The Biggest Scandals in Pro Sports
Spoiler alert – at least two of them have ‘gate’ at the end…
This scandal only erupted a while after the event occurred. You see, Nelson Piquet Jr. was a Formula 1 race car driver and, in 2008, had a big crash with one of his opponents… which didn’t seem like much news when it happened, because hey let’s face it: that kind of thing is pretty common in the racing world. Plus, nobody got hurt, so people forgot about the wreck pretty quickly…
Until they didn’t.
Some timed passed, Nelson pursued his career and eventually left his former Renault F1 team, but suddenly rumors starting swirling. People were saying something unthinkable, and claimed that the crash he’d survived was actually done on purpose, just to let Fernando Alonso, another racer, win the race. Then Nelson came out and admitted that his coach had asked him to stage the crash, which oddly didn’t lead to much prosecution, despite all the “media frenzy”.
So next time someone says that sports are rigged, remember that this guy admitted to risking his life and others, just for a coach. Crazy times we live in.
4) Tonya Harding’s school of hard knocks:
This one definitely deserves to be on this, considering just how unethical, upsetting and mean-spirited it is. Back in the day, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were ice skating opponents and regularly competed against one another for first place. Besides intense bouts on the ice, their rivalry seemed to remain in the rink… until one day, right before the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Nancy was getting ready to go out and skate and a man jumped out of the crowd, striking Kerrigan’s leg with some kind of metal club.
You guys can check out the video if you want, but it’s pretty upsetting because you can really tell how scared and injured she is.
Now nobody initially thought that Harding was involved in the terrible attack, but she then came out (after the championship was over, and she’d already competed) and admitted that her ex-husband and bodyguard had planned the attack together, and hired the man to break her rivals leg.
3) 2000 Paralympics Spanish Basketball Team:
OK so this one is the most embarrassing, hilarious and outright disgusting performance of our list. No point beating around the bush, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2000 “Paralympic” basketball team from Spain, pretended to be mentally disabled, just so they could win gold.
What a gold medal won under such circumstances would actually represent to these corrupt players, is somewhat of a mystery to this day… which leads us to think that monetary incentives were most probably provided by criminal elements, to motivate them.
All this to say that when a journalist revealed that the majority of the Spanish team was not actually mentally disabled, it caused quite the uproar. Eventually, there wasn’t much to do except declare the runners-up as winners and shame the perpetrators. Too bad the Paralympics aren’t a bigger cash cow, because without higher ratings and revenue to finance more stringent protocol, there’s a good chance we could see this kind of scandal erupt again.
2) The Habit:
Pete Rose is one of the best baseball players of all time and at his peak, was quite a wealthy man. The problem was that he loved gambling a lot. Maybe even a little too much… and eventually couldn’t resist placing money in his area of expertise, also know as Professional baseball.
This means Pete would bet on himself in so doing, would inadvertently tip Vegas off, as to when he was going to play hard and when he wasn’t. While claiming to this day that he never bet against himself, and after years and years of saying the accusations were fake or fraudulent, so much evidence piled up that the MLB commissioner at the time, Peter Ueberroth, actually had to ask Pete to accept a “voluntary ban” in the 1980’s, in exchange for the league stopping all investigations into Rose’s gambling.
The saddest part of the story is that Pete still holds some MLB Hall of fame records, because he was a hell of a player…
…too bad they banned him for life!
They say that one should never learn how hot dogs are made, lest one never eat a frankfurter again…
but in 2007, Eric Mangini did just that and exposed the National Football League’s dirty laundry for all to see, by sending a complaint to Roger Goodell (the commissioner of the NFL) and revealing how their bitter rivals, the New England Patriots, had filmed and stolen defensive signals during a game.
Now don’t mistake Mangini for a heroic whistle-blower or anything crazy, he was also cheating with the Patriots until leaving the organization to coach for the New York, and just didn’t like tasting his own medicine. So after ratting out his previous coworkers, Eric forced Goodell to speak with New England.
During this infamous meeting, the commissioner figured out that they did in fact film the signals and fined Belichick half a million dollars, along with other team-related fines (loss of draft pick/salary cap reduction, etc.
Even though Goodell decided to destroy all evidence of New England’s cheating to protect the league’s reputation, this scandal is worth researching on your own, because it spans multiple years that include the 3 initial super bowls of the then-budding “Patriots Dynasty”.
More recently, there’s also the Soccer Spygate that happened over in England in 2019, which Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa proudly admitted to!
Dan Bernardini wasn’t always the camouflage-clad shadow he is today. No, once upon a time he had it all. Six-figure hedgefund gig, designer suits, luxury car… And boy did he love his Sundays by the pool, splashing around with the wife and kids. It was a great life, until the illuminati took it all away. When the financial crisis hit, Dan was suddenly left holding the bag. “Could have happened to anyone” the lawyers lamented, as the feds seized it all…