France’s Thierry Henry has caused a huge controversy this week, aiding his team qualify to the World Cup after using his hand, intentionally (i think) with the ref not blowing his whistle, starting a huge outcry from the Irish and neutral fans for a replay of the game and to maybe start introducing something pretty common in other sports – letting the refs use the cameras and watch the replay. Never mind that, it’s a huge discussion for a different place and time, but as a warning to Henry, we remember some of those who shamed themselves and the sport they took part of –

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

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One minute you’re the Olympic gold medalist and a world record holder, the next – a disgrace. Johnson tested positive for Stanozolol and was disqualified three days later, with the gold medal going to Carl Lewis. Later on Johnson admitted he used steroids when he won the World Championship and set his previous world record in 1987. Johnson wasn’t the first and as we all know far from being the last to be caught doping, but  his case was at the biggest stage and highest profiled one. Although many other athletes who excelled at the 100 meter race were tested positive at some point in their careers, including Lewis, Johnson was the only one who was forced to give up his medals and records.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona

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To some, this goal, the hand of god goal, is pure delight, symbolizing some sort of justice for the Argentinians and revenge against the English for the Falklands War. To most, I hope, this is pure cheating and disgrace to soccer and to sport that so many people take pride in this goal. It’s one of those incidents that shows we need replays in soccer, it’s a proof to Al Bundy’s famous saying: “It’s only cheating if you get caught”.

1919 Chicago White Sox

Chicago Black Sox

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Some people say this even changed Baseball from a national pass time into a sport, killing the game’s innocence. You can say that about the last 20 years in Baseball, with news and evidence of players using steroids and who knows what else to improve their game keeps popping up, but the “Black Sox Scandal”, when eight players from the Chicago White Sox took money from Arnold Rothstein and intentionally lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. All eight of them were banned for life, with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson being the biggest star involved in the scandal. Despite admitting to accepting 5,000 dollars, Jackson recanted his confession and declared he was never part of the whole thing. Many other players and evidence dug up along the years cast doubt on Jackson’s involvement in the scandal.

Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy

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Maybe there’s more to this story, maybe not. Maybe Donaghy was just a “rogue”, as David Stern referred to him. Donaghy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information. The investigation regarding specific games in still ongoing, and he could face more jail time if found guilty in deliberately miscalling individual games. The game most people refer to is the 2002 Western Conference Final between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, with the Lakers getting 18 more free throw shots in the fourth quarter than the Kings. Did Donaghy do it, along with other officials? Was there an order from above to make the series go seven games and for the Lakers to win that one? I usually don’t buy into conspiracy theories, but I believe Donaghy didn’t act alone. There are more dirty refs in the league, and the league’s ivory tower isn’t exactly clean either.