The thrills of sports action can leave a lasting mark of the psyche of fans, yet the controversies can also leave an indelible imprint. That’s because the repercussions that resonate from the events take place can help change the course of the sport.
Below are the five biggest sports controversies in history:
Steroid Use in Baseball
The issue of steroids in baseball had a titanic impact on the sport’s record books. Most notably, the single-season record of 61 home runs by Roger Maris was surpassed six times during a four-year span from 1998 to 2001.
The two new record-holders in that area, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds would eventually be ostracized for their steroid use, even though their use wasn’t banned. Their success served as a role model for many, with steroids still being marketed to individuals who ignore their potential side effects and the enhancement of strength that steroids bring to the game.
Concussions and the NFL
Concussions are something that happen on and off the football field and through for years, teams kept playing affected athletes. That vulnerability eventually led to countless retired players suffering cases of dementia or committing suicide from mental problems related to head trauma stemming from concussions.
The NFL blithely ignored their part in this situation, until steep litigation and overwhelming clinical evidence showed a link. A change in the making of helmets, fewer practices and greater awareness of this problem have been the byproduct of this metamorphosis.
A Blind Eye at Penn State
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sent to prison for child molestation, forever tainting the school’s reputation. Individuals who had been molested by Sandusky came forward, saying that school officials, including former head coach Joe Paterno, ignored the problem and did not alert the proper authorities or take the proper legal action.
Sandusky was never fired, though other schools have been aware of his reputation and his criminal actions. The reputation of the school is forever tainted and the reputation of revered coach Joe Paterno was also tarnished. Despite being years ago, many are still critical of Penn State because the proper measures were not taken to assure the safety and well being of the victims who came forward.
Point Shaving at CCNY
College basketball has had many scandals, yet this was the first related to gambling to capture people’s attention. In 1951, seven schools and over 30 players were implicated in a plot to fix games by making it easier for gamblers to beat the game’s pointspread, known as shaving points.
CCNY had won both the NCAA and NIT titles in 1950, yet the aftermath of the scandal saw their program essentially disappear, while Kentucky’s legendary program was shut down for an entire year in 1952.
Boxing and Ring Magazine
In 1977, ABC and Ring Magazine got together to present the United States Boxing Championships. Promoted by Don King, the effort was to try and find the best fighters in each weight class.
However, Ring Magazine was found to have falsified records of at least 11 boxers. Such artificial improvements allowed them to compete, but when the scandal was uncovered, ABC cancelled the deal. Despite his influence with the magazine, Don King came out unscathed and went on to decades of more questionable activities.