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Lesson Transcript

Braden: Top 5 Most Famous Sports Controversies!
Ann: So Braden, this is the last lesson of the series.
Braden: I know! It went by so fast. We have some good lessons in this series.
Ann: Speaking of that, what are we learning in this lesson?
Braden: In this lesson, you’ll learn about the top 5 most famous sports controversies. We like to pretend that sports are always clean and happy and that everything goes right. However, that just isn’t true.
Ann: Some of the controversies are comical, some of them are problematic, while others are truly mystifying. These stories are complex, so we have quite a lot of material to cover, so let’s get to it!
Braden: Our number 5 in our top 5 sports controversies is Jim Thorpe.
Ann: The reason this is only number five and not farther up on the list is because it happened so long ago.
Braden: Jim Thorpe is widely regarded as the greatest athlete ever and was an Olympic gold medalist in the pentathlon and in the decathlon as well as All-Around Champion of the Amateur Athletic Union.
Ann: In 1912, Jim Thorpe's gold medals were stripped from him due to allegations that he was not an amateur.
Braden: Years before, Jim Thorpe had played professional baseball for a summer to earn money for college.
Ann: The international Olympic Committee identified that as against the rules and took his Olympic titles, medals, and awards.
Braden: Many people agree that this was done because of racism because Jim Thorpe was Native American.
Ann: The technicality over being an amateur was merely an excuse. However, years later, his medals were reinstated and his titles were as well.
Braden: The issues of racism at international levels is still a problem dealt with today.
Ann: Number 4 on our top 5 most famous sports controversies is the US figure skating championships.
Braden: Back in nearly 1990s, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were competing to be the best women's figure skater in the world. However, it's widely recognized that Nancy Kerrigan was the better skater.
Ann: It's assumed that Tonya Harding also knew this because she hired a "hitman" to break Nancy Kerrigan's knee during practice before a performance.
Braden: Because of the injury to Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding took gold. However, once the story was revealed, Tonya Harding was taken to court, pleaded guilty, paid $160,000 in fines, and paid 500 hours of community service.
Ann: She was also banned from saking for 3 years.
Braden: Our number three in our top 5 most famous sports controversies is Tim Donaghy. Tim Donaghy was a referee in the NBA for over 13 years.
Ann: After serious local conflicts and allegations, Tim Donaghy was forced to move to Florida and continued to officiate in the NBA games until 2007.
Braden: That year, an investigation revealed that Donaghy had a gambling problem. Beyond that, he was betting on games that he officiated. This is against the rules of the NBA (or any sport for that matter) because the referee can influence the outcome of the game.
Ann: Upon further investigation, a pattern appeared of Donaghy altering game outcomes in order to win the bet that he had made.
Braden: In August of 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty and was fined $500,000. He no longer officiates in the NBA.
Ann: Our number 2 most famous sports controversy is about Danny Almonte. Danny Almonte was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York to play baseball.
Braden: He was a fantastic player and quickly became the lead pitcher on his team. He threw a "perfect game" (a game in which not a single hit happens).
Ann: That hadn't happened since 1957. There was something odd though. For being only 11 years old, he certainly was a very large boy.
Braden: After weeks of research and contacting the officials in the Dominican Republic, it was discovered that Danny was indeed two years older than his parents stated.
Ann: His US records had been falsified. He was disqualified from future playing and his team forfeited all their wins.
Braden: The controversy here is parents who push their children to play sports and win at any cost.
Ann: These particular parents were willing to lie consistently not only to people around them but to the governments as well in order for their child to win.
Braden: And our number 1 most famous sports controversy is about Mark McGwire. Okay actually, it's about drugs in sports but Mark McGwire is a good example of this.
Ann: Mark McGwire set the record for home runs in a single season. He was a very large and muscly man and he was suspected of steroid use.
Braden: Steroids make you stronger so that you can hit the ball farther. However, they are illegal in professional sports.
Ann: McGwire was tested repeatedly and the results came back negative. He was upfront and said that he took a product called ATP. This wasn't considered a steroid at the time.
Braden: Years later, a report came out that Mark McGwire and many other professional athletes were using a new substance called ATP that was undetectable until recently.
Ann: Upon testing, Mark McGwire tested positive for ATP. The drug was not considered a steroid and therefore Mark McGwire had not broken the rules.
Braden: However, the Major League Baseball Association decided to add ATP to the list of prohibited drugs.
Ann: The controversy here is whether or not the Major League Baseball is right in trying to take away Mark McGwire's records.
Braden: That’s right. At the time, he was following the rules and wasn't being dishonest. That just about does it for this lesson.
Ann: Thanks for listening!
Braden: See you next time.