The Watergate scandal was serious stuff. Deflate-gate–not so much.
The political scandal that brought down Richard Nixon and defined the mid 70sturned the country upside-down and set a standard for American investigative journalism.
The sports world has had plenty of gates as well. As the suffix “gate” seems to have been redefined as a somewhat comical controversy taken with a grain of salt, it seems to make sense that many sports-related issues have been tagged as gates.
Here’s a brief look at some of the biggest as well as some of the most trivial sports controversies named a “gate” by media outlets:
Patriots fans know this one pretty well. There’s a good chance the NFL will throw the book at Pats coach Bill Belichickfor deflate-gate as it will be his second pretty big offense.
Back in 2007, Belichickwas fined $500,000 and the team $250,000 for videotaping defensive signals from opposing teams prior to facing them. The scandal got attention from PA Senator Arlen Spector and eventually also cost the Pats their first round pick in 2008.
A New York Jets assistant coach, Sal Alosi, tripped Nolan Carroll on a Miami Dolphins kick return and was suspended.
This was a scandal involving some disgruntled Browns fans showering players and refs with bottles and debris after a possible game-changing touchdown was taken off the board.
It all came crashing down one Thanksgiving weekend in 2009 for Tiger Woods when his indiscretions with his wife,Elin Nordegren, blew up in a big way. A few days after a tabloid printed a story about his cheating,hedrove into fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedge and was treated for minor facial lacerations and received a ticket for careless driving. He wife then helped him from the car using a golf club. Tiger never was the same again.
The Saints coaching staff and defense were harshly punished, most notably head coach Sean Payton who was suspended for a year, after bounties were offered for big hits, or injuries to opposing offensive players.
Remember when Ken Griffey Jr. returned to the Mariners in 2010 after years away with the Reds and White Sox? Well he probably doesn’t either–he was too busy catching Zzz’s in the M’s dugout.
One of the most serious on the list, Ponygate was the complicated web of massive NCAA violations SMU’s football team perpetrated — garnering them the death penalty in 1987.
The 1978 Steelers used shoulder pads when they weren’t allowed to prior to the NFL season. The infraction cost them a third round pick in 1979.
The successful plot by team owners to move the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA today. Seattle still has no NBA team.
Ohio State football players, five of them, were forced to sit out by the NCAA for violations that were highlighted by improper benefits in the form of tattoos.
“I learned more about tattoos than I ever really want to possibly know,” athletic director Gene Smith said back in 2010. “As a student-athlete, you’re not allowed to use your persona to get discounted services.”