Behind the scenes of many sports, there are some major skeletons in the closet. You may have forgotten about these crazy controversies, but they were totally huge when they happened! Here are biggest sports scandals of all time.
USA Basketball Loses To The Soviet Union
There has always been stiff competition between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union during the Olympic Games. While it’s no secret that the U.S. tends to dominate in basketball during the Olympics, during the 1980s and especially the Cold War, the USSR seemed determined to come out on top, no matter what. So what was the scandal that made the United States lose in basketball?
The Cold War Game Of The Century
During the 1972 Olympic Games, the Soviet Union was down by only a few points when the clock began to malfunction. With added time and the refs on their side, the Soviet Union was able to come back to win the game with under three seconds left. Even today, the United States refuses to acknowledge that this was a win for the country now called Russia.
The Golden Boy Of Little League
It seemed that Danny Almonte was the best player out on the Little League Field. During his time playing for his Bronx Little League team, Almonte had performed the first ever perfect game. He also had a pitch that ranged from 76 miles per hour on the radar gun, but was his talent really authentic?
It was definitely too good to be true when it came down to the talent of Danny Almonte. The player was actually born in 1987, rather than 1989 which his father changed his records to say. The Little League pitcher was actually two years too old to be playing in the league and his team’s winning records were erased from the books.
Lance Armstrong Comes Clean
Lance Armstrong was one of America’s sweethearts with his triumph over cancer and his rule of the cycling world. Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour De France championships after defeating his testicular cancer, however, this cyclist was found to be receiving some unexpected help.
He Was Caught Doping
Even though his story is still inspiring, Lance Armstrong was caught red-handed. The cyclist admitted to Oprah that he was using performance enhancing drugs, and even PED’s. An investigation also pointed out that over 80 percent of professional cyclists between 1996 and 2000 were using drugs to help their performance.
Black Sox Scandal
No one wants to believe that baseball players aren’t great guys, because baseball is known for being America’s beloved pastime. However, these eight players were proven to be cheating by losing on purpose. Not a good time to be a White Sox fan, at all.
The Players Were More Interested In The Money
This scandal took place during the 1919 World Series, when the White Sox suspiciously lost to the Cincinnati Reds. These eight players included the Hall of Fame player named Shoeless Joe Jackson, who some fans believe should be taken out of the Hall of Fame. The eight players were also completely banned from the MLB.
USA Gymnastics Sex Abuse Scandal
In September 2016, the first allegations of sexual abuse by USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar were made. Since then, more than 140 women have accused the disgraced doctor of sexually abusing them. Some of the survivors include USA Gymnastics national team members Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber, Maggie Nichols, Gabby Douglas, Jeanette Antolin, and Jamie Dantzscher.
“We Are A Force And You Are Nothing”
Two-time Olympian Aly Raisman was one of numerous women to make a victim impact statement during Nassar’s sentencing in January 2018. In her powerful 15-minute statement she not only addressed Nassar’s diabolic behavior but the underlying issues with the USA Gymnastics saying: “If we are to believe in change, we must first understand the problem and everything that contributed to it.”
Nassar Will Spend The Rest Of His Life In Prison
On November 22, 2017, Larry Nassar pled guilty to seven charges of first-degree sexual assault. He entered a guilty plea two days later for three additional sexual assault charges. In addition to these criminal charges, Nassar was also sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography charges in December 2017.
O.J. Simpson Trial
There’s probably not one person who doesn’t know about the O.J. Simpson trial. During his football career, O.J. Simpson had some of the best potential out there. This player was a two-time All American for his team at USC, and was even the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner.
The Glove Didn’t Fit
On June 12, 1994, O.J. Simpson’s ex wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman were found murdered outside of her home. Famously, Simpson led the police on a high-speed chase in his vehicle, the now-notorious white Bronco. Still, Simpson was found not guilty, for the glove not fitting his hand. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
2002 Olympics Bribery Scandal
The Olympics are supposed to be the most honest and upstanding sporting event in the world. However, the Olympics are known to have a significant amount of drama behind the scenes, as well as bribery. Even most recently, the 2016 Rio events were tainted with bribes.
