Top 25 Most Corrupt And Scandalous People And Events In Sports
Every year, Cooperstown adds another class of MLB superstars to its ranks.
Every year, baseball's hit king never gets in.
Pete Rose's name is never far apart from the word "corruption." While his betting scandals occurred many years ago, he can still not manage to get off the blacklist and into the Hall.
But could he be the most corrupt athlete of all?
Sports have always been mired down with detestable behavior. No sport is safe from these dishonorable athletes, as history has seen some of the most downright ridiculous scandals ever.
Before we start, we are using the Mac Dictionary definition for corrupt:
"Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain."
Now, let's get evil.
25. Pete Carroll and USC
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The Seattle Seahawks coach has developed quite the list of accomplishments.
Not sure what the antonym for accomplishments is, but please plug it in accordingly.
Pete Carroll claimed to have no idea about the Reggie Bush happenings while at USC. His fun, upbeat attitude got players to come to Southern California and represent the men of Troy.
However, right before the investigation hit, Carroll jolted the sun of Los Angeles for the rain of Seattle, which can't be a coincidence, right?
Would he really have stuck around for some of the worst sanctions in NCAA football history?
24. Ramón Quiroga
No one actually convicted Quiroga of corruption and match-fixing.
But with this type of evidence, he should be on the lam.
In the 1978 FIFA World Cup, Argentina, which had scored only six goals in its last five games, had to win by four goals over Peru, which had only allowed six goals in its last five, to advance. Seems impossible, right?
Argentina annihilated Peru, 6-0.
The Evidence: Quiroga was actually born in Argentina and Peru was vitally reliant on Argentina for grain shipments.
Example A of how soccer reshapes the world.
23. Russian Judges in Salt Lake
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It's one thing to be corrupt on your own.
It's another to drag another country down with you.
Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze won the gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but only due to a vote trading scheme concocted by the Russian and French judges.
Strangely, even after the IOC uncovered the ploy, the Russians got to keep their medals. However, they got a horrific punishment tacked on.
They had to share the gold with Canada.
22. Boris Onischenko
Coming into the 1976 Modern Pentathlon, Onischenko was favored to take home more glory for his homeland of Russia.
With Russia in fourth place going into the second event, fencing, they hoped Onischenko could defeat the Brits, who were in third. During the bout with British captain Jim Fox, Onischenko's buzzer sounded without touching anything.
Oops! His suit had been rigged so the grip could trigger the noise without touching the opponent.
For some reason, however, the match continued with a normal épée and Onischenko still won.
Then, the Soviets got tossed.
21. Barry Switzer
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Barry Switzer resigned from his post as Oklahoma's head coach more than 20 years ago to the surprise of many Sooner faithful.
However, the trail of misfortune that hit the school after his departure should explain it all.
Players under Switzer had accusations ranging from rape, to shooting, to selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent. The various felonies gave the Sooners three years probation, but paralyzed the program for more than a decade.
Switzer still hasn't admitted to any wrongdoing. He says the players are at fault.
Just goes to show some people go senile way too early.
20. Frederick Lorz
The year is 1904 and the United States must have been so excited to host the Summer Olympics.
Lorz, an American, did something that I can't imagine crosses many people's minds anymore in the Olympics. After stopping due to exhaustion after nine miles, he hopped in his coaches' car and drove the next 11 until the car broke down.
Did he really not think people would notice that it wasn't him, but a car running down the streets of St. Louis?
Sure, pictures in those days were fuzzy, but no one is mistaking that double comb-over for the chassis of a Ford.
19. John Calipari
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Calipari just seems to leave a wake of trouble where ever he goes.
Similar to the Exxon Valdez, including the oil spilling off his coiffed 'do.
Please note some of his sleazy track record:
- Marcus Camby, his player at UMass, received money and gifts from an agent.
- He gave prized recruit Dajuan Wagner's father a job with no experience.
- Ex-Memphis star Derrick Rose was ruled ineligible due to misconduct on the SAT.
- Ex-Kentucky player Eric Bledsoe was investigated for academic fraud.
Shockingly, some people think Coach Cal had nothing to do with any of it.
18. Pete Rose
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What's there left to be said about the dishonored legend?
