Top 10 screw-ups, shmucks and scandals of the decade in Colorado sports

It's a good time to be a Colorado sports fan, with the Nuggets, Rocks and Avs contending, and the Broncos -- at least until yesterday -- surprising skeptics. But there have been some low moments for local athletes and teams this decade, not to mention one local scandal that starred a big-name out-of-towner.

Here, a look back at ten of the decade's biggest sports scandals and screw ups.

10. Dan Issel, Nuggets Coach A Nuggets legend as a player, Issel's tenure as a coach was far less storied, and it ended with an ugly incident in the early part of this decade.

After a particularly bad loss to the Charlotte Hornets in December 2001, Issel greeted a taunting fan with this charming tirade: "Go drink another beer, you Mexican piece of shit." Mexicans, as you might suspect, did not just quietly go get more beers. They raised hell -- and razed Issel's coaching career. He resigned under pressure later that month.

9. Bill Romanowski, Broncos linebacker Romo was a key member of four Super Bowl teams -- and a key member of one high-profile steroid ring. Romanowski admitted in 2005 that he received roids from Victor Conte's BALCO, the same Bay Area lab that made Barry Bonds' head (and career) explode. Some of that use no doubt came when Romo was a Bronco in 2000 and 2001 -- although thankfully he didn't start breaking his teammates faces until he joined the Raiders in 2002.

8. Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets Forward Anthony, obviously, is among the great gifts given to Denver sports fans this decade. But he's had his share of slip ups that made us wonder if his headband might be too tight.

In 2004 he was cited for carrying weed in his backpack -- at the airport of all places. He skated when a friend took the blame. The same year, he showed up in the infamous "Stop Snitchin'" video, which encouraged Baltimore residents to avoid cooperation with police. Which, presuming The Wire is accurate, might not be bad advice. But still. He was busted again in 2008, this time for DUI, after cops saw his SUV swerving through downtown. That he doesn't have someone drive his drunk-ass around might be the biggest screw up of all.

7. Todd Sauerbrun, Broncos Punter Give Sauerbrun credit: Without his name being linked with steroids in 2004, a DWI charge the same year, and an arrest for wrestling with a taxi driver, he probably would have gone down in history as ... well, nothing. He was a punter, after all. With all those bullet points on his resume, he instead goes down as That One Punter Who Was Kind of a Dick. Hey, that's something!

6. Travis Henry, Broncos Running Back Henry never amounted to much as a Bronco, but he was even less successful as a drug trafficker and condom-wearer. Henry -- who needed money to pay child support for his nine kids with nine moms -- was busted last year on cocaine-trafficking charges. He was sentenced in June to 36 months in prison, and has since impregnated three fellow inmates, the warden, and a weight-lifting bench. 5. Terrell Davis, Broncos Running Back His bust may belong on the Mount Rushmore of Denver sports, but it was a 2001 bust that landed him on our Mount Rushmore of ought naughtiness. Though he was never charged, Davis was named in a federal prostitution case against an Atlanta strip club, where athletes were said to be having sex with club employees. Though it was a lonely stain on Davis's otherwise sterling rep, he was dropped as a soup spokesman. Although considering those ads, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. 4. Chris Anderson, Nuggets Forward Anderson was a fan favorite early in the decade, when his high-flying act endeared him to fans and earned him the nickname "Birdman." But Anderson also endeared himself to the local cocaine industry, and got himself banned from the NBA for dipping his beak in banned substance of the performance-inhibiting variety. He's back now, of course -- and he's keeping that bean clean, thankfully.

The hair is another infraction altogether.

3. Denny Neagle, Rockies Pitcher Neagle saw his baseball career -- and perhaps his life -- fall apart in 2004, after he was caught with a less-than-reputable-looking hooker on West Colfax.Three days later, he was busted for driving drunk, and he never pitched again.

2. Kobe Bryant, Lakers Guard, Jewelry Enthusiast Bryant is the only out-of-town player on our list -- but hey, he earned it!

In 2003, Eagle police accused Bryant of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee. The charges were dropped, and the incident cost Bryant little more than a couple of endorsement deals and a hefty bill from his local diamond dealer. But we never forget, Kobe, especially while you continue to stand in the Nuggs' way of winning the West.

1. CU Football Stay classy, Coach Barnett!
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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone