Sports do a lot of good for a person and their community. For an individual, they generate a foundation for respect, teamwork, confidence, self control, trust, pride, competition, and rules. For a community, they can be the glue that brings a community together, as illustrated by Nelson Mandela's success in bringing together a divided nation through the 1995 Rugby World Cup. But of course, as Isaac Newton stated, "With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction;" so with the good of sports also comes bad.
Ice hockey is known and accepted for having violent outbursts amongst players; it is often considered as necessary evil as part of the game. The NBA has had its share of riots, most notoriously, the 2004 Detroit/Indiana riot that forced an early game end (by 49 seconds). Both football and baseball have had many rivaling fan fights. In April 2011, a Giants fan was brutally beaten outside the Dodgers' Stadium. There are also many examples of athletes who have had criminal charges brought against them, charges that range from tax evasion to murder.
But why? Can't something that does so many good things for the community be just that...GOOD!?! The reason why, no one can say exactly. Sports does ignite feelings of emotion and passion which can also trigger negative consequences if not handled appropriately. Stardom, power, money and greed can also quickly become the enemy. Athletes, while often viewed as role models, are still just people, who sometimes make the wrong decisions. In 1993 Charles Barkley said in his famous Nike ad, "I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."
It was hard for us to narrow down the list but here are the museum's Top Picks For Sports Crimes:
The Munich Olympics
The Chicago Black Sox
Adam Bernard (aka "Pac Man")
University of Virginia: Lacrosse players George Huguely kills girlfriend Yeardley Love
Sex Scandals: Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, Duke LaCrosse Team
Doping: Landis & Lance
Baseball: Bumps & Bruises: Pete Rose, Daryl Strawberry and Barry Bonds
The Mitchell Report (Baseball & Steriods)
*A special thanks goes out to Nick, JT, Bryce, Wally, and Brent for being the first to contribute to our Sports Crimes page.
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