tiger.alex2010 is nearing the end and hence lists of names are popping-up everywhere summarizing the greatest moments, sportsmen, sportswomen etc. Clearly we are not staying behind and add our own list. As 2010 has seen many confessions of big (former) stars, we briefly stand still to look at the 10 biggest confessions in sports in 2010.

When analyzing the confessions one can recognize broadly three categories; sex related confessions, drugs related confessions and confessions related to malpractices in the sport. Clearly all three have either a direct or indirect effect on the performance of an athlete, a club or a sport. However, there is simultaneously also a huge difference between the 3. Sexually related escapades have nothing to do with breaking the rules of a sport. What someone is doing in his private life is his/her choice. However, being role models to society, moral judgement is likely severe and hence there is a clear indirect impact on performance. As far as honesty is concerned, drugs related fouls are much worse, as they are directly impacting the performance of an athlete. Hence there is no longer a level playing field, on the contrary often one can speak of unfair competition. In spite of this we have listed the confessions according to the (of course arbitrary) impact they have on either society or the sports.

Biggest confessions of 2009:

1.Tiger Woods: Tiger confessed he has been unfaithful to his wife having had several affairs with other women. Clearly Tiger is not breaking any golf-related rules, but the noise it has created and the impact Tiger has on the sport of golf and sports in general, make him the clear number one of the list.

2.Gareth Thomas: Gareth Thomas, a British sports legend and international rugby star, announced he is gay. In the male chauvinistic rugby world this is a brave and huge step forward. Sports should have nothing to do with sexuality, yet there are still some bastions left like soccer and rugby. It is to hope that Thomas’ confessions will lead to a breakthrough although we have our doubts whether this will be the case.

3. Nelson Piquet: better known under the name crashgate, this has been one of the major offences in sports history. Nelson Piquet was asked by team leaders Briatore and Symonds, to deliberately crash his formula 1 car in order to help the team. With this “strategy”, security for Nelson himself, the other drivers and the spectators, was severely endangered. Moreover, the credibility of Formula One was severely dented. In the mean time Briatore and Symonds have been banned from the sports, whilst it is doubtful whether Piquet will ever return to Formula One.

4. Marcel Schuon: Schuon is the first soccer player who has come forward in the match-rigging scandal now coursing through European soccer to talk publicly about a deal to fix a game. Since his confession, police have raided addresses across Europe, smashing what they believe is a 200-strong band bribing players, referees and coaches in at least nine countries to influence matches that they would then bet huge sums on. Although bets did not take place on matches in the major leagues, it does put a dent into European soccer.

5. Johan Museeuw: in the beginning of 2009 the great cyclist Johan Museeuw confessed he used doping at the end of his career. Like so many others he used the performance enhancing EPO. This once again was a blow to cycling, which frantically tries to get clean. Slowly the sport manages to get a better grip on doping, but each year there are still those that are discrediting the sport and are willing to risk suspension. Asterloza and Di Luca were just 2 of the more well-known cyclists, who were caught this year. Johan Museeuw’s confession should not only resemble himself but also all those others who used performance enhancing drugs.

6. Andre Agassi: Agassi confessed he tested positive for the highly addictive drug, crystal methamphetamine, and then duped the Association of Tennis Professionals into believing he had taken it by accident. Although the drug is said to be a recreational one and not performance enhancing, it was forbidden. Agassi lied about it and is bailing himself out of it by writing a book. Nevertheless, he still is connected to the sports of tennis, which sadly doesn’t help the image of tennis, ironically a sport he once hated.

7. Rick Pitino: the famous Louisville basketball coach confessed he had sex and paid for an abortion for the woman accused of trying to extort him for USD 10mln. Being a catholic, Pitino’s reputation got a severe dent. In spite of an integrity clause (which includes dishonesty and moral depravity as grounds for firing) in his contract Louisville retained his services.

8. Alex Rodriguez: days after Sports Illustrated reported he tested positive for steroids in 2003, A-Rod, ex toyboy of Madonna, confessed that he used banned substance while he played for Texas Rangers between 2001 – 2003. As widely known, he was not the only one during that era, who used performance enhancing drugs. Nevertheless it was a sad moment for baseball that one of America’s favourite role-models took part in it. It’s good to see Major League Basseball seems to finally taking this problem seriously.

9. Yuri van Gelder: one of the world’s top gymnasts, “lord of the rings” Yuri van Gelder confessed he had regularly used cocaine for recreational purposes. Following his confession, the gymnast got suspended and was fired by his employer, the Dutch army, which had a zero tolerance policy. Van Gelder is in rehab and hopes to return to gymnastics.

10. Christoph Daum: Christoph Daum, coach of the Turkisch football club Fenerbace confirmed 4 of his players took part in sex marathons in a hotel in Istanbul. Whether the 4 players can stay with Fenerbace is yet unknown. Clearly one can say it is none of our business what sport stars are doing in their private life. Fact of the matter remains that stars are always in the spotlight and are representing their club. It is the price one pays for being a celebrity and role-model. In the end such publicity can affect the relationships in the locker room and hence the club and its fans.

Surely there were plenty more confessions. Come to think of it, Michael Phelps and his waterpipe! We deliberately did not put him in the list. Phelps was suspended from competition for three months by USA swimming but this was not for violating anti-doping rules as it was outside competition. It was merely to send out a strong message to Michael for disappointing so many. As Phelps did not violate any anti-doping rules we decided to keep him out. Arbitrary of course, but then again the entire list is……….

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply