Foul Ball: The Biggest Controversies in Sports

Sports can be an emotional rollercoaster. Championship rings, in-game heroics, acts of superhuman athleticism — it’s the hope of these monumental achievements that keeps us tuning in every chance that we get. And as much as we’d like to claim that we enjoy sports for their own sake, that isn’t always the case.

Athletes do not live in a vacuum and sports stories aren’t always confined to the pitch, field, or court. Athletes, coaches, and even fans have been known to make some awful decisions in the past. Decisions that send journalists into a frenzy and transform fans into voyeuristic vultures.

Today’s list is full of cheaters, racists, and moral vagrants. It’s a list that’s peppered with tainted legacies, tragedy, and the odd brain-fart. Filthy Rich presents the 15 biggest controversies in the history of sport. And, luckily for you, the time that you used your foot to nudge your golf ball didn’t make the cut. Let’s go!

Lance Armstrong

From hero to zero. Well, sort of. Lance Armstrong is hardly a zero today, but he certainly isn’t sitting on the gold-plated bicycle seat throne anymore.

Armstrong’s ride to fame and fortune began back during 1995’s Tour de France. He’d go on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, earn multi-million-dollar endorsement deals, and even beat cancer. But as they say, the king wears no clothes. Armstrong’s kingdom came crashing down, culminating in a televised sit-down with Oprah where he admitted to extensive PED use throughout his career.

stock_photo_world / Shutterstock

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson used to be a transcendent, American-football Adonis. But, as he is no doubt painfully aware, athletic achievement often takes a back seat to controversy.

What OJ is most known for is the murders of his then ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, the subsequent trial, the shocking not-guilty verdict, and so, so much more. If you’re looking to dive deep on all that is OJ, I highly recommend the Academy Award winning documentary series OJ: Made in America.

Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

Deflategate

From murder of the first degree to… deflated balls. I know, sports can get weird sometimes.

Deflategate refers to the controversy surrounding the National Football League’s AFC Championship game that took place on January 18, 2015. The New England Patriots defeated the Colts in a rout, but that wasn’t the real story. The real story was that some of the footballs used during the game were (allegedly) deflated to give superstar QB Tom Brady an unfair advantage.

The snafu ended with a four-game suspension for Brady, a $1 million fine for the team, and a few surrendered draft picks. In protest, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock

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