The rumour mill is working overtime in Montreal, and hockey fans everywhere are talking about Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn.
The Canadiens' twins have been linked to a man charged with criminal activity. The story came out Friday in La Presse, prompting the NHL to investigate the facts surrounding the brothers and with whom they're spending their time.
The incident reminds us of the many scandals in the world of sports — and there are a lot to choose from. Here are some classics:
'Baddest man on the planet'
Mike Tyson. Need we say more? There's a reason he's known as "the baddest man on the planet." The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world spent three years behind bars after he was convicted of rape in 1992. It was hardly his first transgression, either. Tyson may be more famous for his actions outside the ring than inside it, with a criminal record that's also spotted with charges of drug possession and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The most memorable scandal may have happened in the ring, though, when he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear during a 1997 rematch. Ouch.
'I Cheetah all the time'
If any Canadian gives meaning to that time-tested sports phrase "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," it has to be Ben Johnson. There he was at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, muscles bulging, setting a new world record of 9.79 sec in the 100m. Even better, American sprinter Carl Lewis wasn't even close. For 24 hours, it was exhilarating. And then the devastating news: Ben's urine samples were found to contain an illegal substance called stanozolol. His gold medal was stripped away, and so was Canada's victory celebration. Now he does commercials for an energy drinks and proclaims, "I Cheetah all the time." Interesting.
If you can't beat them, beat them up. Apparently, that was the plan at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, when Tonya Harding's ex-husband and her bodyguard hired someone to take out defending U.S. champion Nancy Kerrigan by hitting her on the knee. Kerrigan had to withdraw from competition because of the injury, while Harding went on to win it. At the Olympics later that year a recovered Kerrigan took home silver, while Harding finished eighth. Harding later pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation of the attack and was stripped of her American title and banned for life from U.S. figure skating events.
The "most infamous scandal" title might go to the Black Sox, who 90 years later still come to mind when you mention the words "sport" and "scandal" in the same sentence. During the 1919 World Series, eight members of the Chicago team were banned for life from baseball for intentionally losing games, essentially handing the series to the Cincinnati Reds, who won 5-3. The deal not only involved players, including "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, but also a professional gambler and a New York gangster who provided the dough. Losing was never so easy or so profitable.
Retired baseball player and manager Pete Rose earned that nickname because he'd run if he was walked, and he often slid head-first into first base. It turns out he wasn't only hustlin' on the field, though. In 1989, three years after he retired, Rose agreed to permanently stay away from baseball after he was accused of gambling on games while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds, rumours he vehemently denied. Until 2004. Rose finally owned up to gambling on baseball, but denied he'd ever bet on the Reds. The Baseball Hall of Fame won't induct Rose, even though he came clean about his gambling ways.
Hockey's big-time corruption
The first executive director of the NHLPA was revered for taking care of NHL players, but it turns out the once little-known lawyer was actually taking care of himself, or at least his pocket book. Alan Eagleson stepped down in 1991 as executive director of the players' organization after it was found he'd been embezzling pension funds, bullying players, misusing their money, spending disability claims of former players and using the NHLPA's money to pay for his clothes, theatre, and even an apartment. Eagleson, who held the executive director position from 1967 to 1991, pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from international hockey events, money intended for the players' pension fund. Once a national hero for promoting events like the Canada Cup, he was disbarred, forced to resign from the Hockey Hall of Fame, and became the first person ever removed from the Order of Canada. Stealing doesn't pay.
O.J.'s back at it
After a long and public trial into the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, O.J. Simpson, to the surprise of many, was acquitted on all charges. The retired NFLer got out of trouble there, but he certainly hasn't stayed out. O.J. was back in the spotlight recently after he was arrested in September, 2007, and charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon — the list goes on. O.J.'s now serving at least nine years behind bars.
MLB's 'steroid era'
It's tainted almost two decades of play, and encompasses some of the biggest names to grace the game. Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Jose Canseco. Mark McGuire. Sammy Sosa. And most recently, Alex Rodriguez. Where do you begin with this mess? There's Canseco's 2005 book Juiced, which discusses the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. There's the BALCO Scandal, which exposed an entire network of PED development and distribution. There's the book on Bonds that tells the story of his drug use while on his record-setting home run pace in 2001. There's the Mitchell Report, which named 80 former and current players who were using. And who can forget the congressional hearings, which saw the beloved McGuire, quiet, broken, and on the verge of tears? We could go on forever.