Five Worst Sports Scandals of the 21st Century

Over the years, sport scandals rise and fall. From cheating on their partners to using steroids, these scandals are some of the most famous of recent years. With the ease of Internet access and cell phone cameras, it is unsurprising that these scandals eventually came to light.

1. Kobe Bryant

In the summer of 2003, Kobe Bryant stayed at a hotel in Colorado. While this normally would have gone unnoticed, his trip was followed by allegations of sexual assault. A 19-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault, but the charges were dropped when she decided not to testify. Bryant ultimately admitted to having a sexual relationship, but he said that it was a consensual experience. Although he was never convicted on these charges, it cost him a significant amount of money in lost sponsors. Beyond just losing his sponsors, Kobe also had to buy his wife a $4 million ring to apologize.

2. Murder at Baylor

The year 2003 was a busy time period for sports scandals. During this year, a Baylor basketball player was found murdered. According to reports, Patrick Dennehy was at a party and disappeared. Eventually, it turned out that fellow basketball player, Carlton Dotson, was guilty of the murder. During the affair, an NCAA investigation discovered that the Baylor coach, Dave Bliss, was paying for the victim’s tuition as well as the tuition of another teammate. Bliss tried to hide this connection by alleging that Dennehy paid his way through school using drug money. The NCAA did not believe the allegation, and Dave Bliss had to resign from his position.

3. Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal

On November 4, 2011, Jerry Sandusky was indicted on 40 counts of sexual crimes involving young boys. As a basketball coach at Pennsylvania State University, Sandusky’s case received a great deal of attention. In addition, individuals like Joe Paterno were accused of ignoring the warning signs and mishandling the case.

4. Tiger Woods Cheated

Although cheating on a partner is not illegal, it garners a significant amount of bad press. Tiger Woods learned this the hard way after the media discovered his many affairs. In November of 2009, the professional golfer crashed his SUV at 2:30 in the morning. This led to increased attention to his affairs, and Woods admitted to having about 120 affairs over the recent years. Ultimately, his affairs led to the divorce of Woods from his wife, Elin Nordegren. He also lost a number of sponsors and is currently building his reputation again.

5. Duke Lacrosse

According to allegations, three members of Duke University’s lacrosse team worked together to carry out a first degree forcible rape in 2006. The scandal received a great deal of attention. These allegations listed a stripper from their team party as the victim, and they cast Duke’s lacrosse team in a negative light. Since the stripper’s story lost credibility and changed over time, the charges were ultimately dropped. Although the charges went away, the Duke University case continues to bring up questions about the culture around men’s college sports teams.

While these were not the only scandals of the last decade, they were some of the most notorious. Other than the murder, the other cases primarily resulted in resignations and lost sponsors. From cheating on wives to sexual abuse, these cases continued to make headlines for months after they started.

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