TURKEYSTRONG: Lance Armstrong and his fall from grace landed him here on the list of biggest turkeys of 2012. Photo courtesy Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s beautiful how we can’t let one holiday pass without intertwining it with sports somehow. New Year’s? We have college bowls. March Madness often crosses over with St. Patrick’s Day. On the Fourth of July, what else would we do but watch America’s pastime? Hell, on Veterans Day we even started playing basketball games on bleepin’ aircraft carriers!

Well, today, turkey day, we’ll have not one but three NFL games. And, for the record, this was all started long before those shenanigans NFL Network has started to pull. Yes, in some ways Thanksgiving is the ultimate fusion of sports and holiday where the two not only coexist but embrace one another.

And,  in the spirit of day, we’re giving back to the sports world.

We’re celebrating turkeys. No, not the species you’re about to devour until you fall into a coma. A DIFFERENT species of turkeys. These SPORTS turkeys (scientific name Buffoonerous Maximus) encompass everything it means to live in athletic infamy. The only problem is, there are so many we can’t name them all. So here are the best of the best, you’re GuysNation Top 10 Sports Turkeys of 2012:

Jason Miller/Getty Images

10. Washington Wizards
It’s hard to make this  list without some sort of watershed moment that everyone can look on with amusement, but this franchise is just that bad. A local radio station started an informal survey of its listeners, asking them who was doing more damage to their franchise: the Capitals, by being locked out, or the Wizards, by having to play basketball. The answer was virtually unanimous: the Wizards were ruining the Wizards by doing what the Wizards do. Last season Washington only amassed 20 wins, but it was a shortened season. In 2012? They’re 0-10. Another 20 wins might take a minor miracle.

9. Voula Papachristou
You remember this girl? After realizing a dream very few athletes get to, making her national Olympic team, the Greek triple jumper tried her hand at social media and sent out an unfunny, racist tweet. Her reward? Greece bounced her from the squad before she ever left. I guess there’s always next year. Wait a minute…

8. Tiki Barber
Oh, Tiki. Apparently he misses the notion of getting paid exorbitant amounts of money to play a game, because that’s still what he’s trying to do. Now in retirement and, ahem, back on the market, Barber is spearheading a business venture where B-list ex-athletes get paid to do everyday things with everyday people. Amongst the ridiculousness? Playing a round of golf will cost you a grand. Per hour, that is.


7. Penn State et al
There’s no easy way to handle this one, but it shouldn’t be excused from the list, either. Jerry Sandusky wasn’t a turkey, he was a pervert and a criminal that was spending his freedom on borrowed time. No, the turkey here is anyone and everyone who had a hand in a allowing the closed-lips mentality to continue in Happy Valley. Most of the people on this list are people we can poke fun at. But there’s no one to poke fun at here, just people to learn from.

6. Jeffrey Loria
In all fairness, it should be the city of Miami on this list as much as anyone else. Loria promised them an overnight World Series contender in exchange for them footing the large part of the bill for a new stadium. Miami obliged, thanks partly to Loria backing the mayoral candidate that had HIS back, and many a free agent took their talents to South Beach. Well, the talents didn’t mesh, the team started losing, and Loria sold off pretty much everything that came in and more. Now the only star left is farm-raised Giancarlo Stanton and he’s not exactly pleased with the organization.

5. The ‘Honey Badger’ Tyrann Mathieu
He was going to perhaps be the first Heisman defensive player since Charles Woodson, but then he got  high. And kept getting high. Before the season, it was announced Mathieu was excused from the LSU football team for failed drug tests. He went into rehab, came back to school, and got busted AGAIN. Now he probably will never return to the Tigers and no NFL team in their right mind would waste anything more than a sixth or seventh-round pick on him if that. It’s too bad. Dude just REALLY wanted to get high.

Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated

4. The Replacement Refs
The only reason they aren’t higher is because they didn’t sign up for this. Okay, they did, but who wouldn’t? If you were offered the chance to referee an NFL game, you’d take the job in a heartbeat. These guys took the job, too, and, like you, they clearly weren’t qualified to do so. Everyone will remember the Seattle-Green Bay ‘simultaneous catch’ ruling, but they’ll forget all the fun shenanigans leading up to it. Like making up penalties. And getting the team names wrong. And reviewing things that weren’t reviewable and making the wrong call anyways.

3. Lance Armstrong
The magnitude of his downfall this year DEMANDS a top-three spot on this list. However, with two turkeys ahead of him, this is just another race Livestrong Lance didn’t officially win. By now, you all know the story: Lance cheated early and often and then, in order to keep it hidden, ran the U.S. Cycling Team like it was an organized crime syndicate. No one talk to the G-men! Well, eventually people DID talk to the authorities, and it leads to Armstrong being stripped of ALL his titles.

2. Gary Bettman
He’s this high on the list because your hockey fan friend just threw up in their mouth reading his name. The NHL commissioner learned the lesson of the last lockout, where an entire season was cancelled, by foreseeing another labor dispute — once that last CBA expired, of course — and doing, well, virtually nothing to stop it. Now, as we near the end of November, Bettman can only say that the two sides remain very far apart. Thank you, sir, now can you go get me whoever’s in charge?

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

1. Bobby Valentine
Is there anyone who better fits what it means to be a turkey? Bobby V spent 162 games writing the bestseller “How to Not Manage a Baseball Team”. At every turn, Valentine seemed to defend those who should’ve been chewed out (Read: Josh Beckett) and alienate the players he could’ve used (Read: Kevin Youkilis). The end result was a disastrous season where the front office dropped payroll faster than the team could drop games. Oh, and once they did that, mister manager of the year then compared his squad to a minor league team. Way to go, man.

NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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