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Lamest sporting excuses

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10 of the lamest excuses used for explaining why they lost. #5 and 6 relate to cricket. #1 is absolutely hilarious !!

The 10 lamest sporting excuses

Sunday October 3, 2004
The Observer

1 Lighton Ndefwayl The Zambian tennis player responded to his 1992 defeat in a local tournament by compatriot Musumba Bwayla with a mature, considered critique of his rival’s skills: ‘Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia.’ A co-commentator’s job on Eurosport surely awaits.

2 Mervyn King Blamed his 2003 defeat to Raymond Barneveld in the world darts championship semi-final on the air conditioning. ‘I asked for it to be turned off before I went up there and it wasn’t. I asked for it to be turned off at the break – it wasn’t. The air conditioning doesn’t affect Raymond because he throws a heavier dart and a very flat dart.’ Hmmm. The organisers insisted the air conditioning had been switched off for the entire match. Mervyn, you require… a better excuse.

3 Carol Gaudie The Australian netball player tested positive for the male hormone testosterone in 2002, claiming her drink was spiked at a nightclub. Spiked with testosterone, Ms Gaudie? Presumably by one of those men who prowl nightclubs seeking out a woman with a hairy back, huge muscles and a Harry Secombe-style baritone. She was given a two-year suspension – and a ‘must-try-harder’ note.

4 Ronnie O’Sullivan O’Sullivan had forged an 8-3 lead against Steve Davis in the best-of-19 Masters final at Wembley in 1997 when a female streaker entered the arena. The Rocket promptly lost the next seven frames – and the match – later claiming that the shock interruption had, er, broken his concentration. Funny, we had always assumed by the way Ronnie carried himself that he had seen a naked woman before. The Nugget, naturally, was unmoved by such fleshy delights.

5 Sri Lanka The cricketers blamed their defeat against Pakistan in the 2001 ICC Champions Trophy final on their intolerably tight clothes, which they claimed were too small and restricted movement and mobility. ‘We had to add extensions to the trousers and the shirts looked more like tight-fitting women’s blouses,’ complained skipper Sanath Jayasuriya. Their tailor was later instructed to make kits one size larger. Shane Warne’s kitman had the same problem for 10 years. Talking of which…

6 Shane Warne The Australian leg spinner took no prisoners when he tested positive for a banned substance in 2003, leaving the World Cup in disgrace. He simply blamed his mum. ‘My mother gave me a diet tablet,’ he said, stopping just short of handing out her photofit and address as he did so. ‘I’m shocked and absolutely devastated.’ Warne claimed he took the Moduretic pill to make him look less fat on TV. He was given a 12-month ban.

7 Rupert Lowe The gammon-cheeked Southampton chairman blamed the sacking of Paul Sturrock on a ‘constant stream of negative and unfair media coverage. Those people responsible for perpetrating this unsatisfactory situation, often in return for financial reward, should take a long hard look at themselves.’ We presume Lowe possesses a mirror. Only a couple of weeks earlier he had stated: ‘Paul has to deliver results, that is what he is paid for. The honeymoon period is over.’ Best of British, Sir Clive.

8 Jose Cardenal The Chicago Cubs baseball star is credited with two of the all-time great excuses for shirking duty. He told his manager on the opening day of the 1974 season that he couldn’t play because his eyelid was stuck open. Apparently, he’d ‘slept funny and couldn’t blink’. Easily done. Two seasons earlier, Cardenal had declared himself unfit to play because crickets in his hotel room had kept him awake all night. What a pro.

9 Manchester United The Theatre of Excuses’ lasting triumph was the famous fable of the grey away kit, which was blamed for a 3-0 half-time deficit at Southampton in 1996. ‘The players couldnae pick each other out,’ moaned Fergie. Must have been all that grey grass. United changed to white shirts at the break, but still lost 3-1. The grey kit was swiftly pensioned off. Fergie’s evasive genius transcends sport: he was cleared of speeding in 1999 after entering the rarely heard plea of ‘diarrhoea’. ‘I had to go somewhere quickly,’ he told the ashen-faced judge.

10 Finland After a terrible Athens Olympics, Finnish daily newspaper Aamulehti concluded: ‘We dominated one event: finding excuses.’ Javelin thrower Paula Huhtaniemi led the pack. ‘The big stadium surprised me,’ she said. ‘I could not direct the javelin right.’ Meanwhile, women’s 5,000metres runner Kirsi Valasti blamed her performance on an unfamiliar masseuse. Sailor Sari Multala put her abject slowness down to a bag that got caught in the back of her boat. Wonderful.


This month’s 10 was selected by Graeme Thomson. Here he justifies his choice:

I could have gone on and on. Sport – as life – is littered with self-delusionists. When Newcastle drew at lowly Stevenage in the FA Cup, in 1998, Kenny Dalglish proclaimed that the ‘balls were too bouncy’; while Rotherham goalie Chris Mooney once blamed a howler on the blinding glare created by his centre-half’s bald head. So I decided I wanted a combination of the serious and the seriously stupid, the high-profile and low-key: hence Shane Warne and Carol Gaudie sitting cheek by jowl with Lighton Ndefwayl, Mervyn King and Rocket Ronnie.

Most cases are recent, because the desperate art of excuse-making is a relatively new phenomenon. Some initially seductive candidates ebbed away. I dismissed Becks’s Euro 2004 penalty miss because – his scowl at the spot notwithstanding – primarily, it was others making excuses on his behalf. And I left Rio Ferdinand on the bench, because his sorry Harvey Nichols shopping tale about why he forgot to take a drugs test actually had the mundane ring of truth about it.

Rupert Lowe is here simply because the chance to make a public mockery of odious, ignorant hypocrisy should always be seized, while there are few things more amusing than a whole team concocting a tall tale: Finland, Sri Lanka and Manchester United offer corking examples of the collective excuse. Anyway, if you don’t agree with this list, don’t blame me: the dog ate my first draft.

Disagree with our selection?

We thought so. Write and tell us who or what should be there instead, justifying your choice in no more than 50 words. Send your cards to: 10 Lamest Excuses OSM, 119 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3ER or email us:



Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 20, 2004 at 6:26 pm

Posted in Fun, Sports

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