A 1989 investigation determined that Rose had gambled on the Cincinnati Reds, the team he managed, during the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons. He received a lifetime ban from baseball and the glory of Cooperstown.
He eventually admitted to betting on his squad nightly, and must now suffer by signing autographs in Vegas to make money.
The worst way for a gambler to go.
17. Hansie Cronje
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For those readers at home who love following people who are Christian role models, don't pick this guy.
In fact, don't pick this guy for anything. He's just scary looking.
On April 8, 2000, the former cricketer claimed allegations against him fixing matches were entirely false. On April 11, he admitted to "forecasting" results, but not match-fixing.
That phrase is from Euphemisms For Dummies.
Surprisingly, that was the tip of the iceberg. Evidence revealed Cronje had accepted many a bribe throughout his career, which eventually led to his permanent ban from cricket.
Which, in the U.S., might be a reward for some.
16. Sammy Sosa
The former baseball player and current Michael Jackson impersonator is lucky to get his own recognition.
Actually, in his case, luck's got nothing to do with it.
Obviously, Sosa's flirtation with steroids will be what everyone remembers. Appearing in Congress and pretending that he didn't speak English just sweetened the deal.
Oh, and did anyone forget about his corked bat? He's not one for subtle corruption.
And, according to that picture, he's cheating skin color too.
15. Olympique De Marseille
Can you picture the Miami Heat getting caught in a collusion scandal after winning a title, having to hand it back, and being forced to play in the NBDL?
One can only hope.
Olympique de Marseille, however, made it possible. In 1993, they defeated AC Milan to become the first French squad to win the UEFA Champions League, which any soccer fan can tell you is a huge deal.
However, they only managed it because of bribes paid to Valenciennes, their opponent the week before, so Valenciennes would play easy and allow Olympique to rest.
Yeah, that seems like something that no one would ever come clean about.
14. Rosie Ruiz
Rosie Ruiz has a similar track record to Frederick Lorz, but her stupidity takes it up a notch.
Not in the good Emeril Lagasse way.
During the 1980 Boston Marathon, Ruiz appeared to set the women's record time of two hours and 31 minutes. However, she did not appear sweaty or fatigued when crossing the finish line.
Maybe because she had actually taken the subway to the final half-mile of the race and easily won from there.
Seriously, if you are going to cheat, at least make it realistic. Just make sure your metro pass isn't sticking out.
13. The 1951 CCNY Basketball Team
For all you sticklers out there, I will admit the picture is actually of the team a year before the scandal.
Sorry, pictures of Nat Holman's Beavers are about as common as a Clippers playoff win.
The CCNY basketball team found itself of the middle of one of the biggest crime rings in New York. They were the most prominent of six schools that took payments to not cover point spreads.
The punishment for the team? Nearly nothing.
Only New York City really lost anything, as the NCAA tournament didn't return to NYC for 45 years and the city lost its reputation as the country's basketball center.
12. Floyd Landis
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The only thing worse than someone who cheats is someone who cheats and tries to bring others down with him.
Then there's Floyd Landis.
The cyclist admitted, after an unsuccessful four-year lawsuit, that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during the majority of his career.
He used everything: EPO, HGH, testosterone, estrogen and blood transfusions were normally just his breakfast.
I hear he put them on his eggs.
However, what irks the sports world the most is how he tried to take down Lance Armstrong. He couldn't stand seeing someone else win, so he tried to tarnish the champion's name.
11. East Germany
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Yes, many people aren't fans of the Germans already.
Now, sports fans can join the group.
After closing its gates to the sporting world in 1965, East Germany began a regulated doping program for it's athletes. For more than 20 years, the country systematically gave its athletes performance enhancers so they could dominate international competition.
Essentially, the MLB's predecessor.
Please, don't post "Bud Selig & Hitler" comparisons. Although it would make a good sitcom.
10. Tim Donaghy
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Sacramento Kings fans must like this guy about as much as genital warts.
In 2007, news hit that Donaghy had intentionally miscalled and altered games, bet on games he refereed, and provided gamblers with information regarding how each "game" would "end."
That constitutes the trifecta: hurting people you work with, people you have fun with, and eventually hurting your family when your butt goes off to jail.
9. Clem Haskins
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Coach Haskins led his Minnesota Golden Gophers to a Final Four and more than 30 wins one season.
