There are plenty of heated topics to discuss in the world of sports. From deflated footballs to extraordinary press conferences, fans of all sports can certainly relate to this Top 10 List of Sports Controversies.
10. A Quick Exit
Cam Newton’s press conference after Super Bowl 50 lasted about 2 minutes before he left reporters hanging. But, could you blame him? His 2016 Super Bowl ended in a nasty loss against the New England Patriots with a score of 32 to 29. However, press conferences are usually a time for players to reflect on what they did and hope for what they can do better. Cam Newton isn’t the first athlete to storm out of a press conference, neither will he be the last. Many fans of football shook their head at his lack of cooperation, while others gave him some slack for his bitter loss.
9. Stealing the Show
A three year old girl stealing the show at an NBA press conference? What’s the harm in that? Apparently, everything. By now, the name ‘Riley Curry’ should ring a bell for many people, especially if they’re familiar with her hilarious appearances at the press conferences in 2015. NBA Star Steph Curry could barely keep both eyes on reporters as his daughter fumbled endlessly in his lap and on the stage. Riley Curry tried, in vain, to capture her father’s attention. Whether she was trying to steal the microphone, waving delightfully at her audience, or giggling behind the black curtain, this girl simply stole the show.
After her more than interesting ‘performance’ at the press conferences of Games 1 and 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, the media spit into another sports controversy – Should kids be allowed at press conferences?
Those who said ‘nay’ agreed children at press conferences distract reporters and journalists from doing their job. In fact, NBA First Take tweeted: “Great for him, but it really hurts the process” – the process referring to reporters being able to ask questions and obtain information.
Those who said ‘yay’ agreed there’s no harm in a child bring a smile to people’s faces from time to time. After all, this press conference turned into a source of entertainment. Moreover, many sports stars barely have time to interact with their children between practicing, interviewing or constantly traveling. Regardless of what people think now, this debate and sports controversy has been seemingly been shut down for a while.
8. A ‘Stand’ of Defiance
Kneeling down during the national anthem – a display of courage or an act of disrespect? Many people opposed Colin Kapernick’s decision because of his seemingly audacious move. It was either a “How dare he’ or “He inspired me.” Indeed, the quarterback inspired other football players – including four Miami Dolphins players to take a knee during the national anthem. Many people supported Kapernick’s decision because it was a form of peaceful protest in standing against a “country that oppresses Black people and people of color” as he stated.
7. Sharing the Plans?
Tommy Elrod, a former assistant coach at Wake Forest University, was fired after sharing or attempting to share his team’s game plans. For two consecutive years, he was able to get away with revealing Wake Forest’s plans to opposing teams. There was no controversy in the fact that he was fired, but rather in his purpose of doing what he did. Why would a coach share his team’s plans? Was it for the money? Well, he must have been paid a good amount. Was it because he didn’t like his team? But, still…that wouldn’t make any sense. We still haven’t found out the motives for Elrod’s decision to cheat his own team, so this remains a mystery – or rather a sports controversy.
6. Deflated Balls
It’s been a few years and a couple of super bowls later, and we’re still discussing this topic. Yes, the deflated balls. The New England Patriots took a unfair advantage in the AFC Championships by using deflated balls. Regardless of whether they would have still won or not (they would’ve), they cheated. Yet, they were still able to make an appearance at the Super Bowl. If evidence had been revealed sooner and it was more concrete, would the New England Patriots been stripped of their title? The worst punishment the Patriots received was losing Tom Brady for the first few games of the season. Yet, they still won last year’s Super Bowl (without cheating) and moved forward with allegations.
5. Racist Comments
We’ve all said things behind people’s back that we wouldn’t want them to hear. Yet, the price of fame has once again proved its devastation to former NBA Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling. During a conversation with his girlfriend, he stated “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” Sterling was referring to his disappointment of his girlfriend posting pictures with former NBA player Magic Johnson. After his conversation was leaked on tape, fans shared their outrage and horror – and, likewise, the athletes.
But, what do you think? Should Sterling have lost possession of the team because of a private conversation? Or should he have hold his tongue at those disgraceful comments?
4. ‘The Fight of the Century’
This match was considered the “Fight of the Century.’ Perhaps it was too soon in the 21st century to state that. The fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather made history as boxing’s highest grossing fight, yet it attracted plenty of criticism. Floyd Mayweather emerged triumphant from the long fight. But, USA Today referred to the match as a “complete waste of time and money.” It was a long and less action-packed match than fans were hoping for. In addition, there wasn’t any unanimous agreement over Mayweather’s win. As far as we can tell it was only the ‘Most Disappointing Fight of the Century’.
3. Illegal Drugs
There is absolutely no doubt that Russia’s Olympic teams were doping before the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, the evidence did not point to every one the 116 athletes that were told to stay home. It’s a shame that some of these athletes, who were probably not participating in the doping, were removed from the Olympics. However, some justice did come to the players not doping. Some Russian Olympians were able to compete in the 2018 Winter Games under the flag of the Olympic Games.
2. Instant Replay
It’s a surprise that the debate of instant replay is still going on, considering that instant replay is the immediate ‘go-to’ for the games’ officials. Nevertheless, instant replay has received a bad rap from fans, especially in the game of baseball, for slowing down the game. Others agree that depending on instant repay makes fans and athletes believe that calls decide games. As one columnist remarked in the USA Today, “Bad calls don’t blow games – only bad plays.”
1. Disgraced Swimmer
Consider Lochte, is a winner of five consecutive gold medals at the World Championships and a participant of the 2016 Olympic freestyle relay team for the USA in Rio. He’s a great swimmer but a terrible liar. His story of what caused him to vandalize a gas station in Rio made absolutely no sense. It was disgraceful, disrespectful, and definitely a display of immaturity. Why do you think he did it?
Whether you agree with Kaepernick’s move to kneel during the anthem, or you completely oppose Sterling’s comments, this is what sports is about. Debates. Opposing teams. And heated topics.