10 Sports Stories That Aren't Going Away for a While

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

10 Sports Stories That Aren't Going Away for a While

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Sometimes a story just won't seem to go away. Whether it be due to controversy, polarization or hilarity, some stories just always seem to find a way into our minds and subsequently onto our Twitter feeds. 

    In the sports world, there are dozens and dozens of stories that fit this mold. Stories that enrage us, intrigue us, amuse us and flat-out confuse us. 

    Here's a list of 10 stories that continue to capture our attention and tug at our emotions like a beautiful hair-metal power ballad. 

Honorable Mention: OJ Simpson and His Antics

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Time in the news: Approximately 20 years 

    I give Orenthal James Simpson the honorable mention because while he isn't currently making headlines, it's fair that to say he's one of the most infamous figures in sports history. 

    Whenever Simpson's name is mentioned, anyone over the age of 12 can see images of his white Ford Bronco cruising down a Los Angeles interstate, followed in suit by dozens of LAPD patrol cars. 

    Once a golden boy both on and off the football field, Simpson has become known in popular culture as "the guy who got away with it." But what can you say? The glove didn't fit!

    He's currently serving a prison sentence for a number of charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping. While it may be tough to make the headlines from a jail cell, we all know that Mr. Simpson is never far from the limelight. 

10. Mark Sanchez and the Butt Fumble

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    Time in the news: Since Thanksgiving night 2012

    Poor Mark Sanchez. 

    Is the "butt fumble" relevant? Is the "butt fumble" important? Should a career be defined by a "butt fumble?"

    No, no and no. 

    Yet former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will forever be defined, at least on the Internet, by the "butt fumble."

    In a nationally televised game against the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night in 2012, Sanchez ran into the behind of his own lineman, fell down and fumbled the football. New England's Steve Gregory recovered the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown. The Jets would go on to lose 49-19, and the "butt fumble" would go down in history. 

    Oh, poor, poor Mark Sanchez. 

9. Michael Vick and His Dog-Fighting Past

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Time in the news: Approximately seven years

    The off-field activities of athletes are sometimes unsavory. Sometimes these distasteful and often times illegal pursuits irk fans the wrong way. 

    For the most part, however, we live in a "forgive and forget" society. 

    That has not been the case for Michael Vick. 

    Despite standing trial, being convicted and serving jail time, Vick has still not been forgiven by a large swath of society. 

    His most recent offseason signing, with the New York Jets, drew protests from numerous animal rights groups such as the ASPCA and PETA. It all begs the question, is it time for Vick to be forgiven? 

    I don't have the answer to that, and if there's any lesson to take away from his saga, it's that you best not mess with man's best friend. 

8. Donald Sterling and His Racism

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Time in the news: Six days and counting...

    This is obviously the newest story on this list, and only time will tell if it hangs around or fizzles out. 

    For all those who just stepped out from the rock they've been living under, conversations released this past week between Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling and his girlfriend revealed some of Sterling's disgusting and racist views. 

    The NBA community as well as the majority of the country was understandably disturbed, and league commissioner Adam Silver did not go easy on Sterling—he banned him for life and fined him $2.5 million. 

    With a myriad of celebrities expressing interest in buying the Clippers and Silver announcing that he will do whatever he can to force a sale of the team, all signs point to this unfortunate story staying in the news for quite some time. 

7. Johnny Manziel's Maturity

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    Patric Schneider/Associated Press

    Time in the news: one-and-a-half years

    Following the 2012 college football season, then-Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became "Johnny Football." 

    After coming out of nowhere and putting together a remarkable Heisman Trophy campaign, Johnny Football became known not only for his riveting on-field playing style, but also for his behavior off the field. 

    Following numerous incidents where Manziel acted like a typical college student, analysts, pundits and fans alike began questioning his maturity and how it would affect his ability as an NFL quarterback. 

    Most likely, Manziel will mature like most young men, and his ego will slowly evaporate. It will take some time though before the media stops scrutinizing Manziel's every move. 

    As Bleacher Report's Jason Cole recently noted, Manziel's best move right now is to sit back and stay quiet. 

6. The Redskins' Name Debate

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    Time in the news: 25-plus years

    The controversy of the Washington Redskins' name may seem to some like a recent issue, yet certain organizations have been protesting the use of "Redskins" as a team name for decades. After Washington won Super Bowl XXII in 1988, the National Congress of American Indians held one of the first notable protests. 

    Recently, the controversy has gained steamed, thanks in large part to coverage in the mainstream media. 

    Since it seems as though Washington ownership is intent on keeping its team's name, this story should be here to stay. Just yesterday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid publicly called for the name to change. 

