Sports and gambling are like yin and yang; they are opposites but can be interconnected. If the integrity isn’t diluted, these two forces can complement one another. The history of gambling dates back to long before our time and that of our ancestors. The earliest evidence of gambling dates back to 2000 BC in Egypt, Greece, China, and Japan.
The game of dice was one of the original gambling games and is still played today. The first recorded bookmaker or “bookie,” as they call it today, was Harry Ogden in 1795 when he laid odds for horse races. With the legalization of gambling in the States and the expansion of technology, gambling is at our fingertips. How can gambling have so much power that it interferes with the integrity of sports?
NFL Scandals And Sports Gambling
Back in the year 1963, the first major sports gambling issue occurred. Heisman trophy running back Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers and all-pro defensive tackle Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions were suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. At the time, these were two of the biggest stars in the NFL, and their suspension stemmed from gambling on football games and associating with gamblers. After pleading their fault, Rozelle reinstated both men after stating that neither of them threw any games. Hornung agreed to stay away from Las Vegas, and Karras sold a Detroit bar known as a place for gamblers.
During the 2007 NFL season, the New England Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the New York Jets’ coaching signals from their sideline. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruled intentional cheating by the Patriots. As a result, head coach Bill Belichick and the team were fined. They also lost their 2008 first-round pick. The sports media dubbed this cheating scandal “Spygate.”
During the 2014 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, NFL rules officials got the wild idea to check the pressure of the footballs used. The NFL determined that the Patriots and then quarterback Tom Brady had used an illegal process to lower the pressure of the footballs. The Patriots went on to win 45-7. After the investigation concluded, head coach Bill Belichick and the team were fined. The league also gave Brady a four-game suspension because the league said he was “aware” of what was happening. This sports scandal has been referred to as “Deflategate.”
Biggest Sports Scandal In MLB History
The 2017 and 2018 Houston Astros made sports media headlines when they were accused of cheating and, as a result, won the World Series in 2017. You can bet on players juiced up on steroids all you want but still have to make contact with the ball. This scandal was calculated and planned out. The Astros used ballpark cameras to steal signs during the game. They would then use trash can lids and bang them together to communicate the signs.
How Sports Gambling Rocked The NBA
Many people don’t know Tim Donaghy and his story with the NBA. Donaghy was an NBA referee who pleaded guilty in 2008 after admitting to betting on games, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, and sending wager information to individuals. The FBI investigated Donaghy in 2007, and when the information hit the public, the world found out that Donaghy had been betting on games from 2005 to 2007 that he officiated.
During this time, Donaghy had been accepting money from a professional gambler in exchange for insider information. As a result, Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. While in court, he admitted his gambling problem and stated that the NBA encouraged referees to call fouls to manipulate the game results, which heavily harmed the league’s credibility.
How Sports Officials And Teams Can Deter The Integrity Of The Game
These are just a handful of the significant sports scandals that have deterred the integrity of the game, there are thousands of examples, and there will be more in the future. In addition, with the release of more mobile sportsbooks and more states legalizing gambling, it only takes one person to sway a game, but in most cases, several factors are involved.
The latest question of a game being rigged for financial gain was in the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs. NFL official Ronald Torbert made headlines after an unknown user had leaked that Torbert’s son had money on the game. Although this information was deemed false, many people still believe the game was fixed due to the horrendous calls that happened during the game. When you can’t trust a sport’s integrity, it’s hard to gamble on the outcome.