The U.S. Really Shouldn’t Have Had The Olympics
It is widely speculated that the organizers behind the Salt Lake City games bribed the Olympic committee for votes, so that the Olympics would be held in the United States. This scandal led to the indictment of five key members of the city’s bid committee.
New England Patriots Cheating All The Time
The New England Patriots are one of the most dedicated and decorated National Football league team out there. However, even though Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are some of the most talented player and coach combos, this team was found to be cheating its way through games.
They Had Deflated Their Balls
In 2007, the team was exposed for filming signals from rival teams so that they would know what plays were coming. The Patriots were also exposed in a deflate scandal, which proved that the team had illegally deflated all but one football during their game against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC championship.
Some people don’t pay close attention to marathon races, but they probably should. There are some cheaters in running, too. Rosie Ruiz blurred the lines when it came to her win during the Boston Marathon. But this victor had a very specific game plan and route.
She Took A Short Cut
During the Boston Marathon in 1980, it seemed that no one could catch up to Rosie Ruiz. It turns out that there was a good reason why. This runner had taken many short cuts during the race and had not run the full length of the course. It surprised many people that she got away with this for as long as she did.
2015 FIFA Goes Under
Soccer — well, football as it’s called around the world — is the most expensive and money-winning sport across the globe. However, when an activity can make that much money, it’s not uncommon to find some corruption behind the scenes. This was no different with the FIFA organization.
The FIFA Presidents Were In On It
During the morning of May 27, 2015, 14 FIFA officials were arrested by the FBI on charges of conspiracy, fraud, and corruption. The organization was determined to have serious corruption during the appointment of the 2018 Russia World Cup and the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Baseball’s Steroids Use
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the sport of baseball was booming. Not only were players performing at higher levels, but actually hitting out of the park consistently. Many of these baseball players were later caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
Barry Bonds Came Clean
The company BALCO had its offices raided by the IRS in the year of 2003, which showed that players were using steroids. However, it was actually Barry Bonds, whose office was also raided, that become the poster boy for this steroid era. It came out that many players were using drugs.
2000 Spanish Paralympic Team
Cheating at the Paralympics is one of the foulest and worst things that you could do as a player. However, at the 2000 Paralympics, this horror came true. Not only was it a disgrace for the players, but also a disgrace for the entire country of Spain.
They Weren’t Who They Said They Were
The 2000 Spanish Paralympic Basketball team was almost unstoppable, but not for a good reason. It turned out that 10 out of 12 of the players were not actually handicapped — physically or mentally. The team hadn’t even been checked out before they were allowed to play.
Rugby Player Fakes It Hardcore
Rugby is one of the most hardcore and deadly sports out there. Not only is the sport like football without the pads, but most injuries are expected and common. So it would be no big shock if a player began to bleed from the mouth, but it totally should have been in this case.
The Nose Bleed Was Fake
It’s not uncommon to bleed from random places during a rugby game, but player Tom Williams faked a nosebleed “to enable tactical substitutions” during a 2009 match dubbed Bloodgate. During the game, he used a blood capsule to break in his mouth, to make it seem that he was injured. People realized that the injury was fake when Williams dropped the bottle to the ground live on television.
Tiger Woods Isn’t So Pure
Everyone knows this scandal because it made headlines around the world. At the time before this atrocious scandal hit, Tiger Woods was at his prime. The professional golfer had just won his 14th major championship title, and he was on his way to breaking the world record of 18.
His Wife Hit Him With His Own Golf Clubs
Over Thanksgiving of 2009, it was released by the tabloids that Tiger Woods had been cheating on his wife with over 120 extramarital affairs. His wife, Elin Nordegran, would later receive a $750 million dollar settlement and she also beat him with one of his own golf clubs. Ouch!
Reggie Bush Accepted Way Too Many Gifts
Reggie Bush’s college career was nothing short of impressive and legendary. This player was drafted number 2 in the NFL overall draft and many people thought that he was going to be one of the greatest running backs of all time. In the end, though, his gift habit ruined it for him.
