Adam LaRoche has been making headlines for retiring from pro baseball this week after his team, the Chicago White Sox, asked the veteran player to stop bringing his 14-year-old son to the clubhouse.
LaRoche is walking away from a $13 million contract, as People reported, because of his decision to put his family first. The team’s president Ken Williams asked LaRoche to bring his son less often.
LaRoche even nearly prompted teammates to boycott their first game without him in support, as ESPN reported.
But he isn’t the only athlete to quit while ahead from pro sports. Here are four others who decided to do the same for a cause.
1. John Moffitt
Reason for quitting: Health, the Dalai Lama, and Noam Chomsky
John Moffitt of the Denver Broncos was set to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. But after injuries continued to take their toll, Moffitt announced on Twitter that he was stepping away from the game.
“I don’t want to risk health for money,” he told the New York Times about his decision. “I’m happy, and I don’t need the N.F.L.”
“They are merchandising human beings, let’s be honest,” he added.
If those reasons weren’t enough, Moffitt had been reportedly reading the works of the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky, which helped inspire the decision.
2. Pat Tillman
Reason for quitting: Military service
Pat Tillman was only 25, but he ended his dream of playing for the NFL early he said to defend his country against terrorism. Tillman, who was playing for the Arizona Cardinals, turned down an extension of his contract in order to join the U.S. Army after Sept. 11.
Tillman was killed two years later in Afghanistan and was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star for his service, according to Sports Illustrated.
3. Bjorn Borg
Reason for quitting: Burnout
Bjorn Borg, the Swedish tennis player who is considered one of the greatest to play the sport, abruptly quit in 1983. The decision shocked the tennis world as the dominant champion had collected 11 major titles, including six at the French Open and five at Wimbledon.
“It was difficult after I retired,” Borg said in 2007 to the Telegraph. “I had been concentrating on tennis all my life, and then suddenly I had to quickly learn about other things in life.”
He eventually attempted to mount a comeback in the 90s, but had little success. Borg was able to start a successful fashion line, however.
4. Ta’u Pupu’a
Reasons for quitting: Opera, health
Ta’u Pupu’a played briefly for the Cleveland Browns and for a season with the Baltimore Ravens after the team was relocated. But a foot injury (he reportedly broke the arch of his right foot) and a higher calling took him out of the NFL completely.
“A voice inside of me said, ‘Move forward, move on, and go into singing,” he told the NFL. “I packed my two bags, got on the train, and went to New York. I started knocking on doors to become an opera singer.”
He has since graduated from Julliard’s music program and performs regularly as a tenor.