Latest and Historic Controversies

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List of Controversies in the World of Wrestling Entertainment

IN THE HIGH-PROFILE WORLD OF professional wrestling, the waters have been anything but calm. Massive wrestler egos, unrealistic fan expectations, and outright deception by bookers have all played a part in wrestling scandals over the years. Lawsuits have been filed. Wrestlers have watched their careers sell-destruct. Beloved personalities have tragically died.

Thus far, professional wrestling has survived the setbacks and remained extremely popular. But the impact of the following well-publicized controversies has had a substantial effect on how wrestling is perceived by both hardcore and casual fans. For both groups, the scandals provided a rare glimpse of the real-life happenings behind professional wrestling.

Bruiser Brody

Frank Goodish, a.k.a. Bruiser Brody, was hardcore before hardcore was a common term in professional wrestling. On July 16, 1988, Brody was allegedly stabbed to death by fellow wrestler Jose Gonzales in the showers of the Bayoman Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Brody bled to death on the locker room floor, surrounded by wrestlers and waiting for medical attention that arrived too late. While Gonzales was charged with the murder, he was later acquitted and actually made a professional comeback.

Owen Hart

Over The Edge was supposed to be just another WWF pay-per-view. The Godfather vs. the Blue Blazer was supposed to be just another match. Sadly, May 23, 1999, will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days for professional wrestling. Owen Hart fell from the rafters of Kemper Arena in Kansas City to his death, a victim of a stunt gone bad. Grief gripped the Hart family, WWF co-workers, and wrestling fans everywhere. A lawsuit filed by the Hart family against the WWF and others is still in the pretrial stage.

Brian Pillman

Although he began his career as a fan favorite, Brian Pillman’s style evolved into a persona that was loud and obnoxious. His death on October 5, 1997, did not resemble that latter career style. In the quiet confines of a Bloomington, Minn., hotel room, Pillman–an employee of the WWF–passed away. According to the Hennepin County coroner, arteriosclerotic heart disease caused his death. Pillman’s affliction may have been exacerbated by painkillers he had been taking since being involved in an automobile accident on April 15, 1996.

The Von Erichs

Once known as a prominent family in professional wrestling, the Von Erich name is now more closely associated with tragedy. Five out of six sons of parents Fritz and Doris Adkisson all met untimely deaths. Jack died in 1959 at age 7 when he accidentally electrocuted himself. David died in Tokyo on February 10, 1984, at age 25. Mike over-dosed on Placidyl–a drug used as a sleeping aid–on April 2, 1987, at 23. Chris shot himself with a 9mm pistol on September 12, 1991, at age 21. Kerry committed suicide at 33 with a gunshot to the chest on February 18, 1993. Only Kevin survives.

Legal Wranglings

Arrests of Ken Patera and Mr. Saito

All they wanted was a burger after the match. The problem was how they went about getting it after being refused service. During an April 6, 1984, late-night visit to a Waukesha, Wis., McDonald’s, Ken Patera and Mr. Saito threw a boulder through the window of the closed restaurant. A brawl ensued between the wrestlers and the local police at a nearby Holiday Inn. On June 6, both men were convicted on multiple counts of battery to a peace officer, not to mention criminal damage, and sentenced to two years in prison.

Sable Lawsuit

For all the publicity the lawsuit brought Rena Mero, the outcome was rather anti-climactic. Claiming that the WWF sought to intimidate her into performing obscene and dangerous acts, Mero filed a $110 million lawsuit on June 3, 1999. She also wanted the rights to the Sable name and a full release from her WWF contract. After public gyrations by both sides, including Mero appearing in the audience during a WCW “Nitro” broadcast, the suit was quietly resolved. Mero was able to keep the proceeds from her Playboy magazine appearances, but she was held to her contract and unable to use her famous moniker.

WWF vs. WCW lawsuit

Vince McMahon had lost the services of stars Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to WCW. “Nitro” was creeping up in the ratings with the New World Order “invasion.” But McMahon still had some fight left in him. In the summer of 1996, Titan Sports, Inc., filed a lawsuit claiming that WCW was duping the wrestling public into believing that there was an arrangement between the two promotions. Hall and Nash were portrayed as “outsiders” trying to overtake WCW, and the WWF took exception. The lawsuit is still working its way through the courts.

Steroid Trial

On November 18, 1993, more than two years after former ringside physician Dr. George Zahorian was convicted of selling steroids, WWF owner Vince McMahon was indicted for possession and conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. The trial featured testimony from star witness Hulk Hogan on July 5, 1994, in Uniondale, N.Y. The 17-day trial ended when, after 16 hours of jury deliberation, McMahon was acquitted of all charges.

