the one to introduce Cronje to the betting syndicate. 

Azharuddin, a former captain, led the team to one of its darkest phases and Sourav Ganguly will always be credited for dragging the side out of those difficulties. 

4. Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft are found to be involved in “sandpaper-gate” in 2018.

The Australian cricket team under the leadership of Steve Smith had lost the invincibility of the Ponting-era. It was struggling, actually, but Smith was always flawless – until he was not. It may the desperation to win or simply to prove a point that led to an incident like this.

All 3 of them were banned from playing for Australia and made their way back to the team next year in 2019.

5. Hardik Pandya goes to Koffee with Karan and makes disgusting statements about women in his life.

Everything Hardik said during that interview was unnecessary and offensive. He was rightly called out for this behavior, and he apologised for the same later. Though this did shake things at higher levels of cricket, as it should have. 

If you can’t be a good role model, being a good athlete becomes irrelevant in the long run.