Sports provide fans with some of their best and worst memories. Not only are sports entertaining on the field, but the scandals that occur can make it even more compelling to follow. Here are the 15 worst scandals in sports history, from players using performance-enhancing drugs to cheating on their spouse with a teammate's partner.
1 – The Black Sox Scandal of 1919
This Chicago White Sox baseball team of the early 20th century led by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson forever tarnished their reputations when several club members intentionally rigged the series due to cooperation ties with the mafia. Players from the team were never allowed back into MLB.
2 – Panama Lewis Removes Luis Resto's Gloves
One user on a popular message board talked about this infamous yet little-known scandal in boxing from 1983. Panama Lewis was the trainer of Luis Resto. He removed some required padding from Resto's gloves before his fight with undefeated Billy Collins, Jr. The lack of padding injured Collins Jr. and ended his boxing career.
3 – Monica Seles Stabbing Incident
Monica Seles was an eight-time Grand Slam champion tennis star when her career was essentially ruined by an attacker who ran onto the court and stabbed her in the back during a match in 1993. This created a lot of questions surrounding on-court safety in the WTA (Women's Tennis Association).
4 – Larry Nassar Child Molestation Scandal
Larry Nassar was the team doctor for the U.S. Women's gymnastics team for nearly two decades, and he was revealed to have been sexually assaulting many of the team's young athletes during his tenure. Nassar is now serving a life imprisonment sentence.
5 – Pennsylvania State University Child Molestation Scandal
Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky used the confines of head coach Joe Paterno's program and his charity for disadvantaged youth to assault underage people throughout his tenure at the university sexually. The NCAA sanctions brought down upon Penn State forever tarnished its reputation.
6 – Tony Parker Cheats on His Wife With Brent Barry's
Although never outright confirmed, it was strongly rumored that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker had an affair with Brent Barry's wife. Barry was his teammate on the Spurs at the time. The Spurs were known for their class and team chemistry, so this scandal was out of character for them.
7 – Tim Donaghy/NBA Referee Scandal
The NBA found themselves in quite the bind when they found out referee Tim Donaghy was betting on games he officiated in 2007. This led to conspiracies about other officials fixing games in the league.
8 – Tonya Harding Conspires to Stab Nancy Kerrigan
One of the most famous scandals in sports history that has been documented to death is the story of figure skater Tony Harding conspiring with her husband to injure her main competition, Nancy Kerrigan.
9 – Draymond Green Punches Jordan Poole
The Golden State Warriors were coming off a championship in the fall of 2022 when their starting power forward, Draymond Green, punched teammate Jordan Poole in practice. This led to the trading of Poole in the summer of 2023, a controversial decision that had to be made due to the lack of forgiveness and understanding between the two players.
10 – Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team Wasn't Actually Disabled in 2000
The Spanish basketball team at the Paralympic Games in 2000 decided to use players who weren't actually disabled. This led to a win at the event, but the braintrust of the team was later convicted of their crimes.
11 – Lance Armstrong Blood Doping Scandal
The best bicyclist in history, Lance Armstrong, was stripped of his Tour de France titles when he was caught using performance-enhancing drugs in 2012. This was a disappointing revelation for those who enjoyed the sport of cycling and looked up to Armstrong.
12 – MLB Steroid Scandals
Although there is some forgiveness for the cheating scandals in MLB decades later, many baseball players, such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s.
13 – Boston College Point Shaving Scandal
The 1979 Boston College men's basketball team was engulfed in a scandal in which the mafia forced them to point shave, manipulating the scores of the games so the mob could win their bets on the games.
14 – Ray Lewis Homicide Allegations
Ray Lewis was on top of the world as one of the best linebackers in the NFL when he was accused of being involved in a murder in 2000. Lewis was eventually cleared of the charges when he promised to testify against the other alleged perpetrators of the crime.
15 – Houston Astros Sign Stealing Scandal
The Houston Astros baseball team used video cameras and other means to pick up on what pitches would be thrown their way throughout their run to the World Series in 2017. Their manager and general manager were both fired due to the scandal.