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February 26, 2009 Posted by | Sports Controversy, Wrestling Controversy | , | Leave a comment

World Most Renowned Cricket Controversies

1932/1933: Bodyline, England v Australia: In an effort to nullify the world’s greatest batsman, Australian Don Bradman, England employed a tactic that came to be known as ‘‘bodyline’’. The bowlers would target the batsman rather than the wicket, and the outrage it caused in Australia following injuries to many of its batsmen threatened friendly relations between the two countries.

1947 – Pakistan v India

For many years following the partition of India, games between Pakistan and India had to be played at neutral venues due to crowd trouble. In recent years, the games have been labelled ‘‘the friendship series’’, and fans have joined together in displays described as ‘‘cricket diplomacy’’.

1977 – World Series Cricket: battling the television networks

Australian multi-millionaire Kerry Packer signed 51 of the world’s leading players and established his own competition in defiance of the International Cricket Council.

The move was ultimately successful in wrestling television rights from ABC, Australia’s publicly-owned broadcaster, and modernising the game.

1980s – The rebel tours

During the 1980s, players from England, Australia, Sri Lanka and the West Indies toured South Africa, in defiance of the international ban on sporting contact with the country due to apartheid.

All of the players involved in the tours received lengthy bans.

1990s – Match-fixing

The captains of South African (Hansie Cronje), Pakistan (Saleem Malik), and India (Mohammed Azharuddin), were banned for life after a match-fixing and illegal betting investigation. Two Australian players, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, were fined for providing inside information to bookmakers.

2003 – Zimbabwe

Two Zimbabwean players, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, wore black armbands during the 2003 World Cup in protest against ‘‘the death of democracy in Zimbabwe’’. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, headed by Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, subsequently faced allegations that it had introduced a racist policy banning white players.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Cricket Controversy, Sports Controversy | Leave a comment

The Patrick Dennehy Murder Controversy

The story started when Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was reported missing in June 2003. A month later, after teammate Carlton Dotson was charged for murder, Dennehy’s dead body was found in chest-high weeds. The police had been tipped off after Dotson told a cousin of his that he shot and killed Dennehy during an argument.

But the black eye didn’t end there for Baylor University’s basketball program, as Dennehy’s girlfriend reported violations to the NCAA. Investigations revealed that head coach Dave Bliss had been improperly paying for Dennehy’s tuition, had not reported players’ failed drug tests, and had told players and coaches to lie to authorities by claiming that Dennehy had been dealing drugs. The school is now under probation until 2010.

What makes it stranger: In October 2004, Dotson was deemed to be psychologically incompetent and was sent to a mental hospital where he was evaluated. He was returned to jail after doctors doubted his accounts of hallucinations, and a week before his trial was to begin, with no plea bargain in hand, Dotson pleaded guilty in the death of Patrick Dennehy. He is currently serving a 35-year jail sentence.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | basketball Controversy, Sports Controversy | , , , | Leave a comment

Glance at Maradona Life and Controversies

Diego Maradona, who was on Tuesday named the new coach of Argentina, is a gifted yet controversial figure whose off-field antics could never overshadow his brilliance on the pitch.

The pint-sized midfielder is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time. He shared FIFA’s Player of the Century award with Brazilian legend Pele.

A glittering career at national level brought him a World Cup winners medal in Mexico in 1986 — the same tournament as the infamous “Hand of God” incident against England in the quarter-finals.

He was also part of the team that came runners-up four years later in Italy after a shameful 1-0 defeat against West Germany which saw two of their players sent-off.

At club level he played for Boca Juniors, before moving to Barcelona for two seasons in 1982.

After Spain he moved to Napoli, his bustling play and talismanic presence driving the Neapolitans to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 and a UEFA Cup triumph in 1989.

He finished his career at Boca in 1997, having retired from the national team three years earlier.

But controversy was never far from the dark-haired maestro.

He was twice banned for drug infringements, he was linked to the Mafia and was not fond of paparazzi intrusion into his private life. However, it is the illegal goal against England that towers above all else.

The “Hand of God” came during Argentina’s 2-1 win over England, when he rose above keeper Peter Shilton to punch the ball into the net. Despite English protests the referee never spotted the incident and the goal stood.

Later in the match saw Maradona at his most sublimely skilful when he weaved through the England team from the halfway line, taking on Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick to slot the ball home.

Michel Platini, the former French captain and present UEFA president, once remarked: “The things I could do with a ball, he could do with an orange.”

Balance, vision, and a powerful left foot marked him out from a very early age. At 17 he made his debut for the national side — the same age Pele was when he made his.

