20 Cheaters Who Almost Got Away with It
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With all the testing going on in sports these days, it's hard to think any athlete would try to cheat at all.
But after the over ten-year roller coaster ride Lance Armstrong gave us, we continue hearing about guys who will try to pull strings and gain an advantage anyway they can, and still think they can get away with it.
Since the jury's still out on Barry Bonds and this whole Ray Lewis deer-extract story, we'll wait to add them to this list of cheaters who were oh so close to somehow getting away with it.
Anyone Busted for Steroids
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Here's a disclaimer before we get reamed out for not including this guy or that guy—Any athlete whose been caught (or allegedly linked to) steroids is included on this slide right here.
Shawn Merriman? Busted, and has fallen off the map ever since.
Melky Cabrera? Same.
So before telling us we left someone off here, this is the slide dedicated to them.
You shouldn't have a lack of options on who would have made it.
Ty Cobb, MLB Hall of Famer
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Cobb may not have been a huge cheater, but anything you've heard of him (outside of being an unreal baseball player) is about being a huge prick.
Whereas juicing is the worst thing a ballplayer can do now, Cobb was the pinnacle of cheating back then with his cleat-sharpening, spiking and tripping other players.
Go watch the movie Cobb and see if you think he was a good guy.
Bill Belichick, Patriots Head Coach
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Thanks to his "grand scheme" to tape and steal both offensive and defensive signals from coaches to players, Belichick was slapped with a $500,000 fine, as well as costing the Pats organization $250,000 and a first round pick in the 2008 Draft.
Considering the dude's taken the team to five Super Bowl's (winning three) in his 13 years at the helm, we're sure he and owner Robert Kraft happily just laughed it off.
Elliot Saltman, Pro Golfer
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Let's face it, anyone whose tee'd it up before knows that cutting strokes is the norm. Those "gimmes" when you just scrape the edge of the cup and the free drops your buddies give you aren't typically a huge deal.
But when you're a professional golfer, it's really frowned upon.
So when Saltman was accused of replacing his ball as many as five times in one year, he was going to get more than just a slap on the wrist.
Turns out he received a three-month ban, along with the loss of anyone muttering "mulligan" to him again.
Joe Niekro, Former MLB Pitcher
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When you're a pitcher who throws a knuckleball, it can be tough to try and maintain a regular spot in the majors—especially with so many guys throwing triple digits.
For the 22-year vet Niekro, he thought keeping sandpaper and a nail file in his back pocket would help him toss the pitch a lot more effectively.
Turns out he was right! Problem is, MLB didn't appreciate it, banning him 10 games for his antics.
Better yet, during his suspension, he went on Letterman pretty much telling the Commish exactly how he felt about the ban.
Lester Hayes, Former NFL Player
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No, the Raiders did not hold a halftime papier-mâché contest for the players, that's former defensive back Hayes rubbing Stickum all over his body.
If you can't tell by the name alone, it's stuff that's extremely sticky.
It sounds pretty gross to rub all over yourself, right?
Well Hayes didn't care, as he used the stuff to get receivers' hands stuck to him and get them out of sync on their routes.
The stuff was so effective that Hayes himself said he became a "mere mortal" after the ban, which is high praise from a former Defensive Player of the Year, 80's All-Decade performer and five-time Pro Bowler.
Stevin Smith, Former College Basketball Player
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When you're a college kid, it can be tough to earn money to pay rent and go out. Now try being a full-time athlete who has no chance of even getting a job?
That's the predicament Smith and his former ASU teammate Isaac Burton Jr. found themselves in when they were bribed by former bookie Benny Silman to shave points in games they were playing in.
The whole thing was a mess for both the player and school, with Smith being tossed in prison for a year and one day, and Silman for four years.
Reggie Bush, Former Heisman Trophy Winner
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Bush was insane while still running for the Men of Troy.
But after bolting a year early following his Heisman campaign of 2006, the NCAA got word of some improper benefits he had taken during his time for the Trojans.
For his involvement, Reggie vacated his little golden statue, and cost his alma mater 30 scholarships, bowl bans and forfeiture of wins in 2004 and '05.
Sylvester Carmouche, Former Jockey
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If you've ever gone to a track before, you know it can be extremely difficult to walk away breaking even, let alone actually coming out ahead.
Very rarely would anyone throw down on 25-1 odds, but for anyone who did back in December, 1990, they came out very happy.
That is, until track officials discovered that the jockey of that horse, Carmouche, had utilized foggy conditions that day to cut corners and not run half the race without anyone really noticing.
Poor Sylvester received a 10-year ban for the win that never happened.
