Top Ten Sports Cheaters of All Time: From Steroid-Pumpers to Ball-Grabbers
Soccer player Vinnie Jones executing a clever "ball tackle"
For more than a week, Riptide has brought you the shady plays that have turned Krop High School into a basketball powerhouse: recruiting players, inventing addresses, changing official records, and -- of course -- threatening journalists.
The truth is, these tactics are often a hell of a lot more effective than merely practicing lay-ups and pick-and-rolls. Until you get caught, at least.
So in honor of Krop coach Shakey Rodriguez, we're bringing you our list of the top ten sports cheaters of all time. Bon appe-cheat!
10. Vinnie Jones
Before starring as a hit-man in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Jones was notorious for being a bruiser on the soccer pitch. Here he gives Paul Gascoigne's chestnuts a clandestine fondle while the referee isn't looking. Classy.
Shady scale: 0.5/10
9. Pete Rose
Pete Rose was a great hitter, a poor dresser, and an incorrigible gambler. When ol' Charlie Hustle retired in 1986 with an MLB-record 4,256 hits, most of us thought he was going to don some white tennis shoes and retire to... well... Florida. Instead, he went into management only to admit in 2007 that he bet on the Cincinatti Reds "every night" while at the helm.
Shady scale: 2/10
Note: Rose claims to have always bet on the Reds winning.
8. New England Patriots "Spy Gate"
Ok. Maybe we just hate the Patriots, or Tom Brady's perfect life and immaculately styled mane of hair. But it's pretty low to stoop to video taping an opposing team's signals in order to get ahead. That's exactly what Bill Belichick and the Patriots were caught doing in 2007, leading to a massive $750,000 fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft pick.
Shady scale: 4/10
Would this guy lie? Well, judging by the company...
7. Lance Armstrong
Need we say more? Allegations of cycling shenanigans have dogged the seven-time Tour de France champion for more than a decade, but nothing has ever been proven. Last year, however, former teammate and disgraced tour winner Floyd Landis told Nightline that he knew for a fact that Armstrong cheated. If true, it would be a real kick in the crotch to all us suckers who bought those goddamn yellow bracelets.
Shady scale: 5/10
Note: There's always the chance that he's telling the truth.
6. Danny Almonte
Back in 2001, "12"-year-old Dominican-born pitching sensation Danny Almonte took the Little League World Series by storm. He was the Randy Johnson of the little leagues, with a fastball to make any pre-teen crap his pants. The only problem was: he wasn't a pre-teen himself. He was nearly old enough to drive. After helping his Bronx team to a third-place finish, Almonte was revealed to be two years too old (14) for the tournament.
Shady scale: 6.5/10
Note: Although pretty damn shady, most of the blame falls on his even shadier coaches.
5. Diego Maradona
One of the greatest soccer players of all time, Maradona was also one of the biggest -- and certainly most effective -- cheaters in sports history. His infamous "hand of god" play, when he surreptitiously punched the ball into the net, sent the Brits home early from the 1986 World Cup. It also condemned England to a future of trophy-less alcoholism. Many Argentines, however, didn't see it as cheating at all. Instead, they considered the win -- and their eventual triumph in the finals -- as revenge for Margaret Thatcher's Falklands War four years earlier. The Iron Lady was not amused.
Shady scale: 7/10
Note: Maradona's slick punch was the very essence of cheating. Then again, the British did kind of deserve it.
4. Ben Johnson
Before there was ever Usain Bolt, there was Ben Johnson. Unlike the leggy Jamaican, however, Johnson didn't win fair and square. His absurdly fast world-record 100-meter dash clocked in at 9.79 seconds, bringing Canada the gold medal ahead of Carl Lewis and the United States. But Johnson tested positive for the steroid stanozolol. The epic cheat ushered in a new era of sports cheating, in which Marion Jones, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez would quadruple-team our faith in professional athletes like a bad porno flick, until somehow we gave up completely and started watching darts and poker on television instead. My god, how far we've fallen.
Shady scale: 9/10
3. The Black Sox
What's shadier than steroids? How about throwing the World Series in order to make a quick buck? The 1919 Chicago White Sox gave baseball and America a big, stinking dirty Sanchez by allegedly throwing the series in cahoots with professional gamblers. Although the eight accused were acquitted, they were all banned from baseball.
Shady scale: 9.5/10
2. Dora/Hermann Ratjen
In 1936, Hitler was so desperate to prove Nazi athletic prowess at the Olympics that the Germans convinced Hermann Ratjen to tuck his weenie and pretend he was a woman. Turns out, "Dora" Ratjen was still not good enough to win, placing fourth in the high jump.
Shady scale: 9.8/10
1. Panama Lewis
Arguably the biggest sports cheater of all time wasn't even an athlete himself, he was a boxing trainer. Back in 1983, Lewis not only removed the padding from his fighter's gloves, he also added plaster to the taping. That meant Luis Resto pummeled Billy Collins for 10 rounds with nothing but a pair of casts. The beating was so horrific it might have led to Collins's death. He suffered blurred vision and depression in the months following the fight, and died in car crash nine months later.
Shady scale: 10/10
Bright side: Resto and Lewis both went to jail and were banned from boxing.
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