Congrats. Too bad no one will remember him for that.
Haskins took center stage in one of NCAA basketball's biggest scandals. He generously paid a school manager to write nearly 400 pieces of class work for his basketball players between 1994 and 1998.
His "work" paid off for him: he received $1.5 million in a buyout settlement.
On the other hand, Minnesota had to forfeit wins from five postseasons and was placed on probation. Not exactly a win-win.
8. Barry Bonds And The Whole Steroid Gang
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Major League Baseball's steroid scandal is beyond well known at this point.
In fact, the only thing bigger than this news is Barry Bonds' head.
However, the reason Bonds gets the prominent placement here is because he has tarnished the record books. Two of the coolest records ever, most home runs in a season and career, are held by the clearly ineligible slugger.
No, that doesn't mean their should be an asterisk next to each record in the Hall of Fame.
They should just be erased.
7. Mark Gerard
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His name may not be known in common conversation, but this is one bad man.
Gerard brought two horses that looked very similar, Lebon, an average steed, and Cinzano, an Uruguayan champion, to the states in 1977. Sadly, shortly after their arrival, Cinzano passed on.
Or did he? Turns out, Lebon actually died, but Gerard told Belmont Park Cinzano was the worse horse, who had 57-1 odds to win. Gerard put the house on "Lebon" and won more than $80,000 to go along with the $150,000 insurance payment check he received from "Cinzano's" death.
He did eventually get caught, but if he killed Lebon just for some cash, he's seriously messed up.
6. The 2000 Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
This corruption defines the phrase "messed up."
Spain's basketball team took home the gold medal in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. Everything looked good until Carlos Ribagorda, an undercover journalist, decided to reveal some huge news.
Oh, did I mention Ribagorda was on the team?
That's right, Spain rigged a handicapped event. Ten of its 12 players, including Ribagorda, had no disability, and the coaching staff had encouraged players to act stupid, according to Ribagorda.
There is nothing right about this.
5. Tonya Harding
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Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan took the 1994 Winter Olympics by storm.
Harding's hitmen tried to do the same to Kerrigan's knee.
Harding and her husband hired thugs to "take care of" Kerrigan's knee, her biggest threat to taking home the gold. She wanted the figure skating title. by any means necessary
She wound up winning a permanent ban from figure skating, a huge fine and three years probation.
Oh, and no gold. Ukraine won.
4. Alan Eagleson
Not too often does one man affect three separate decades of players.
And Joe Paterno's look.
Eagleson, an agent, not only colluded with team owners so his players would get better deals, but also embezzled money from the Canada Cup and NHL players' pension funds. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud of $700,000.
However, many believe his influence on the league has played a major role in stifling its growth since then.
Although, Barry Melrose's mullet might have had a bigger impact.
3. The 1988 Seoul Olympics 100 Meters Final
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When eight people run a race, and five are disqualified, what should it leave you with?
Carl Lewis (1st), Linford Christie (2nd), Dennis Mitchell (4th), Desai Williams (6th) and Ben Johnson (disqualified) all ended up testing positive for some illegal substance. The 1988 100-meter final can be classified as the most corrupt single race ever.
Sadly, the correct athletes have not received their medals.
Calvin Smith should trade his bronze for the gold, and Ray Stewart and Robson Silva should fill out the podium.
2. Chicago Black Sox
In 1919, times were hard, and making a quick buck seemed like a great idea.
However, for the Chicago White Sox, it turned out to be the worst thought ever.
First basemen Chuck Gandil got a bunch of his teammates together and planned to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. After conspiring with professional gamblers, two of the Sox, Eddie Cicotte and Claude Williams, managed to lose all five games necessary to throw the series.
All eight of the gentlemen were banned for life from baseball, and not one of them has a cool picture to remember it by.
Well except maybe the guy with the hideous turtleneck.
1. Renault F1
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Another little known event that people who love corruption should know about.
Probably because it happened in a sport no one in the U.S. really watches.
Nelson Piquet Jr., a driver for the Renault F1 team, appeared to be crushing the competition at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September 2008. Then, he did something insane.
He crushed himself. On purpose.
The Renault team ordered Piquet Jr. to crash on purpose and give Fernando Alonso the victory. Not only is this corrupt, but it's the only lethal act on this list.
That's why it's the top dog.