He Accepted Too Many Gifts, Too Soon
Bush was set to win the Heisman trophy, which is the highest honor that a college football player can get. However, it was soon revealed that Bush was accepting gifts from USC during his years on the team from 2004 to 2005. Sadly, Reggie Bush also hasn’t had a great NFL career either.
Kobe Bryant Was Accused Of Sexual Assault
Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all time and is even referred to as the “black mamba” for his impressive aim and attack. However, his personal life off the court was extremely shaky and in 2003, Kobe Bryant’s marriage reached an all-time low.
Kobe Wasn’t An Attacker
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of committing sexual assault while on vacation. It turned out that the allegations were untrue, even though the infidelity was accurate. Kobe Bryant was forced to admit to having an affair in front of a court and his own wife.
Michael Vick’s Dog Abuse
The Eagles starting quarterback could have become one of the best players in the league, however, he found himself into quite a lot of trouble. Today, Vick is back to being one of the loudest and boisterous players on the field, but he has just gotten out of jail.
The Dogs Were Completely Innocent
In 2007, Michael Vick was implicated in a dog-fighting ring that proved that he was into illegal gambling. He was arrested and it was proved that at least a dozen dogs were killed during his stint in this cruel ring. The Eagles were the only team that would accept him after this scandal.
Plaxico Burress Shoots Himself
Plaxico Burress is a former NFL player who was drafted eighth overall in the 2000 NFL draft to the New York Giants. He soon made his fame with the Giants, and actually caught the game-winning throw during the Super Bowl XLII for the team’s win. So what was his scandal?
He Had A Gun In The Club
On November 8, 2008 Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the foot in a nightclub in New York City. The injury was not life-threatening, however, the pistol was not legal to be on his person. Burress ended up with a plea deal that gave him a two year prison sentence.
Jim Thorpe Stripped Of His Medals
Jim Thorpe is considered one of the greatest and most versatile athletes who ever lived. This player was named All American twice for his contributions to Carlisle Indian School, and he also played baseball and lacrosse. Shockingly, this athlete’s Olympic medals were taken away.
He Wasn’t Even Professional
At the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, this athlete won the decathlon and pentathlon but these were later taken away. During this time, Olympic athletes were not allowed to play professional sports, and this included the minor leagues. Thorpe had his medals taken away for playing on a minor league baseball team.
Penn State’s Abuse History
Joe Paterno was part of the legend that really made Penn State such a football legacy. He was thought of as a lovable coach and many people found him quite endearing. However, there were some awful allegations against this supposedly kind soul.
The Coaches Knew All Along
Since the 1990s, Joey Sandusky had been “assaulting” boys who were involved in the Penn State camp, and the abuse first became apparent during the 1998 investigation. The real scandal behind this awful controversy is that even Joe Paterno knew that Joey Sandusky was abusing young boys for over a decade.
Aaron Hernandez Saga
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s career was marred by legal issues. He was arrested in 2013 for the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd and dismissed by the Patriots immediately. Hernandez was eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He was also tried in a double murder charge in the deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
It’s All Over
In April 2017, Aaron Hernandez was acquitted for the double murder but still faced a life in prison for Odin Lloyd’s death. Early on the morning of April 19th, guards at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts found him dead in his cell. He had hanged himself with bed sheets, and was discovered with the words “John 3:16” written on the walls and on his forehead in red marker ink. A Bible was open to those lines, which read: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Tiger Woods Makes The List Again
Early on the morning of May 29, 2017, Tiger Woods was pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence. It was 3:00 in the morning in Jupiter, Florida, near his home. Police reported that they smelled alcohol on his breath and he was booked into Palm Beach County Jail, and witnesses say that Woods’ vehicle was moving erratically. He’d had a rough few years, with personal issues and multiple back surgeries causing him problems.
Denies He’d Been Drinking
After being released at 10:50 am on the same day of his arrest, Memorial Day, Woods issued a statement blaming prescription drugs for the incident. “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly. I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too. I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.” Woods also thanked the authorities for their professionalism.