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Blue 42, Blue 42 – take out sister on one

My life in sports began in scandal. Around five years old, my parents enrolled me in pee-wee football. A few weeks into practice, the coaches gave me my uniform and pads. Immediately having to try them out, I suited up as soon as I got home. I put the pads in the pants, then the shoulder pads, placed on my helmet and strapped up my cleats.

Then I called for my middle sister. Yelling for her in anticipation of what was about to happen, I got into the four-point stance learned in practice. Footsteps down the hall made me aware that she was coming, so I got ready. As soon as she crossed the doors threshold I tackled her into my bedroom — a hit I am sure would have made Lawrence Taylor proud.

Scandals have seemed to engulf sports today. Every time we turn around, someone has used steroids, corked a bat or had an encounter with the law. Here is a list of what I think are the top-five most controversial scandals in sports history.

5. Below The Belt -The 1988 Summer Olympics were being held in South Korea, and the Koreans were determined to score gold in boxing, one of their strongest events.

The evidence of scandal came clear in the case of a light middle-weight boxer named Park Si-Hun, who made it to the final bought with a string of four controversial victories, including one which he immobilized his opponent with a low blow to the kidney.

Park advanced to the final to face a young and fast 19-year old American by the name of Roy Jones, Jr. The latter dominated all three rounds, landing 86 punches to Park’s 32. Yet three of the five judges awarded the decision to the Korean, who was awarded the Gold Medal. Even Park apologized to Jones.

Some say this doesn’t deserve to make the list, however, tell that to the 19-year old Roy Jones, Jr. standing in the Olympic spotlight after destroying his opponent and then watch that same guy being handed the gold medal. That fight was a mockery of what America, the Olympics, and sports in general, stands for.

4. A Foul Smelling Rose – What some consider the worst sports scandal ever, I consider behind three others. Ultimately, other controversies have left more of a dramatic effect on the game; however few have been more tragic.

Pete Rose, managing the Cincinnati Reds at the time, was caught gambling. Not only gambling, but betting on baseball. Not only betting on baseball, but betting on his own team.

Rose knew the consequences should he be caught. He knew the policies, he knew the rules. However, he had an addiction, a problem. And he did get caught. However did he deserve such a drastic sentence?

Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time leader in base hits, gets thrown out of the sport for illegally betting on baseball. Rose was a first ballot Hall of Famer, and had it all thrown away due to a lack of self control.

I believe he should never be given another job in baseball, from managing a team to being a team’s bat boy. However the Commissioner of baseball should not keep this man out of the Baseball’s Hall of Fame. His addiction as a manager does not counteract his accomplishments as a player.

3. Harding: No Holds Barred – The 1994 Olympic Games became the spotlight of media attention when Tonya Harding and her henchmen attacked rival, yet Olympic teammate Nancy Kerrigan, clubbing her on the upper left part of her knee.

This attempt to eliminate Kerrigan from the games was a failure, as Kerrigan was able to skate and Harding for some reason was allowed to skate. However neither brought home the gold medal for the Americans, which was earned by Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul. Kerrigan did however score silver, and Harding did terrible.

There are many kinds of scandals, some worse than others. Cheating, point-shaving and illegal betting are all bad, but hiring thugs to attack an opponent/teammate crosses that invisible line.

2. Seconds To Second – The United States 63-game Olympic winning streak and seven consecutive Olympic gold medals came to an abrupt end in what is considered to be the most controversial game in international basketball history.

The USA-USSR 1972 Olympic men’s basketball final ended when officials awarded the Soviets additional time in order to win the game. Twice the unbeaten US team began celebrating their victory and twice they were stripped of their gold.

Confusion reigned as the British FIBA official told the time-keeper to add additional time on the clock. During the confusion, the referees put the ball into play and the Soviets hit their third awarded attempt, winning the game.

The US team voted unanimously to refuse their silver medals. Of all athletic competitions, the Olympics should be scandal free. However as we have seen, this game proved that anything, no matter how sacred, can be corrupted.

1. Eight Men Out – The 1919 World Series tops the list. The Chicago White Sox (later named the Black Sox) became national news, front-page of every national newspaper, when the White Sox were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds.

This alleged act single-handedly changed the game of baseball and how we look at it. This incident set the platform for the all powerful position we know today as the &uot;Office of the Commissioner.&uot;

Baseball is the nation’s favorite pastime and for good reason. During the time, Major League Baseball was the only professional sport. College football was on the rise; however it could not come close to matching up with the fascination of baseball.

This also robbed America of one of baseball’s most outstanding stars, the great &uot;Shoeless&uot; Joe Jackson. Although the eight players were acquitted of all criminal charges, they were still banned from professional baseball for life.

Almost a century later, people still question what really happened. No other scandal has had such a profound effect on the nation.

If you have any comments, agree or disagree, feel free to email me at david.taylor@r-cnews.com.