The spectre of drug abuse surfaced in 1991 when he tested positive for cocaine and was slapped with a 15-month ban.

Health problems followed his retirement and in 2000 he suffered a heart attack in Uruguay, reportedly brought on by a cocaine overdose. His convalescence involved a spell in Cuba at the request of Fidel Castro.

Maradona, who still enjoys the adulation of millions in his homeland despite his well-publicised battles with drink and drugs, was in Beijing to see the Argentina side win gold this summer.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Sports Controversy | , , | Leave a comment

A glance at the Historic Boxing Controversies

Boxing’s scoring system is subjective by nature. Throw in some incompetence, not to mention corruption, and the stage is set for controversy. Here are a few examples (in chronological order):

1. London, 1908: Australia’s Reginald “Snowy” Baker, who won Silver at middleweight, was the only non-British boxer to win a medal. Baker, believing that the referee was not impartial, protested his loss in the finals to John Douglas. Sour grapes? Hardly. The referee was Douglas’ father!

2. Amsterdam, 1928: Controversial decisions led to brawls among spectators watching the fights. One such brawl came after a disputed decision went against American flyweight Hyman Miller in the first-round. The U.S. boxing team considered withdrawing from the Games but was talked out of it by Douglas MacArthur, who was – at that time – President of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

3. Berlin, 1936: Lightweight Thomas Hamilton-Brown of South Africa, after losing a first-round split decision, went on an eating binge. No big deal, right? Wrong! It was discovered that one of the judges had reversed his scores and Brown was actually the winner … but he was unable to make weight for his next bout and was disqualified!

4. Los Angeles, 1984
At the 1984 Games, Evander Holyfield represented the United States in the light heavyweight division. In the second round of his semi-final match with Kevin Barry, Holyfield was disqualified. Referee Gligorije Novicic called for a “break”, which instructs the fighters to stop punching. Holyfield, apparently, did not hear the call and threw a punch which dropped Barry to the canvas. When Barry was unable to continue, Holyfield was disqualified. A disappointed Holyfield was awarded the bronze medal.

How bad was this decision? Bad enough that the referee later apologized for being out of position when he made the “break” call. Bad enough that Gold medalist Anton Josipovic of Yugoslavia pulled Holyfield to the top of the podium to join him during the medal ceremony.

5. Seoul, 1988
Roy Jones Jr. was a very successful amateur boxer, compiling a record of 121-13. At the 1988 Games, he represented the United States in the light middleweight division. Jones won every round in dominant fashion to reach the finals. The final was no different as Jones outlanded his South Korean opponent Park Si-Hun 86-32. Unfortunately, the judges were either pressured, coerced or bribed to favor the local fighter and awarded Park an indefensible 3- 2 decision. One judge admitted the decision was a mistake and all three judges ended up being suspended.

How bad was this decision? Park reportedly congratulated Jones after the bout and admitted that the decision was wrong. The decision was bad enough that, despite winning only a Silver Medal, Jones was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as Games’ most outstanding and stylistic boxer.

The IOC – despite investigating and concluding that three of the judges were wined and dined by Korean officials – allowed the decision to stand.

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Sports Controversy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The History of the Brett Favre Controversy

The Brett Favre Controversy is hitting the airwaves after his interview with Greta on her show – On the Record. Being one who is old enough to remember watching the Ice Bowl as a boy, and often would call Brett, Bart – by mistake through the years, I thought I would throw out a few thoughts.

There are always two sides to every story, and perhaps that is what makes this controversy so interesting. The story tellers from each side of it, Brett Favre and the Packer Organization, are usually honest and straightforward in their communication – so from my perspective there isn’t a rat hiding somewhere, it boils down to a conflict of values. Values?

Watching football through the 1960s and 1970s it was rare that a good player would change teams. Once they were established, they stuck with the organization that they found a home with.

As the years went by, things begin to change. Players begin to simply display what is common in our culture – looking out for #1. Loyalty to a company or an organization become less of a value or priority. I’m not condoning or condemning this, just observing. I can see both sides of the coin: Players should factor loyalty into their decisions; Organizations should treat their key people with respect and reward appropriately. Of course the salary cap impacted all these dealings and decisions.

Honestly, I am more old school. Before we cheese heads condemn Brett Favre if our fears of him playing for another team materialize, we should also remember Reggie White. When he first left the Eagles I questioned his loyalty factor – how, after being an Eagle all those years, could he put on another jersey? As time went on though, I embraced his role with the Packers, and loved watching him play. Subtly my values were changing with the societal swing – Reggie followed his heart and it worked out for him, the Packers, and the fans.