Floyd Landis, Former Cycler
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What's worse than just being a cheater? Being a cheater who calls out someone else, and then gets in trouble themselves.
That's Landis for you—and the entire sport of cycling for that matter—as he pointed the finger (rightfully) at Lance Armstrong's doping allegations.
But when Landis, the 2006 Tour de France winner, was found guilty himself, he lost the yellow jersey and was banned from cycling for two years.
Albert Belle, Former MLB Player
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Though Belle was a monster for our beloved Indians during the team's run to the '95 World Series, the former All-Star stirred-up controversy thanks to the corked bat that was found during a game against the White Sox.
After switching the bat with a teammate's, the original was found, x-rayed and sawed in half, costing Belle a ten-game suspension (which was appealed and reduced to seven anyway).
Sammy Sosa was found guilty of a similar plot in 2003, but as it turned out, he had bigger fish to fry.
Mike Scott, Former MLB Pitcher
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It’s not common for a pitcher to have a career resurgence after already pitching seven years in the league—unless you're R.A. Dickey—but it happened in 1986 for Mike Scott too.
He threw a no-hitter, won the Cy Young Award, and led the Astros to a division title that year.
Good for him, right? Not so much.
It came out he was getting movement on his pitches by keeping a nail file in the back pocket of his uniform.
Ask Scott if he did it, and he'll openly admit it.
So much for trying to claim his innocence.
2000 Paralympics Spanish Basketball Team
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Remember that Johnny Knoxville movie The Ringer?
It's about a guy who tries to erase some of his debt by rigging the Special Olympics in order to try and win by faking that he's mentally challenged.
Turns out the plot may have just come from the Spanish basketball team who played in the 2000 Paralympic Games, because that's kind of what happened for the gold medal-winning squad.
Tonya Harding, Former Figure Skater
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Harding is one bad chick.
In 1994, Harding and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a couple hit men to attack fellow U.S. skater Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session to try and open a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
These days, she finds herself squaring off in the ring as a professional boxer, which is probably exactly where she needs to be.
Dave Bliss, Former College Basketball Coach
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We actually have no idea how Bliss (the former Baylor head coach) isn't actually in jail right now for his hand in the covering-up of a player's death, while lying to federal prosecutors about the things he actually knew?
It was a bizarre series of events, so we won't explain it all.
Bottom line is, the coach covered-up a murder and blamed the deceased for something he wasn't.
For his actions, the NCAA shut him out until at least 2015—but with his recent history, we say, "good luck getting a job then Dave!"
Jim Tressel, Former Ohio State Coach
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Aptly nicknamed "The Governor" for his stern but fair demeanor, Tressel's love for the Ohio State program actually cost him his job, while embarrassing the school.
After getting word of some of his (best) players receiving free tats from a known felon, he turned a cheek to things before the NCAA found out all about it.
Getting the alleged players to sign a "play and stay" contract by pledging they wouldn't leave after helping the Buckeyes win the 2011 Sugar Bowl, it was only the beginning for Tress.
He ended up resigning under pressure, leaving behind a ton of questions and mixed feelings for Buckeye fans.
Danny Almonte, Little League World Series Pitcher
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Remember this little guy—who actually wasn't that little at all?
He dominated the 2001 Little League World Series, and was the most talked about 12-year-old pitcher that anyone's ever seen after mowing fools down.
That was, of course, until a suspicious team got hold of his birth certificate and determined that he was actually 14 years old.
Rosie Ruiz, Marathon Runner
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Just competing in the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious accomplishments any runner can achieve in their life. So imagine the feeling of actually winning the damn thing.
Well in 1980, Rose Ruiz wanted to know.
So she registered for the race, hopped out of the crowd, and jumped on the train to travel around the city before crossing the finish line.
We're not sure what gave her away? The fact that she didn't look like a runner at all, or that not even all the train-hopping had her break a sweat?
Tim Donaghy, Former NBA Referee
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There's been a lot of stories about people betting on sports and trying to effect the outcomes, but as we've seen recently, the guys wearing the zebra-like shirts are the ones who have the ultimate say.
And thanks to Donaghy intentionally making calls that matched his bets, he prevented the Kings from a NBA Finals appearance in 2002, along with a ton of other fan headaches we're sure.
Hope he liked prison.
1919 Black Sox
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The 1919 Black Sox scandal is hands-down the biggest and most famous example of athletes trying to take matters into their own hands by fixing games.
Pitted against the Reds in the World Series, eight members of the Sox thought it would be a good idea to lay down in the series because they hated owner Charles Comiskey for being cheap.
Each player was banned from baseball for life, costing one of the greatest players of all-time, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, ineligibility for the Hall of Fame.