The Best/Worst/My Favorite Sports Scandal of the Decade

Written by on January 2, 2020

Everyone is writing end of the decade articles and here at Pub Sports Radio, we are no different! 

I talk about sports, a lot, an almost unhealthy amount. One of my absolute favorite things to talk about is the insane things that occur in the sports world. Most sports scandals fall into the sports world and never make waves in the outside world. There are a select few that penetrate the public due to the heinous nature of the offense. This past decade provided us with a wide variety of stories that either made us cry laughing or filled us with rage due to the severity of their actions. Here is a list of ten favorite scandals of the past decade. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal
  • The Fifa Corruption Case
  • Dion Waiters having a panic attack on a plane because he was simply too damn high
  • Jim Joyce absolutely blowing a perfect game for Armando Galarraga, 
  • Jameis Winston stealing crab legs
  • That one time the NFL screwed the Saints. No, that other time the NFL screwed the Saints
  • Kawhi Leonard deciding to not play on a “hurt” quadriceps muscle and forcing a move from what used to be the most stable well run franchise in all of the NBA. And then going on to becoming arguably a top 15 and soon to be a top 10 players in NBA history.
  • The most difficult one to leave off my list; Tiger Woods cheats on his wife and climbs all the way back to GOAT status.

Not Honorable Mentions:

  • Penn State and Jerry Sandusky 
  • Michigan State and Larry Nasser
  • Baylor and Art Briles

Big Fuck you to All three of these people.

 

10. Brett Favre and Dick-Pic-Gate

In 2008, Brett Favre decided to hop out of retirement and into the waiting arms of the New York Jets. A stab in the back to all Packers fans (Boy, they weren’t ready for what was to come from Favre). The gunslinger quarterback was trying to score on and off the field and in 2010 a story from Deadspin written by A.J. Daulerio broke the news of Farve’s off the field exploits. According to an interview that Daulerio conducted with sideline reporter Jenn Sterger, number four sent several pictures of his Johnson to her in a variety of fashions. 

“But then, one night, Sterger received a picture on her phone which was so shocking that she just tossed it across the room. It was his dick. Brett Favre’s dick. And it happened multiple times. In fact, Sterger claims that, in one of the photos Favre allegedly sent her, he’s masturbating — while wearing a pair of Crocs.” 

I mean, come on, Favre is one of the most legendary quarterbacks to throw a football in the NFL. He was the golden boy in Green Bay for years and it was all tarnished by retiring, then unretiring, then retiring, and then unretiring. This story was the cherry on top of the crap sundae Farve’s post Green Bay career but guess what, time and copper fit heal all wounds. 

 

9. Robert Kraft’s Rub and Tug

If I told you that the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was going to be caught going into a “massage parlor” to “release some stress” but in the process was in the center of an FBI investigation would you believe me or call a mental institution for me. Kraft’s AFC championship adventure to Orchids of Asia Day Spa put him in the middle of a human trafficking ring which the FBI was monitoring. 

On January 19th, 2018, the 78-year-old owner entered the massage parlor and paid a woman for a handjob and it was all caught on tape. Luckily for everyone’s eyeballs, the video was not released of this but let us not forget; the man behind the greatest dynasty in NFL history got a rub and tug on the morning of the AFC championship game his Patriots would go on and win. 

 

8. The Biogenesis Clinic 

Apple pie, hot dogs, the Fourth of July and steroids in baseball. All pillars that built America and in 2013 we were treated to another steroids scandal that rocked baseball. 

The Biogenesis clinic in Miami was a front to give professional athletes performance-enhancing drugs to give them an edge on their competition. A handy list of clients that were recovered by law enforcement blew the cover of several Major League Baseball players, most notably, A-Roids himself Alex Rodriguez, former NL MVP Ryan Braun, and Nelson Cruz. 

This wasn’t the first time Rodriguez has been connected to performance-enhancing drugs and was given what at the time was an unprecedented suspension of a full 162 games. Braun denied these claims vehemently until his back was in a corner and was given a 65 game suspension while everyone else on the list was given a 50 game suspension. 

 

7. BountyGate 

The Saints have been one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL. With Drew Brees and Sean Peyton leading their organization, they have been in the mix for the playoffs every year.

The black mark that had the potential to ruin a hall of fame career for Peyton came in 2012 when it was reported that defensive coordinator Greg Williams and players were organizing a “secret fund” from 2009 to 2011. This “secret fund” was being funded by bounty’s that Williams and players organized to reward players for hurting offensive stars on the opposing team. Most notably, linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered 10,000$ bounty on Brett Farve. 

Honestly, I’m surprised that more stories like this have not been released. Players were rightfully disgusted at the thought of Saints players purposely trying to injure them for cash bonuses. The NFL punishment came down swift and hard as Greg Williams and Sean Peyton were both suspended for a year while several defensive players, including Vilma, had their year-long suspensions overturned. 

I reached out to Saints fan Preston Eckdal for a comment on this scandal and he had a short message, “You play to win the game, Farve was an old man anyway, his time had to come.” 

