Where there is competition, and enormous amounts of cash, there is inevitably scandal. Yes, major steps are taken to keep the sporting world pure, but every once in a while a scandal will rock the industry to its very core. These are some of the biggest scandals that soiled the world of professional sports, resulting in players being banned, and some even resulting in the entire industry having to adjust.
The Black Sox Scandal
Going all the way back to 1919, we have one of the biggest scandals in MLB history. Eight players were found guilty of conspiring to purposefully lose games, with each being paid a large sum of money to also lose their conscience.
Ultimately, each of the players was banned from the sport for life. But, perhaps the biggest controversy of all still remains a hot topic to this very day. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who was entered into the Hall of Fame, may or may not have been part of the scandal. Many still argue that even the implication that he was involved should bar him from any Hall of Fame entry.
Referred to as the biggest scandal in Little League Baseball, the Danny Almonte incident is synonymous with how corruption can exist at every level of the sporting world. Danny Almonte was a force to be reckoned with in the world of Little League, being seen as one of the most promising players in the world. Then it was revealed that he was, in fact, many years older than was claimed. It potentially cost him a career in MLB, with his only career option now being an assistant coach at a high school.
You probably don’t need reminders of the Lance Armstrong scandal, but it had to be on the list. 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was found to be spearheading the most advanced, complicated and sophisticated doping program ever seen in professional sports. Even before confessing on live television, Armstrong was clearly under intense investigation, with the US Anti-Doping Agency declaring they had found enough evidence to make a decission. Allowing him to confess was probably just a courtesy.
There are few scandals as publicly well known, and often referenced, as that of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. As is now well known, Tonya conspired with her ex-husband to have rival Nancy Kerrigan attacked, and struck on the leg during a practice session. Both women went on to compete in the Olympics, with Kerrigan taking home the silver, and Harding finishing in eighth. Later, after an intense investigation, Harding pleaded guilty for her part in planning the assault.
Last we have what is referred to as Bountygate, which is considered by many to be one of the most appalling scandals of all time. It was discovered that NFL team the New Orleans Saints were paid a bonus, assuming that they could injure specific players in other teams, thereby forcing them to leave that target game. An investigation led to the banning of the team’s defensive coordinator, head couch, and various players.