It’s rare that we see such craziness in sports as we’ve seen with Lance Armstrong over the past several weeks.
He’s been stripped of all his cycling titles, his sponsors have dropped him, and he’s resigned as Chairman of Livestrong, his own cancer-awareness charity.
Say what you want about the general “dirtiness” of cycling, or Armstrong’s courage as a person and athlete - it’s pretty clear he’s lied about not ever doping.
And it wasn’t just him. One thing I can’t get over is the sheer number of people involved - the teammates, trainers, doctors and other professionals who all had to be in on Armstrong’s lies for them to avoid being exposed.
In law, a conspiracy is defined as: an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
No doubt, Armstrong was the head of a sports conspiracy. To me, this is much more damning than an individual athlete tainting a sport by him or herself. This is because as human beings, we all know that once in a while, one person can go off the reservation; you can’t help that, in any area. But when a group of people engage in deceit together, we begin to feel that there is something inherently wrong with the entire industry they’re associated with. In other words, one person can be an exception. But multiple people are usually a symptom of something deeper, of some kind of institutional crisis of values.
The most basic principle supporting any industry is that its members leave it better off than when they entered it. Armstrong was supposed to be the shining light that revived the sport of cycling, but in the end, he may well have buried it. The following list consists of other major figures who risked doing the same to their sport.
Here are my 5 most notorious sports conspiracies of the past 25 years:
4. SMU Football
Do you agree with me about conspiracies being in many ways much worse than individual wrongdoings? What are some of the conspiracies that have haunted you?