If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying. That’s the motto that many sports fans would cite. A small bending of the rules is almost expected, whether it be using too much pine tar in baseball, too much curve on your stick in hockey, or falling down just a little bit too easily in soccer, trying to con the ref into calling penalty. That kind of cheating is barely punished.
The New England Patriots recently found out where the line is, though. Purposely using illegally deflated footballs in 2015 cost them big, especially star quarterback Tom Brady. It’s not their first offense either, as they were found guilty in the Spygate scandal in 2007 as well. They may have four Super Bowl championships, but many football fans now believe those titles are tainted.
Just by being a cheap old fart, Chicago White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey touched off one of the worst (and first) scandals in sports history. That his players took money to throw the 1919 World Series spoke to Comiskey’s legendary miserliness. It also shed light on MLB’s reserve clause, which made indentured servants of talented ball players. The ensuing scandal rocked the baseball world and ended up in lifetime bans for eight men on the Sox roster, including all-star outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson. The list of underworld characters involved in the scandal, via Chick Gandil, read like a who’s-who. Gandil persuaded associate and gambler Joe “Sport” Sullivan that the games could be fixed, and noted gangster Arnold Rothstein supplied the cash through his lieutenant, retired boxer Abe Attell. A grand jury trial ensued after the series, which resulted in acquittals. Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, though, investigated and banned the eight for life.