The NFL is no stranger to scandals and controversies. Part of this is because the sport is always in the limelight. Popular cable providers like Optimum TV packages often include the separate NFL channel. In season viewing is off the charts. So every slip up gets magnified many times over in the NFL. However, some scandals were certainly more shocking than others. This blog explores some of them.
7 NFL Scandals
People have an obsession with scandals. Maybe it has something to do with the vicious pleasure of watching somebody ruin their life. Most NFL players are millionaires in their own right. So watching someone at the pinnacle of success take a tumble can be satisfying for some. That said, scandals are not going anywhere any time soon. In popular sports like the NFL, you have scandals from everything to testing positive for drugs to committing murder. Here are seven of the most shocking scandals to ever hit the NFL:
- Gambling Owner
- Sexual Assaulter Steeler
- Sexting Disaster
- Viking Love Boat
- Spy Team
- Injury Bounties
- First Degree Murder
Below follow more details on these scandals that rocked sports fans all over the country.
Eddie DeBartolo Jr was a much-loved son of San Francisco and owner of the San Francisco 49ers. He was one of the teams most successful owners, bringing multiple Super Bowl wins to the San Francisco Bay Area. DeBartolo Jr was even a finalist for the 2012 NFL Hall of Fame. But one slip up was enough to mar an otherwise impeccable career. In 1998, a casino in Louisiana was extorting DeBartolo Jr for money. Failing to report such extortion is a crime, which resulted in his conviction in the same year. The NFL suspended him for 1 year and he also had to pay a million dollar fine. The adverse publicity got so bad he stepped down and transferred control of the team to his sister Marie Denise.
Sexual Assaulter Steeler
Sexual assaulters and offenders don’t deserve any mercy, which Ben Roethlisberger got a lot of. The Steelers quarterback was twice accused of sexual assault. The first allegation came in 2009 from a Nevada hotel employee. The second came from a 20-year-old college student. Both women accused Roethlisberger of sexual assault. Surprisingly, the Steelers quarterback never faced a conviction for his crimes. The NFL, of course, did not take the accusations lightly. They meted out punishment to the quarterback with a 6-game suspension. In 2010 the League reduced it to 4 but the damage to his reputation had already taken effect.
Sexting after a certain age is embarrassing. It is even more embarrassing if you’re married and pictures of your privates surface on the internet. Brett Favre found this out the hard way. The New York Jets quarterback was never more than a mediocre player. But off the field, he was even worse. In 2010, lewd pictures of himself did the rounds on the internet. This was an embarrassment both to himself as well as his family. The quarterback sent the images to sideline reporter Jenn Sterger, who held on to them for comedic value. Of course, the NFL did investigate the scandal but had no grounds to punish Favre in this case.
Viking Love Boat
In 2005, the Minnesota Vikings thought a couple of love boats were the best way to celebrate. Over 17 teammates rented two houseboats. They also flew in prostitutes from other parts of the country. The team members then invited 90 people on board and performed sexual acts in front of them. Images from the event eventually found their way to the internet. The NFL took a back seat to the criminal charges brought against 4 players for indecent conduct. Surprisingly, the NFL did not suspend a single member of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Boston Herald reported before Super Bowl XLII that the New England Patriots had in fact recorded a St Louis practice game. The spying took place back in Super Bowl XXXVI. A former disgruntled video assistant revealed this information after the New England Patriots fired him. While the Patriots’ head coach denied ever seeing the recording, the NFL was not having any of it. The team had to face serious sanctions including $250,000 fine for the team and a $500,000 fine for the head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots also lost their 2008 first-round pick.
The New Orleans Saints had a tough time in 2012 when reports emerged the team was offering bounties for injuries. Essentially, the team management was handing out payouts to every player who injured a member of the opposing team. This was utterly unacceptable to the NFL boss at the time, who came down hard on the Saints. The team saw the suspension of their head coach as well as their defensive coordinator. The NFL even suspended the team’s general manager for eight games. The Saint’s faced paying a $500,000 fine and lost first-round picks for both 2012 and 2013.
First Degree Murder
This is perhaps the best-known scandal ever to hit the NFL. The People vs O.J. Simpson is still one of the most talked about scandals in the United States. If you have Optimum Triple Play Packages, you can probably find it on American Crime Story. The case had a number of well-publicized twists, some of which included a white Bronco and a murder glove. The evidence seemed overwhelming against Simpson. But after eight months of deliberations, the jury found him not guilty. Simpson was accused of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
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