As Pakistani cricketers Mohammed Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt find themselves convicted of spot fixing in a test match against England last year, it makes me wonder: who are the real villains of sport?
There is obviously a huge field to choose from, the history of sport is littered with shady characters, dirty deals and outright naughtiness.
Few sports have managed to avoid a scandal or two over their time – I didn’t investigate lawn bowls but I have personally seen the cut-throat politics behind it.
So here, for your delectation, are the 5 most salubrious, notorious and infamous scandals from the world of sport, complete with the corrupt, ignorant or downright stupid perpetrators!
5. Extra-curricular activities
It’s a broad category but the things they get up to range from the England rugby team’s presence in a bar that advertised ‘midget throwing’ to Plaxico Burress, New York Giants‘ wide receiver, shooting himself in the leg in a nightclub. These titans of the field forget that the one thing the public likes more than a sporting victory is a good, juicy scandal.
It unites fans of every team, across national boundaries and even links to those who aren’t interested in the sport! Extra-curricular scandals include excessive drunkenness, diving off ships and the improper use of social media.
4 . Drugs
There are a number of big culprits. Martina Hingis, Diego Maradonna, Shane Warne, Dwain Chambers and Marco Pantani show that drugs abuse spans a huge range of sports. They give an unfair advantage and create an unhealthy atmosphere within sports. The only thing worse than taking the drugs are the excuses that are generated – whether you claim your mum gave it to you as a weight loss pill, whether you insist that your blood is lying, whether you claim you could have picked up the substance through your habit of eating 300 apples a day it doesn’t matter.
You are for the chop. Governing bodies hand out some strict penalties, your teammates and fans turn against you and you find yourself having to go and create a career haunted by the words “wasn’t that the guy who took”. Just say no.
Join us tomorrow for more sporting scandals which shocked the world.
Images courtesy of Plaxico Burress and Martina Hingis