The Biggest Sports Scandals Of The Past Decade
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The Biggest Sports Scandals Of The Past Decade


The 2010s provided the sports world with some
scandals we’d prefer to forget. Names like Aaron Hernandez and Oscar Pistorius
went down in infamy, and they weren’t the only ones who made headlines. Here are the biggest sports scandals of the
2010s. Even before the 2010s, experts had raised
concerns about brain injuries suffered by professional and amateur football players. Eventually, chronic traumatic encephalopathy,
or CTE, became part of the sports world’s active vocabulary. The issue was never as simple as football
being a dangerous pursuit. One doesn’t need to be a practicing physician
to understand that 300-pound men repeatedly ramming their heads into each other isn’t
great for staying healthy. Nevertheless, the NFL denied the truth as
it attempted to hide the concussion crisis hovering over the sport and the number of
former players likely suffering from CTE. The league was ultimately forced to pay out
hundreds of millions of dollars following a class-action lawsuit filed by ex-players,
although such settlements have been less than helpful for many former pros. The NFL has also taken measures to make the
game safer, including in-game penalties and post-game fines for players who hit opponents
high on their bodies. The league has also hired independent concussion
specialists to evaluate players suspected to have suffered head injuries during games. In September 2014, NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell placed Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy on the league’s commissioner’s
exempt list, after Hardy was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. The following February, charges were dismissed
after the alleged victim refused to cooperate in the criminal investigation. It was also reported that Hardy reached a
financial settlement with the woman who told police he threatened her life. Nevertheless, the NFL signed Hardy to a new
contract with the Dallas Cowboys. That November, Deadspin released photos of
injuries that the alleged victim claimed came from Hardy’s assault. Hardy’s tenure with the Cowboys lasted only
12 games, and he never again played in the NFL. Not to be outdone by the Cowboys and the NFL,
the UFC awarded Hardy with an opportunity to become a professional fighter in the spring
of 2018. He entered November 2019 with a record of
five wins, one loss, and one no contest. The Biogenesis scandal was a huge story that
rocked Major League Baseball throughout the 2010s. As the story goes, a man named Anthony Bosch
operated a clinic that reportedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to at least 20
players. After his operation was shut down following
his arrest, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years behind bars, a sentence that
was ultimately reduced. The biggest name linked with Biogenesis was
New York Yankees superstar slugger Alex Rodriguez, who repeatedly denied purposely using PEDs. “For the record, have you ever used steroids,
human growth hormone, or any other performance-enhancing substance?” “No.” In November 2014, however, the Miami Herald
reported that Rodriguez, who had spent the entire previous MLB season suspended from
the game, confirmed that he purchased and used products from the Biogenesis clinic. History suggests that Rodriguez would’ve been
better off admitting his crimes right away, as baseball fans have repeatedly forgiven
players linked with steroids and other PEDs. But considering his many denials, A-Rod might
be waiting a long time for a call from the Hall of Fame once he becomes eligible in 2022. In March 2012, the NFL announced that over
a dozen New Orleans Saints players and at least one coach were involved in a system
that paid players for knocking opposing athletes out of games from 2009 through 2011. Fans who watch football understand that a
linebacker who crushes a wide receiver attempting to catch a pass over the middle is probably
looking to do more than force an incompletion. But such bounties are frowned upon by the
league. Thus, multiple players and coaches, including
defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and head coach Sean Payton, received suspensions. Payton’s punishment was so severe that he
was banned for the entire 2012 season. It’s worth noting that the bans handed down
to the players were lifted in December 2012. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, tasked
with handling the player appeals, explained, “My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell’s
findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated
by the coaches and others in the Saints’ organization.” Meanwhile, Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton
called for Gregg Williams to be banned from the NFL in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street
Journal. But Tarkenton and those who agreed with him
didn’t receive their wish, as Williams bounced around the league throughout the remainder
of the decade. He was the interim head coach for the Cleveland
Browns in 2018, and he spent 2019 as defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. In June 2014, San Francisco 49ers quarterback
Colin Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension with the team. Two years later, he was seen sitting during
the rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a preseason game. He later explained, “I am not going to stand up to show pride
in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it
would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” “Ultimately, it’s to bring awareness and make
people, you know, realize what’s really going on in this country.” Similar acts of silent protest were repeated
by Kaepernick and other NFL players that season, as well as by other athletes in other sports. They became polarizing figures, and some fans
even chose to boycott the league because they believed millionaire pro athletes were disrespecting
the national anthem. In March 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his
deal and became a free agent. No team brought him in for a workout that
off-season. He remained a free agent through 2018 and
2019. Writers for such outlets as The Washington
Post, The Guardian, The Undefeated, and Pro Football Talk all believed that NFL owners
had essentially blackballed him as teams in need of signal-callers repeatedly signed lesser
options. Kaepernick’s detractors, however, claimed
that he wasn’t good enough and wasn’t worth whatever fan backlash his joining a team would