The Brett Favre controversy is simply exposing the value shift that has transpired and become very accepted in our culture. Look out for #1. Players are looking for the most money or the best place for them; and organizations are trading and drafting with the consideration of individual players being overshadowed by the win-loss/profit margin – simply the way business is done now.

It seems the Packer organization has moved without Brett. I will still be a Packer fan. Brett changed his mind and now wants to play, the Packers should let him, he has earned it. If they don’t want to start him, let him find another team to help. I will still be a Brett Favre fan.

When I heard about the Brett Favre controversy, initially I was disturbed. Now? I’ve decided I don’t have to choose. I am a Packer Fan – always have been, and always will be. I mean a REAL fan – I wore green & gold living near Chicago through the 80’s when the Bears were beating us up! I’ve also become a Brett Favre fan. He is fun to watch. I hope he plays next season. I hope he plays for the Packers. If he plays for another team, I will be cheering him on, and now have 2 team to cheer for. (Unless of course it is the Bears- every man has his limits.)

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Sports Controversy | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Famous Gavaskar-Border-Ponting Controversy

The row between Cricket Batting legends Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border was a show of pent up anger dating back from the Bedi vs Bob Simpson series in 1979 which India almost won despite unfavourable (read highly biased) umpiring by Australians:

1. Gavaskar – Quoting David Hookes incident:

This is perhaps the only incorrect reference/ remark in the whole episode.

David Hookes or anyone else, the quote was out of context and Gavaskar lost track of his argument from here, allowing the Aussies to defend themselves. Thumbs Down.

2. Ponting defending sledging by referring to it as a cultural difference:

Sure there are cultural differences and India and West Indies are at one end of the cultural spectrum and Australia and England the other end (England has lately moved to the centre of the spectrum). This end of the spectrum is red (blood), and they sure play the game hard, and would resort to any style to win – in fact winning is everything. Remember how Bob Simpson was never given out in 1977-78 series led by Bishan Singh Bedi where the Aussies could not stand up to the Indian Spinners so only their partisan umpiring saved the day for them. I don’t know how many remember the Trevor Chappell underhand delivery? New Zealanders surely do – and would never forget that. Or more recently Ponting sledging the minnow nations play – well he should go to the football world cup and take a stand there first. Similarly, England resorted to Bodyline, Vaseline (John Lever in India) and even through racial means which they abandoned later (discrimination at MCC, etc). At the West Indian and Indian end of the cultural spectrum (which is white as in peace) we’ve always known that the game has to be played fairly and even tampering the psychology of the opponent is not fair. Now this is another matter whether tampering with the psychology is fair or not, but it is a part of the game tactics. Thumbs Down.

3. Ponting – on Gavaskar Chauhan walkout:

Well that incident is a blot on Gavaskar’s otherwise spotless career (besides the Kapil Dev drop in Calcutta). Still, let us understand, they didn’t resort to sledging and their decision was hurting none other than their own team and Chauhan in particular (he lost what was in hindsight was probably his last opportunity to score a test 100). It is still much better than Aussies tricking to keep out Murali through various unfair means. It is a well know fact that only the actions of cricketers from the sub-continent have been found incorrect. Ricky Ponting, what do you say to that? Thumbs Down.

4. Ponting – on Adam Gilchrist walk out without being given out:Cosidering that Ricky Ponting did not take it lightly, and did not like Adam Gilchrist’s walk says a lot about how Aussies play their cricket – i.e. not in the best of sportsman spirit. Thumbs Down. The bottomline is that some teams want a fair results, and some teams want to just win. And recently since they have been winning, they have not been found to be a Champion, they’re just winners. West Indies were Champions. Champions are winners whatever the results. Thumbs up.

5. Border – on how Gavaskar played his cricket:

Well Gavaskar surely played it better than Border who just kept on and on till he could cross Gavaskar in the number of runs he scored – and at what average? If Border wants to refer to Gavaskar’s ODI career, well, that is about India taking time to adapt to the new style of playing cricket and Gavaskar’s 36 runs in the world cup, was the bottom. Thereafter Gavaskar adapted well and had a score of good performances. Finally it is a fact that India and West Indies took the cup much before Australia could stand up and be counted. Even Sri Lanka took it before them. Thumbs Down.

6. Border – Quoting David Hookes incident:

This is perhaps the only incorrect reference/ remark in the whole episode.

David Hookes or anyone else, the quote was out of context and Gavaskar lost track of his argument from here, allowing the Aussies to defend themselves. Thumbs Down.

7. Darren Lehmann – joining the controversy:

Darren who? Well, what is the need of Darren now to get into the controversy? Thumbs Down.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Cricket Controversy, Historic Controversies, Sports Controversy | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment