Top 10 Sports Scandals From Around The World

Updated on 31 Mar, 2018 at 4:40 pm


The world is full of scandals, be it in politics, business, entertainment, sports, perhaps in almost every field. Here in this post, we bring the top 10 sports scandals from around the world.

1. Spanish Paralympic basketball team, 2000

The 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney saw Spain defeating Russia in the intellectual disability basketball tournament. Soon after the games, it was discovered that 10 out of 12 athletes on the winning team were not actually disabled. Spain was stripped of its gold medal and it was later discovered that The Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports had a deliberate role in the controversy.

2. Albert Belle’s corked bat, 1994

On July 15, 1994, when White Sox manager Gene Lamont expressed his suspicion over Albert Belle’s bat being corked, it resulted in its confiscation by umpire Dave Phillips. The magnanimity of the scandal reached greater highs when it was found that Belle sent teammate Jason Grimsley through the building’s ceiling panel to break into the umpires’ locker room to replace his corked bat with another one which apparently was signed by Paul Sorrento, resulting in a seven-game suspension for Belle.



3. Tim Donaghy gambling scandal, 2007

In the summer of 2007, an FBI investigation brought to light the case of the NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who bet on games he officiated to manipulate the point spread and win his wagers. It was later revealed that Donaghy, who has a gambling problem, placed tens of thousands of dollars worth of bets on games during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 NBA season and had been approached by lower level mob associates to work on a gambling scene. Donaghy went on to say that he was not the only NBA referee involved in such activities.


4. The Kobe Bryant sexual assault case, 2003

In 2003, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was arrested in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint by a 19-year old hotel employee. Bryant had been staying in the hotel in preparation for a knee surgery. Charges were dropped after the woman refused to testify and a civil suit was settled out of court. Bryant later admitted to having been involved in a consensual sexual relationship with the woman.


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5. New England Patriots “Spygate” 2007

In the 2007 National Football League, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was accused by the Jets of authorizing his staff to film the Jets’ defensive signals from a sideline location, an act deemed by the NFL to be in violation of the league rules. As a result, Belichick was fined $500,000, while the Patriots were also fined $250,000 and forfeited their first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.


6. Mike Tyson biting Holyfield’s ear, 1997

On June 28, 1997, the highly anticipated rematch dubbed as ” The Sound and The Fury” between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield took place. The fight had to be stopped at the end of the third round and Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield on both ears. The second bite was severe enough to remove a piece of Holyfield’s right ear, which was later found on the floor of the ring. Tyson later stated that it was in retaliation to Holyfield’s constant headbutting him without penalty. Holyfield won the match.


7. Pete Rose betting scandal, 1989

In 1989, Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader and Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose accepted a voluntary lifetime ban from baseball while pleading not guilty, following the accusation of his involvement in the gambling on baseball games. This compromise had a provision that the Major League Baseball will make no formal finding regarding the allegations against him and would cease their investigation. He has since admitted to having bet on the game and has applied for reinstatement to the game but remains banned. This also has prevented his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


8. The Kerrigan attack, 1994

On January 6, 1994, at a practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Shane Stant, who was hired by Figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband for the attack, struck Harding’s competitor Nancy Kerrigan on the knee. Harding won that event while Kerrigan’s injury forced her withdrawal. After Harding admitted to having helped cover up the attack, the USFSA and United States Olympics Committee initiated proceedings to remove her from the 1994 Olympic team. Harding, however, maintained her place after threatening legal action. She was placed eighth to Kerrigan’s second. Later on further investigation, the USFSA found evidence towards Harding’s pre-knowledge of the attack and banned her from all future USFSA-run events.


9. Ben Johnson, 1988

At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson beat his American rival Carl Lewis in the 100 meter final, lowering his own record to 9.79 seconds. He was however forced to relinquish his medal when his urine samples suggested traces of steroid, stanozolol. When he admitted to having used steroids for his 1987 record sprint, the IAAF stripped him of that record as well. Carl Lewis won gold for that race.


10. The Black Sox scandal, 1919

During the 1919 World Series, eight players from the Chicago White Sox (nicknamed the Black Sox) were found guilty of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite being acquitted of criminal charges, the eight players were banned from organized baseball for life, including the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. The event went on to become the subject of the book and movie “Eight Men Out “.


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