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Reviewed by:
  • Sports Scandals
  • Maynard Brichford
Finley, Peter, Laura Finley, and Jeffrey Fountain. Sports Scandals. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008. Pp. 189. Timeline, notes, bibliography, and index. $45.00

The intensive media coverage of business, religious, political and entertainment scandals reflects the public's appetite for reports of scandalous conduct. The authors of Sports Scandals have selected eighty-six instances, covered in seven chapters on gambling, sex, drugs, cheating, violence, outrageous commentary, and politics and collusion. They summarize the cases and include the legal and professional outcomes. Most of the scandals listed in the time line occurred in the last eleven years; 85 percent of them are equally divided between football, basketball and baseball. By chapter categories, football led in violence, assault and cheating; baseball led in drugs; basketball led in gambling. Twenty-two percent of the scandals involved racism.

Mayhem, money, murder, scandals, sex and sports sell air time and feed the news media. Reports of sports scandals are daily occurrences as sporting news is televised, posted on the internet and featured in newspaper columns and talk radio. Gambling, racism, sex, drugs and verbal abuse are factors, especially in contact sports, such as boxing, basketball, football and baseball. In golf, Fuzzy Zoeller's disparaging remarks about Tiger Woods became a scandal. Some sports scandals were media scandals that involved athletics, e.g. Marv Albert's sex life, Rush Limbaugh's attack on Donovan McNabb and the Don Imus' commentary on the Rutgers women's basketball team. There were rules violations scandals in competitive professional sports. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick violated an NFL ban on videotaping during a game and Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on his team.

Academic fraud cases include plagiarism and illegal financial contributions to college athletes. Among the governing bodies whose rules were violated in scandals, the National Collegiate Athletic Association was involved in 34 percent, Major League Baseball in 19 percent and the National Football League in 14 percent. International media coverage of the Olympic Games make them a prime site for scandals, boycotts and protests. Disturbing factors in some cases are that allegations of scandalous or criminal conduct were supported by the testimony of accomplices and felons and that the accused tended to have lucrative contracts. [End Page 165]

Maynard Brichford
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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