I don't know if Albert Pujols has ever taken performance-enhancing drugs. Frankly, I don't care. The Steroid Era in baseball, which rather seamlessly morphed into the PED Era, has become so much more about defending one's innocence that it could ever be about actually, you know, being innocent.

Baseball moralists—many of whom consistently looked the other way as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were saving the sport in the 1990s yet seem to revel in the demise of today's cheaters with perverted delight—have a difficult conundrum on their hands: Should they believe Pujols when he defends his Hall of Fame-caliber career, or believe former St. Louis Cardinal All-Star Jack Clark, who recently accused Pujols of cheating?

Facts, in this particular drug allegation, are hard to come by. The only facts we know are that Clark went on his new radio show and accused Pujols of taking steroids early in his career, Pujols denied those claims, and Clark was removed from his radio job. That's the black and white in this story, with the rest, like everything in this era in Major League Baseball, swathed in a sea of gray.

Clark claimed that Chris Mihlfeld, a former trainer for Pujols, told Clark in 2000—when both worked in the Dodgers organization—that the trainer "shot Pujols up" with drugs earlier in his career. Clark said that he didn't know who Pujols was at the time, but Mihlfeld told him the slugger would soon be a star. Pujols debuted in the majors in 2001 and has been a star ever since.


For much of his first round at the 2013 PGA Championship, Tiger Woods didn't play poorly. In fact, if you only saw Woods off the tee or on the greens, there were times where he looked downright great. 

After carding a two-under 33 on his first nine—the back nine at Oak Hill as Woods began off the 10th tee on Thursday—the top-ranked golfer in the world struggled coming home to finish one over par, six strokes behind the leader at the time he finished his round.

After his double-bogey finish at the ninth hole, Woods "politely declined" to speak on camera with the television crew, but did talk with the assembled media following his round.

As Steve DiMeglio of USA Today noted, on his first nine Woods saved par from eight, four, three, four and five feet after missing the green in regulation, so the notion of Woods leaving the ball right where he wanted it may have been a bit rose colored. 


As long as there have been sports, there have been scandals surrounding the world's greatest athletes. Surely the ancient Greeks were no strangers to athletic opprobrium—the first Olympic Games were purportedly held in the nude—and today's sports often feel no different.

This list of some of the biggest scandals in modern sports is far from complete. It is difficult when compiling a chronology of malfeasance, corruption and deceit in sports to include absolutely everything without creating a list that, literally, could never end. At the time of this publication, there is a chance the reigning Heisman Trophy winner could be ruled ineligible by the NCAA and that may not even be the third biggest scandal this month. 

The list of scandals in the modern era of sports topples triple digits off the top of one's head, but we've tried to compile a representative list while acknowledging some other memorable scandals in each write-up along the way. We present them in chronological order.

Again, this list is not exhaustive. Sports are just too damn scandalous for that.


No organization, not even the omnipresent National Collegiate Athletic Association, should own a man's name. 

According to a report by ESPN's Darren Rovell and Justine Gubar, the NCAA is investigating reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for reportedly receiving a "five-figure flat fee" in exchange for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia.

The NCAA frowns upon student-athletes using their celebrity to make money, especially if it was obtained because of one's performance as a student-athlete. A Heisman Trophy winner can become famous for being college football's best player, but the NCAA will not allow him to make any money off that fame without giving up his ability to continue playing college football. 

The NCAA and its member institutions—the primary benefactors of a multi-billion-dollar industry—hold the rules of "amateurism" over every student-athlete, owning the rights to everything about them, including their name, until their eligibility is exhausted. 


Buyers or sellers?

As the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline approaches like a train barreling through a tunnel, teams have very little time to decide whether they are in the market to buy or sell. Or, for some, both.

For teams on the margins of the playoffs, being a buyer or seller has become midseason* lingo for whether or not a team considers itself a contender. Are you in it? Buy. Are you out? Sell. 

Only it's just not that easy anymore.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Hey, baseball fans! Did you know it's Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown? With names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling on the list of potential inductees for this year's Hall of Fame class, the weekend is certain to be one for the ages.

This year's Hall of Fame class includes...um, well…Hank O'Day and, uh, Jacob Ruppert and…Deacon White. It's a veritable who's who of Hall of Fame inductees, as in "who's getting into the Hall of Fame this year? Who?!"

Instead of spending the weekend reveling in the Hall of Fame speeches and talking about Bonds and Clemens and a host of players who were far and away the greatest of their generation, most baseball fans are ignoring the Hall of Fame entirely to talk more about…A-Rod.

Which got me thinking maybe Rodriguez, with a little help from Clemens, should open up his own Baseball Hall of Fame, where he can be enshrined after he retires, or is retired.


When I heard the news that Major League Baseball had finally suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun for using performance-enhancing drugs, forcing him to sit for the remainder of the 2013 season, my first reaction was, "Huh, that really sucks for the Brewers, I guess."

While some may feel a sense of accomplishment or an overwhelming feeling of karma catching up to a guy who cheated and defiantly lied about it time and again, I felt, "Huh." Apathy. 

My tenor has changed on this over the years. I used to be one of the people who would pound on a table when player needed to be exposed for cheating. "The truth has to come out, dammit."

I've long since resigned myself to the belief that players are always going to look for an edge, and it may be better for everyone if we all just sit back and let them find it.

Marc Serota/Getty Images

Ryan Braun cheated, lied and is paying the price for his baseball misdeeds.

Major League Baseball won its fight with Braun, and according to reports funneling out after the news of Braun's suspension for the remainder of the season, the suspension for Alex Rodriguez could be far worse.

Major League Baseball is sending a message to all its players with these landmark Biogenesis suspensions—which presents the question, why isn't MLB also sending a message to its teams?

If MLB really wants to clean up the game and eradicate performance-enhancing drugs from the league, Bud Selig and his coalition of narcs shouldn't just go after the cheaters. They would be wise to start punishing teams for harboring the cheaters.


Phil Mickelson never expected to win a British Open in his career. Even after he secured the Claret Jug on Sunday with a five-under 66 that he called "probably the best round of my career," Mickelson seemed surprised, in a way, at his own excellence. During the championship ceremony, he said:

Where does the British Open championship put Mickelson on the list of all-time greats? Suddenly, he's a lot closer to the top.

Two days ago, Mickelson was still already one of the greatest golfers of his era, sitting just inside the second cut—if you will—of the best players of all time. Phil had won four major titles and had collected a career's worth of second-place finishes, including six at the U.S. Open, a major he has yet to win. 

When Mickelson finished second in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion after holding the 54-hole lead, he told reporters that all he felt was "heartbreak." No one, not even Mickelson, thought his major championship redemption would have come so soon. 


Phil Mickelson is a sayer of sooths.

After the third round of the 2013 British Open, Mickelson sat down with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi and said he thought the champion would finish at even par, with one over par good enough to get into a playoff. Mickelson said if he could shoot a round in the 60s—he was four back at the time and finished the third round five off the lead—he would put himself in a position to win.

Rinaldi cackled at the absurdity of it all—not only that Mickelson could know the number he would need on Sunday to win the major championship no one—including Phil—ever thought he would win, but also that Mickelson knew the number before a dozen players had even finished their rounds for the day.

It turns out, he was right. Of course he was right.