In the wide world of sports, athletes often form intense bonds with their teammates and their teammates’ significant others. It only makes sense considering the seasons have sweated, won and lost side by side. But sometimes these close relationships can lead to jealousies, love triangles and drama both on and off the field. For example, former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith once dated quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s longtime girlfriend Nessa Diab, which reportedly caused a rift between the two teammates.
When the topic of Kaepernick, Smith and teammates getting involved with the same people came up on an episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” NFL alum Ryan Clark explained, “It’s a small world. … They live in these cities, you live in these cities, and you meet the same people. So there were guys who dated the same woman.” However, as Clark points out, an unwritten “locker room code” would require athletes to talk about it and decide if the relationship would cause a rupture in the team’s camaraderie might or might not.”It’s a level of respect you show a man because you know he has feelings for a person,” he added.So what happens when an athlete breaks this code and has an affair with his teammate’s significant other?Things can get messy.Let’s take a closer look at some of these examples.
Wayne Carey is “haunted” by an affair.
Wayne Carey and Anthony Stevens were teammates for Australia’s North Melbourne Kangaroos football team. Of course, soccer in Australia is closer to what Americans would call soccer, and while soccer isn’t as popular in the States as American football, basketball or baseball, it’s the king sport in many other countries. When news broke that the married Carey was having an affair with Anthony’s wife Kelli Stevens, it became a national scandal, according to Yahoo! Sports.
According to Carey’s memoir The Truth Hurts, the year was 2002 and he and Kelli Stevens had an affair that lasted about a month before they agreed to call it quits. A few weeks later, however, the Kangaroos were celebrating the birthday of a teammate’s wife when everything was revealed. At some point during the party, Carey went to the bathroom and Mrs. Stevens followed him inside. A heated argument ensued, revealing the true nature of their relationship with their spouses and everyone at the party. Wayne Carey left the Kangaroos immediately after the scandal. “I destroyed my relationship with my wife, I lost my career, I lost most of my friends and I lost my dignity. I also lost my family in North Melbourne,” he wrote. And as it turns out, he’s still not over it. As he said on an episode of SAS Australia, “It’s been haunting me for 20 years.”
Tony Parker was caught texting
The infidelity led to drama between basketball teammates Tony Parker and Brent Barry, who shared the San Antonio Spurs berth. In 2010, reporter Bryan Armen Graham tweeted came out with a bombshell revelation: “I have it on good authority from entertainment sources that the ‘former teammate’ in the Tony Parker-Eva Longoria affair is Brent Barry.” Parker was married to Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria when he was a illegal texting affair with Brent’s wife Erin Barry began. The affair reportedly lasted about a year before it was all revealed, but apparently it didn’t go beyond text messages. A source told the New York Post, “There was no physical relationship between Tony and Erin.” Accordingly GrahamLongoria discovered the incriminating messages on her husband’s cell phone and filed for divorce shortly thereafter. Brent and Erin also promptly went to divorce court, according to OK! Magazine.
It sounds like this all ties in with Parker’s reputation as a teammate. On his All the Smoke podcast (via Fadeaway World), Parker and Brent teammate Stephen Jackson said: “[Parker] will talk to your girl if you close your eyes or go to the bathroom.” Longoria has also spoken openly about her ex-husband’s infidelity, confirming that his affair was the main reason for their breakup. In an interview with Amanda de Cadenet on The Conversation, Longoria said the biggest piece of advice she never followed was, with hindsight, “Don’t marry that basketball player!”
The messy tweets about DeMarco Murray
Long before DeMarco Murray was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL star played for the University of Oklahoma. During his college years, he was teammates with Brennan Clay, who many years later would say Murray cheated on him. Clay took to Twitter in December 2014 to accuse Murray and his wife Gina D’Agnostini of having an affair. “Gina and Demarco catch up October 5th after I kissed their two kids goodbye at the airport,” he said tweetedfollowed by photos of the allegedly illegal text message conversation between his wife and his former teammate.
Murray never publicly responded to the allegations and Clay seemed to delegitimize his own claim when he tweeted a few weeks later, “Jump to a conclusion that is not true…cannot judge a situation without knowing all the facts” along with a Picture of him with his wife, via TMZ. So it’s hard to decipher what the actual facts were at the end of the day.
According to TMZ, Clay and Agnostini split in 2015. Clay was arrested shortly after for domestic violence. In January of that year, Murray married his longtime girlfriend, Heidi Mueller.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.
Rick Manning married his teammate’s wife
Baseball stars Dennis Eckersley and Rick Manning were best friends when they played together in Cleveland in the 1970s. But just around the time Eckersley was traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he would later go on to build a legendary reputation, he found out his wife had been cheating on him with his teammate and sidekick. “I was hurt at first… but Denise and I were kids when we got married. We were 18 and didn’t know anything,” he told Sports Illustrated in a 1988 interview.
Apparently, the team’s managers got wind of the affair and that was the real reason he was traded to the Red Sox. In Terry Pluto’s The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump, Gabe Paul, the former general manager of the team now known as the Cleveland Guardians, revealed: “It was a bad situation and we had to Swap Rick or Dennis. We thought Manning was going to be a star. … We had to do something, but we did the wrong thing. After Eckersley divorced his wife, Manning married the former Mrs. Eckersley, although their marriage eventually broke up as well.
All these years later, Eckersley, who became a color commentator after hanging up his shoes, seems to have a sense of humor about the drama. When the topic of rivalries came up during a 2018 game, he said joked“I had a really close friend who stole my wife. How about that?”
Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich swapped spouses
In 1973, various outlets reported that two New York Yankees players had announced a trade. But it wasn’t a typical baseball trade. Teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich stated they fell in love with each other’s wives and swapped families. “It’s a love story. It wasn’t anything dirty,” Peterson told The Palm Beach Post in 2013. As it turns out, falling in love with your teammate’s wife doesn’t always end badly.
The two couples began hanging out and found that they hit it off with each other’s spouses. Kekich was the first to come up with the idea. “Mike started promoting my wife in August. He spoke to me seriously about it. He told his own wife, Susan, that he loved Marilyn more,” Peterson told ESPN at the 1973 press conference.
Although it was originally Kekich’s idea, his relationship with the former Mrs. Peterson didn’t last very long. In fact, they didn’t even get married. Peterson’s new marriage to the former Mrs. Kekich, on the other hand, is still going strong. Forty years after the swap ended, Peterson told the Palm Beach Post, “I couldn’t be happier with anyone in the world. ‘Mom’ and I go out and party every night. We’re still on our honeymoon and that was a real blessing too.” However, he admits he feels guilty that his old team-mate Kekich wasn’t so lucky.