Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Counting down 2007: A year of Scandal

Here are my top 7 sports scandals in 2007 counted down from 7 to 1.

7. Marion Jones' Fall from Grace
In October, seven years after winning a record five Olympic track and field medals at the Sydney Games, and after years of passionately denying that she had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, Marion Jones pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about her use of steroids. The spectacular fall from grace by the woman who was the golden girl of the Sydney Olympics culminated in the return of the five medals she won at those Games. Jones will be sentenced in Jan. 11.

6. Sean Taylor Murdered in His Home
Just as 2007 began with the grim news of an NFL player cut down in his prime (Darrent Williams), so did the year end. In early December, football mourned the loss of Washington Redskins standout safety Sean Taylor, who was shot and killed in his Miami home by armed intruders whose apparent motive was robbery. Taylor, the father of a baby girl, was only 24. This came as a shock to the league and a team who was/is in the heat of the playoff hunt. Taylor was winning the probowl race at his position and just this week was announced as the winner of the starting spot. He left a family and a game, and he had so much left to give to both.

5. Barry Bonds Indicted
Barry Bonds became baseball's all-time home run king on Aug. 7, when he passed Hank Aaron by hitting career home run number 756. The record is considered tainted by myself along with many in the game who believe Bonds used steroids. On Nov. 16 the slugger was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying to a federal jury about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Dec. 7 and remains the face of baseball's ongoing steroids investigation.

4. Mike Vick Goes Down for Dogfighting
In one of the ugliest episodes of a crime-ridden year for the NFL, Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was exposed for his role in a dogfighting operation. Vick pleaded guilty to federal felony dogfighting charges and started serving his sentence in November. Vick could also be tried in Virginia on state-level felony charges. His football career is definitely in jeopardy.

3. NBA Gambling Scandal
When NBA referee Tim Donaghy was exposed for betting on games and providing confidential information to others, league commissioner David Stern called the crisis the "worst situation" he'd experienced in basketball. Donaghy pleaded guilty in August to two felony charges. The whole situation was a well-publicized mess and gave sportsfans just another turnoff to the NBA.

2. Spygate
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was apparently breaking NFL rules by videotaping signals that New York Jets' coaches relayed to their players during a Sept. 9 showdown in the Meadowlands. The incident, dubbed "Spygate," led to the Patriots being stripped of a first-round draft pick and a $500,000 fine for Belichick. The Patriots are definately a dynasty, but is the team's reputation now tarnished? I say yes, but it depends on who you ask.

1. The Mitchell Report
Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada,Andy Pettitte, and Eric Gagne, amongst many others, were named in the long-awaited Mitchell Report on Dec. 13, 2007. It was largely an All-Star roster linked to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs that put a question mark, if not an asterisk, next to some of baseball's biggest players and moments. We have still yet to see or hear what reprecussions will come of the report. However, I personally feel it is a step in the right direction for upholding the integrity of the game.

1 comment:

stephen a said...

I would argue Vick committing a federal offense would be the #1 scandal. It's not like he just cheated in a sport or something, he maimed defenseless animals for sport.