Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is embroiled in an international incident after his visa was revoked by Australian authorities over alleged irregularities in his travel declaration form. Djokovic’s unvaccinated status is at odds with Australia’s COVID-19 protocols and could derail his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Djokovic is hardly the first athlete to kick up a major scandal, even surrounding COVID-19 safety. Some flouted social distancing protocols or tried to pass off fake vaccination records.
Sports are often an escape from reality — an opportunity to set aside the personal or political issues in our lives and simply sit down and watch a game for a few hours. But every once in a while, real world issues creep into the arena.
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of scandals that have rocked the sports world by reviewing notable examples of misconduct by athletes and other sporting figures and organizations, using reports from sources such as ESPN, CNN, and The New York Times.
The biggest scandals in sports history run the gamut — some involve famous athletes cheating to gain an edge on the competition, while other, more serious institutional wrongdoings, have tainted entire leagues and competitions. After being caught, athletes have sometimes faced enormous fines and even lifetime bans from their sport. These are the most severe punishments in sports history.
Other times, the scandals involve athletes or other sporting personalities committing serious crimes off the field, including violent attacks, sexual assault, and even murder.