cause. From 1981 through 2014, real estate mogul
Donald Sterling served as owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout his tenure, he was accused of multiple
acts of discrimination. In 2009, he agreed to pay nearly $3 million
following a lawsuit over his alleged refusal to rent apartments he owned to several groups. He was also twice involved in harassment lawsuits. He settled one in 1998, and a different accuser
lost her suit in 2004. But none of those incidents led to Sterling’s
downfall. Instead, racist comments he made that were
recorded without his knowledge and published by TMZ in April 2014 resulted in Clippers
players and coaches nearly boycotting a playoff game. Soon after Sterling’s remarks went public,
the NBA banned him for life. “Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling
for life.” It was later ruled that Sterling was mentally
unfit to make decisions related to his family’s trust, which prevented him from blocking the
sale of the Clippers. In March 2016, his lawsuit against the league
and four individuals, including his wife Shelly, was dismissed. While few, if any, cried for Sterling after
the matter, various commentators pointed out that his situation also brought up serious
questions about privacy. For 11 months out of any given year, American
sports fans couldn’t have cared less about competitive cycling. But when Lance Armstrong raced in the Tour
de France from 1999 to 2005, cycling was America’s sport. Armstrong won the event’s title all seven
of those years, but accusations of wrongdoing and performance-enhancing drug use dogged
him after each victory. His fans claimed that everyone was jealous
that Armstrong, a cancer survivor who established what became known as the Livestrong Foundation,
was the best cyclist on the planet. They scoffed at each new allegation that emerged. But in 2012, the United States Anti-Doping
Agency confirmed that Armstrong’s team ran, quote, “the most sophisticated, professionalized,
and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” The USADA also stripped Armstrong of his seven
titles and banned him from the sport for life. In 2013, he admitted that he’d spent years
lying and cheating. He also bullied those who dared to suggest
he wasn’t clean. While speaking with Oprah Winfrey, he detailed
the PED cocktail he used during his championship runs. “In all seven of your Tour de France victories,
did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?” “Yes.” In 2018, Armstrong agreed to settle a lawsuit
by paying nearly $7 million in damages. In the worst-case scenario, though, he could’ve
been on the hook for $100 million, leading some to suggest he’d once again gotten away
with being a fraud. In sports competitions, top-tier athletes
receive what fans refer to as “superstar calls” from referees. No fighter in UFC history has received more
superstar treatment than Jon “Bones” Jones during the 2010s. Physically speaking, Jones is the greatest
fighter in UFC history. In his prime, his speed, length, agility,
and strength made him an unbeatable force, other than when he defeated himself. He was his own worst enemy throughout the
decade. He spent one day in rehab after he tested
positive for cocaine. The UFC suspended him and stripped him of
his championship in April 2015 due to his involvement in a hit-and-run case. And he’s also received multiple punishments
for violating the UFC’s anti-drug policy. In October 2019, he pleaded no contest to
disorderly conduct. There’s no reason to believe that the UFC
will ever care about what Jones does as long as he’s eligible to brawl. The company moved an entire fight card from
Las Vegas to California a week ahead of time after an atypical finding of a drug test submitted
by Jones caused a licensing conflict in Las Vegas. These moves didn’t come without criticism. The Wrestling Observer, among other outlets,
repeatedly called out the UFC and the USADA for allowing Jones to compete with trace amounts
of steroid metabolite found in his blood. So much about the “Deflategate” scandal appeared
ridiculous well after the fact. The core of the matter was that New England
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had allegedly used deflated footballs to help defeat the
Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game. In May 2015, the NFL suspended Brady and also
stripped the Patriots of draft picks. That, of course, was only the beginning of
the circus. Patriots owner Robert Kraft began a public
feud with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady appealed his ban and ended up playing
for the entire 2015 season. Eventually, however, the quarterback caved
and accepted the four-game suspension in July 2016, 544 days after New England’s win over
Indianapolis. As was often the case during the 2010s, Brady,
Kraft, and the Patriots enjoyed the last laugh. In 2017, New England emerged as the victors
of the AFC playoffs and booked a date with the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. Brady and the Patriots rallied back from a
28-3 deficit in that game to force overtime, and a short James White touchdown rush in
the extra period secured the title for the NFL’s reigning dynasty. There was always only one fitting conclusion
to Deflategate: Tom Brady winning Super Bowl MVP again. On October 4th, 2019, as NBA teams were embarking
on a preseason tour in China, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted the message, “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” As many predicted at the time that tweet went
public, Morey’s message didn’t sit well with the Chinese Basketball Association and certain
Chinese officials. Morey apologized a couple of days later, which
infuriated American fans who believed that he caved under the pressure of an organization
that was putting profits over human rights. Lakers superstar LeBron James made matters
worse for the NBA when he suggested that Morey had offered a, quote, “misinformed” take on
the China-Hong Kong matter. James’ message was poorly received by many
observers who saw him as a coward and a hypocrite, and as somebody willing to make bold political
statements only so long as doing so didn’t negatively affect his brand or the NBA. Meanwhile, some prominent figures came out
in support of Morey, including Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal. “Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on
anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘That’s not right.’ And that’s what he did.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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24 Comments

