Dogfighting, point-shaving, blood doping. It couldn't get any worse, could it?

Dubious and far-fetched ideas.
July 26 2007 12:17 PM

Worst Sports Week Ever

Dogfighting, point-shaving, blood doping. It couldn't get any worse, could it?

Illustration by Rob Donnelly. Click image to expand.

A federal grand jury in Richmond indicted Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men yesterday on charges related to their alleged operation of a dogfighting ring based at a property Vick owns in southeastern Virginia. The Washington Post, July 18, 2007

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Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

The FBI is investigating allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on basketball games over the past two seasons, including ones in which he officiated., July 20, 2007


Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh died Sunday night after being struck in the head by a line drive as he stood in the first-base coach's box during a Texas League game with the Arkansas Travelers, police said.
AP, July 23, 2007

Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen was dropped from the race by his cycling team in a dispute involving missed drug tests, a Tour spokesman said.
Bloomberg, July 25, 2007


Veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center admitted today to misdiagnosing 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was euthanized earlier this year. The beloved thoroughbred's X-rays were mixed up with those of a badly mangled quarterhorse named Princess Steve, a hospital spokesman said. "It turns out that Barbaro was on his way to a full recovery," the spokesman added. "Sorry about that."
USA Today, July 28, 2007

In his Hall of Fame induction speech on Sunday, Cal Ripken Jr. confessed that his younger brother, journeyman infielder Billy Ripken, suited up on his behalf at least two dozen times during what was thought to have been a streak of 2,632 consecutive games played. "Sometimes I just had other stuff to do," the longtime Oriole told a crowd of well-wishers in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Baltimore Sun, July 30, 2007

Four ballboys have come forward with allegations that they were subjected to a lewd display by five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, Scotland Yard has confirmed. Two hours after his thrilling five-set triumph over Rafael Nadal, sources close to the investigation say, Federer invited the youngsters to the men's locker room for what he termed a "private party." Upon arriving, the boys found the Swiss tennis great eating a heaping bowl of strawberries and cream and wearing nothing but his trademark monogrammed blazer and a light-blue Nike headband.
—the Daily Mirror, Aug. 2, 2007

The FBI is investigating claims that the New York Giants' Jeremy Shockey deliberately dropped passes last season in an effort to win his fantasy football league. A person with knowledge of the league's activities says that Shockey's squad, "The Cleveland Steamers," was stuck in second place behind "Jimmy Spencer Blues Explosion," a team with Shockey in its starting lineup. The tight end's suspiciously poor performances in the season's final three weeks—coupled with a surprising three touchdowns from the Shockey-owned Marion Barber III—propelled the Steamers to the league title and grand prize, a $200 Dave & Buster's gift card.
New York Post, Aug. 4, 2007

Jason McElwain, the autistic teenager who won the nation's heart by making six three-pointers in his first and only high school basketball game, was not really a teenager and was feigning his autism, White House spokesman Tony Snow announced today. "The president was deeply saddened to hear that the young man we knew and loved as 'J-Mac' is actually former NBA sharpshooter Tim Legler," Snow said in his afternoon press briefing.
—AP, Aug. 5, 2007

The fabled African-American track star Jesse Owens played checkers with Adolf Hitler during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, newly discovered photographs reveal. Additional photos show the Führer and the four-time gold medalist admiring sketches of the Hindenburg, sharing a bowl of sauerkraut, and riding along the banks of the Spree River on a tandem bicycle.
New York Times, Aug. 7, 2007

Barry Bonds broke baseball's all-time home run record last night with a towering, eighth-inning long ball against the Washington Nationals. After smashing his 756th career home run, the seven-time National League MVP pumped his fists in the air repeatedly. Bonds then reached into his back pocket and pulled out a large syringe labeled "DRUGS FOR CHEATING AT BASEBALL." The San Francisco Giants slugger lowered his pants, injected himself in the buttocks, and extended both middle fingers before setting off on his record-setting jaunt around the bases.
Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 10, 2007



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