5 Career-Ruining Sports Betting Scandals


Posted: April 4, 2014

Updated: October 1, 2018

Much to the disappointment of fans, not all professional sports players have integrity. Here are five famous scandals that ended sports careers.

Sports fans can be very forgiving with their favorite teams. Sure, sometimes they’ll get angry or curse at the clumsier players, but this never stops them from coming back to see every game, always wearing the team’s T-Shirts and waving foam hands and banners, like the loyal supporters they are.

However, with corrupt players, it’s a whole different thing. Throwing games or intentionally messing with the outcome of a sports match seems to be the one thing that fans aren’t willing to forgive and forget. Especially the ones who enjoy some online and mobile betting and end up losing a lot of money.

There was a time when it was very risky to bet on sports in the US, especially on baseball. Throughout the 1900’s, America has seen a lot of corruption in the field. Fans and team members often look the other way when it comes to great players, but some of them were simply never forgiven. Or forgotten, considering that they are mentioned even today in the history of sports scandals.
So here are five memorable controversies which actually ended up ruining the careers of the sportsmen involved:

  1. NY Gangster Boss Pays Chicago White Sox Key Players

    In 1919, the Chicago White Sox went against the Cincinnati Reds, in an epic World Series battle. And they lost. However, this was not necessarily because the White Sox were terrible, but rather because several players cheated and conspired to throw the series. They got a lot of money for it too, because gangster Arnold Rothstein offered to pay them generously.
    The plan was cooked up by first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil, who recruited seven of his team-mates , but didn’t really pay off in the long run because all players involved ended up facing charges of conspiring to defraud the public. Sure, they were eventually acquitted, but all eight players were banned for life from major league baseball.
    In an article published in Sports Illustrated in 1956, Gandil admitted he was guilty and wrote: “To this day I feel that we got what we had coming.”

  2. Point Shaving

    Let’s move on and learn some specific cheating terms, while we’re at it. Take “point shaving”, for instance. It’s when a player stops the team from winning by a certain point spread. And it’s what athletes at seven American schools did in 1951, in what is today known as the City College of New York point shaving scandal.
    It involved Manhattan College pro Henry Poppe, the school’s career-scoring leader, who was being bribed to cheat. He even tried to get his team-mate Junius Kellogg to join in, but he went and told the coach, so the whole conspiracy was uncovered. Poppe was put behind bars and then given three years’ probation. After a long and complicated investigation, 32 other athletes ended up before a judge.

  3. Teaming Up With “Goodfellas” Criminal

    Boston College basketball pro Rick Kuhn thought he’d found an easy way to make some extra money during the 1978-1979 season, by teaming up with gangster Henry Hill. Does that name ring a bell? Of course it does, the famous criminal was played by Ray Liotta in “Goodfellas”. The gangster paid Kuhn and other team-mates of his thousands of dollars to shave points in nine games.
    What a great season that must have been!
    Kuhn was initially sentenced to 10 years in jail – a record prison sentence given to a college athlete. Luckily for him, it was later reduced to 28 months. Hill was also arrested, but he was charged with drug trafficking and became an informant.

  4. Banned For Life for Betting on Own Team

    Pete Rose played for the Cincinnati Reds between 1963 and 1986. He was truly one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. Until he messed everything up, of course. The baseball pro was caught placing wagers on games, including when his own team was playing. So in 1989, he was banned for life.
    For several years he claimed he was totally innocent, but in 2004 he finally admitted that he did, in fact, bet on his team. Of course, he gave it a sentimental twist and added: “I bet on my team to win every night because I loved my team, I believed in my team.”

  5. Record Signing Bonus Gambled Away

    Last but not least, we have to mention Arthur Schlichter, who started playing for the Baltimore Colts in 1982. The guy clearly had problems controlling his betting habit, because he managed to gamble away every penny of his $350,000 signing bonus before his rookie season was over.
    On year after he joined the team, National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle decided to suspend him for placing “’sizable bets” on several NFL games, in the 1982 season and postseason. The reforming process didn’t go well for the sportsman. At the moment, he is serving a 10-year sentence in prison after he illegally promised tickets to various games to over 50 people.

Despite their great talent, the names of these professional sports players will always be associated mostly with betting corruption. These people risked their careers for bribes. But luckily, they didn’t get away with it.

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