5. Tiger Woods' Pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' Major Record

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    Susan Walsh/Associated Press

    Time in the news: Since November 25, 2009

    Tiger Woods was on top of the world until a few years ago. He was the highest-paid athlete, the single most dominant golfer on the PGA Tour and happily married to a beautiful Swede named Elin Nordegren. 

    In the span of one November weekend in 2009, Woods' life unravelled before our eyes. As it became public knowledge that Woods had slept with everyone and their mothers, he was dropped by his sponsors, separated from his wife and entered a treatment program for sex addiction. 

    After an extended public absence, Woods returned to the links, but he has since struggled to regain his former dominance. Woods is still a brilliant golfer and had a fantastic 2013 campaign, yet he still sits four major victories back of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18. He hasn't won a golf major since capturing the 2008 U.S. Open. 

    Will Woods ever regain his golf mojo? Will he ever surpass Nicklaus' record? 

    This season is not off to a good start for him; he missed the 2014 Masters due to injury, and not surprisingly, ratings plummeted as a result.

4. Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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    M. Spencer Green/Associated Press

    Time in the news: About one year

    Should college athletes be paid? 

    This is a question that has plagued college sports, specifically college football, for some time now, but it has recently gained quite a bit of momentum thanks to the news that Northwestern University student athletes would be unionizing. 

    Both sides of this debate have reasonable points to make. 

    Sports certainly bring in large revenues for schools, and without the players, the fans and sponsors would not exist. Compensating the players for their time and sacrifice doesn't sound too far-fetched. 

    On the other hand, universities do already support their student-athletes in many ways. Oftentimes, certainly at large, D1 schools' athletes receive full scholarships that cover the costs of tuition and living expenses. As any of us "normal" college-educated folk can confirm, the price of gaining a higher education is not cheap. 

    This debate will go on for a very long while, as no quick action or decision is going to be made. Get ready for years of debates and squallers. 

    If it helps you make up your mind on this matter, however, student-athletes, if paid, would only spend their money on "weed and kicks." This is according to ESPN's Colin Cowherd (h/t Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari), anyway. 

    Maybe take that with a grain salt...

3. The MLB Steroid Scandal

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Time in the news: 11 years

    Baseball's problem with steroids dates back a few decades at this point, yet the "steroids era," as it has come to be known, began in 2003, when the BALCO scandal broke. 

    The Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) was a Bay Area firm that was found to have provided anabolic steroids to a number of high-profile MLB players. One of these players was Barry Bonds, who was chasing Hank Aaron's all-time home run record when the BALCO investigation began. 

    Bonds would go on to break the record, to the disdain of many MLB fans and analysts. His accomplishments as well as those of many of his contemporaries will forever be marked with an asterisk. 

    At this point, there's no doubt that Bonds and many, many other MLB superstars juiced their way to success. The question that remains, however, is how their careers will be remembered. 

    If Hall of Fame voters can answer this question, the answer is then not too favorably

2. Tim Tebow and Everything He Does

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Time in the news: Since 2006, B.T. (Before Tebow)

    Since his Florida Gator days, everything quarterback Tim Tebow has done has been up for debate in the sports community. 

    Whether it be his unconventional playing style, his future as an NFL quarterback or his outspoken religious ways, everyone has an opinion on Tebow, one of the most polarizing players in the history of sports. 

    If you don't love Tebow with all your heart, soul and conviction, then you hate him—or at least that's how the current logic plays out on Internet forums. 

    Long story short, Tebow is a tough player to define, and this drives us crazy. 

    Currently, Tebow is not on an NFL roster, yet at only 26 years old and with an incredible passion for this game, this is likely to change before long. 

    The good news and the bad news for Timmy? He will always have plenty of lovers...and plenty of haters. 

1. Lebron vs. Jordan

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Time in the news: Four years (since Lebron joined the Miami Heat—see: The Decision)

    There may be no more polarizing sports debate ever than that of Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan. 

    What makes this debate so fascinating is that these two NBA superstars aren't even contemporaries. Jordan is the undeniable "greatest player of all time," while King James is the player most likely to take over that title. 

    This debate is both intriguing and frustrating at the same time. While it's certainly fun to marvel at the skills of two of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, it's equally erroneous to constantly compare the stats of players from two different eras. 

    The Lebron vs. Jordan arguments aren't going anywhere until Lebron's career is said and done, and even then, with all accomplishments set in stone, I have no doubt that folks will keep with their unwavering opinions on who the better player really is. 

    The most recent buzz on the "rivalry:" Lebron dunked on the Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats and "stared down" MJ in the process. 

    God bless sports, everyone.