 

6. Donald Sterling and The Clippers

The Clippers were the laughing stock of the NBA for their entire existence in Los Angeles. Donald Sterling owned half of the hotels in LA and his Clippers seemed to finally be crawling out of their ineptitude when Blake Griffin and Chris Paul joined the franchise. 

Sterling was known as a creepy owner whose plantation like attitude was spoken about openly in the league. In 2014, Sterling’s mistress released a recorded conversation in which Sterling chastised her for posting a picture with Magic Johnson on her Instagram because he was black. 

“It bothers me that you’re associating with black people… what if they’re stupid,”.

The tape was released in the midst of the Clippers’ first-round matchup against the Warriors which set off a chain of events that altered the NBA forever. Beginning with Commissioner Adam Silver banning Donald Sterling for life to any and all NBA events. Silver put Sterling in a corner and forced him to sell the team which his estranged wife took control of and sold for two billion dollars. 

The game following the release of the tape was a media spectacle. Many did not know if the Clippers would even play the game. It was unheard of for an NBA team not to play in a regular-season game, let alone the first round of the playoffs. 

As it became closer to tip-off, internal conversations inside the Clippers locker room focused on what kind of message the team would send to an audience of millions watching to see how they would respond. This is the biggest of the court “What if” in NBA history. If the Clippers decide to not play it is a moment that would have been remembered forever. 

Instead, the Clippers decided to take off their warm-up jackets, lay them at half court and continue their warm-up while wearing inside-out clippers shirts to hide the logo. Their reasoning was to show the world that they were “Playing for themselves” and not the racist owner whose words cut through society like a knife. 

The Warriors took advantage of an emotionally exhausted Clippers team and tore them apart. The Clippers were sold to Microsoft legend Steve Balmer and the rest is history now. 

The Clippers have climbed from the dumps into NBA royalty with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George electing to team up in LA. The coveted NBA championship the Clippers have so desperately desired is within reach, time will tell if they are able to secure it or if their city rival the Lakers will ruin their parade. 

 

5. Markelle Fultz and the Yips

Before:

After:

 

The yips is arguably the most terrifying thing that could happen to an athlete. Simply waking up and not being able to replicate the same motion that you’ve been doing all your life is scary. The first overall pick in the 2017 draft seemingly had an episode of the yips after the Philadelphia 76ers drafted him. Pre-draft comparisons had Fultz as the next James Harden. 

Then suddenly his jump shot turned into the ugliest motion in the league. He air-balled free throws, his shot was completely different from what it was in Washington and to make matters worse; the 76ers trade up for him!

The 76ers swapped first-round picks with the Boston Celtics to move up from three to one to select Fultz. Meanwhile, the Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum and acquired an extra first-round pick in the process. Fultz’s Philadelphia career was short-lived as he spent the majority of his time on the bench due to an injury in his shoulder that transformed from week-to-week. 

After a disastrous spell in Philadelphia, the Magic rolled the dice on the former first-round pick and traded for him. Now Fultz seems to be on his way back with the Magic and it warms my heart to see highlights of him dunking on innocent bystanders.

 

4. Deflategate 

This was the scandal that made Tom Brady the Goat quarterback. In 2015, during the AFC Championship that features the mainstay New England Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts. The game quickly became a blowout and the Patriots moved on to the super bowl to nobody’s surprise. 

But, things got interesting after the game as it was released that 11 of the 12 game balls were found to be underinflated (this was proven to be false). The NFL launched a massive investigation that included trying to confiscate Brady’s phone, a Patriots employee labeling himself the “deflator” and scientist trying to explain to the public how gas laws worked. 

The end result became one of the most interesting and captivating stories throughout the next season. Brady was suspended four games to begin the 2016 season and the Patriots lost two picks including a first-rounder. 

This solidified the “Boston vs Everyone” mantra that permeates through the city and was an easy tool for head coach Bill Belichick to use to motivate his team during the 2016 season. The Patriots went 3-1 without Brady at the helm with starts from now two starting quarterbacks in Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Once Brady returned, it was a march to the Super Bowl again. 

They ended the year 14-2 and faced an offensive juggernaut in the Falcons with an MVP in Matt Ryan. We all know the story from here, the Pats went down 28-3 at halftime and everyone wrote off the Patriots, even Mark Wahlberg left early! In classic Patriots fashion, they engineered the largest super bowl comeback in history and won 34-28 in overtime. Thus crowning Brady as Super Bowl MVP, the greatest quarterback ever to play in the NFL and giving Roger Goodell a middle finger in the process. 

 

3. Bryan Colangelo’s Burner Accounts

Ah, yes, back with the 76ers. If it wasn’t enough for their first overall pick in the draft to flame out, the Sixers general manager was caught commenting on Twitter to fans defending his previous transactions using fake twitter alias. 

The Ringer published an article by Ben Detrick that exposed the general manager twitter activity by monitoring the behavior of several accounts that they were told could belong to Colangelo. 

From the article, “The five accounts pinpointed by the unnamed source included one that followed media members, Sixers employees, and NBA agents but never tweets (its handle is @phila1234567, and it has no account name), and four that have posted tweets or replied to other users. Of those, one was active between April 2016 and May 2017 (its account name is Eric jr, and its handle is @AlVic40117560), two were active within the past five months (HonestAbe / @Honesta34197118 and Enoughunkownsources / @Enoughunkownso1), and one was posting several times a day (Still Balling / @s_bonhams) and as recently as last week,” said Detrick.

“On Tuesday, May 22, I emailed the Sixers and shared the names of two of the accounts, phila1234567 and Eric jr (I did not disclose our suspicions about the other three accounts, one of which, Still Balling, had been active earlier that day; I did this to see whether the partial disclosure would trigger any changes to the other accounts). On a follow-up call that day, Philadelphia’s media representative told me that he would ask Colangelo whether he had any information about the two accounts.

That afternoon, within hours of the call, all three of the accounts I hadn’t discussed with the team switched from public to private, effectively taking them offline—including one (HonestAbe) that hadn’t been active since December”

 

Someone’s hand has been caught in the cookie jar! These accounts were used to tweet: criticism to Sixers players including Joel Embiid, Jahill Okafor and Nerlens Noel, questing decisions made by the coaching staff, former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie and current Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, Telegraph the 2017 trade in which the Sixers acquired the no. 1 overall pick that would become Markelle Fultz and

Disclose nonpublic medical information about Okafor and gossip about Embiid and Fultz to members of the national and Philadelphia media. 

What a shit show! The Sixers began an investigation immediately and led to Colangelo’s resignation. His wife later admitted to creating and operating some of the twitter accounts but an outside law firm deemed Colangelo to be the source of her information. 

And of course, let us never forget the ridiculous collars that he wore through his reign. 

 

2. Rick Pitino and the many Louisville Sex Scandals

When you first look at former Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino; you are overwhelmed with his mob boss aesthetic. The slicked-back hair, the cocaine white suits, the New York accent, and attitude, it’s all there. Beneath this look is one of the best college basketball coaches in the past decade. Beneath that is a man who will do almost anything to win which was shown multiple times during his tenure at Louisville. 

When people talk about the scandals that occurred during his time you have to ask, “Which one?”. 

A “Madam” or a prostitute was paid several thousand dollars from 2010 to 2014 by a men’s basketball staffer at Louisville, Andre McGee, for “Strip Shows and Sex Parties” for current players and recruits. 

If that’s not bad enough, Pitino was blackmailed by a woman saying that the hall of fame coach raped her twice. These claims were proven false but, Pitino was forced to testify in court about his encounters with said female. 

 

The tweets say it all. This public embarrassment wasn’t enough! The NCAA came down hard and fast on the entire program and stripped them of their 2013 national title. (Fun fact: Pitino got a tattoo commemorating the national title on his back). Louisville is the only basketball program ever to be stripped of a title and Pitino is the only coach as of now to be fired for a combination of paying players and “losing institutional control”. 

In 2019, Pitino found himself in Greece coaching but has come back to the states in the hope that a program is willing to take a chance on him again. (I’m looking at you UTSA, hire the man.)

1. Manti Te’o and his “Girlfriend”

Wow, where do we even begin?

Manti Te’o became the face of college football in 2013 as Notre Dame seemingly found the Hawaiian version of Brian Urlacher. The Irish defense was dominant but tragedy struck Te’o early in their season as he told Sports illustrated that he learned of the death of his grandmother, Annette Santiago, and the death of his girlfriend Lennay Kekua on the same day. 

Kekua was 22 years old and had been in a serious car accident in California and then diagnosed with Leukemia. After her death, stories were written about how Te’o called her while she was in the hospital. 

After he received the news, Te’o led Notre Dame to an emotional and dominance 20-3 victory of No. 10 Michigan State. Te’o later appeared on College GameDay on ESPN and spoke about letters that Kekua had written him during her illness. 

The entire nation rallied behind Notre Dame and rightfully so right? An emotional story with a potential storybook ending that was supposed to in a national championship for the Irish. 

Little did well all know that it was all a hoax! Te’o was catfished into believing that Kekua was a real person that attended Stanford and was in a relationship with a person who he never met! 

There were no records of Lennay Marie Kekua’s death, no obituary, no report of any auto accident on the date that it supposedly happened and no record of any woman with that named ever enrolled at Stanford. 

This put the university and Te’o in an incredibly awkward situation and incredibly awkward statements. Here is the statement released by University Spokesman and Assistant Vice President, Dennis Brown, 

“On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.”

Te’o statement was even more awkward! 

“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies were, and is, painful and humiliating. It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I’m looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.” 

This was the perfect scandal of the 2010s. Te’o was the talk of the town and then this bombshell dropped and all public sympathy for the linebacker evaporated. On top of being embarrassed off the field, Notre Dame was taken to the cleaners and dominated by Alabama in the national championship 42-14 and ruined all of Notre Dame’s credibility as a national contender year in and year out.

Moral of the story; Maybe make sure your girlfriend is real before becoming a national story


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