  • FlamQ Dbltap

    I got so sick of my family talking about Lance Armstrong that I was actually delighted when he turned out to be a phony son of a bitch. A couple of the fools in the family we’re dumb enough to say well everybody was doing it. Well then everybody was cheating. It’s not cool.

  • Mike Battista

    Literally in every one of those tour de frances they had to go to like the 7th or 8th person to find a person who DIDNT test positive for drugs haha all of em did it, lance was just better than the other druggies, so it was a clear & equal playing field. Hes a champ in my eyes & i could give a shit about cycling haha.

  • T Michael

    I never understood the Saints bounty scandal, that why we play defense, to blow the opponent tf up and get him out of there!!! And if I get rewarded for it so be it 🤷🏾‍♂️

  • Calvin Peters

    Jon Jones literally spent the entire decade in his prime other than getting into a hit and run with a pregnant lady and roiding tf up

  • Dylan J

    Coleen Kaepernick.If America is such a racist place,how is it you a black man,playing in a league owned by rich elitist white men,is able to be one of the richest people in the country?!

  • jeff chase

    Its football horse shit bunch of bitches..making money sewing people because of this world of sensitively humm that's what people do now !!!

  • Captain Marvel's Son

    The Kaepernick "scandal" infuriated me (and still does to some degree.) I understand fighting for what you believe in, but there is time and place for such things, and that was not it. Even respecting his position, I feel the consequences were exactly what he deserves since it is the very people he criticizes that gave him his well-paid lifestyle.

  • mario_maniac 93

    Fuck Kaepernick he sits for injustice of America but dictator Fidel Castro died he wore a shirt to memorialize him a brutal dictator who punished and killed millions

  • Matthew Haverkamp

    Kapernick was no longer a good quarterback. Besides, professional sports teams do not like media circuses. No matter what kind of publicity is comming from them. Its a distraction.

  • paintBallprepperTMV AwomanIsAntichrist

    Neal armstrong never cheated ! The patriots player and coach should be fire they just cheat again.

  • Steve Miner

    Plus lance promoted the sport in America greatly. He helped cancer patients with his live strong program. He did a lot of good too

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