The field of sports is a never-ending quest of triumph, greatness, and Rocky Balboa-esque vindication. Every year, there’s an abundance of inspiring stories that make us want to pick up a ball and shoot our way to prominence. Just like Manny Pacquiao finally making his first-ever field goal in the PBA (thank you, Chris Tiu!).
But there are also annual stories of despair and mishaps that make sports more compelling and interesting. There will always be teams and athletes who’ll make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They’re like dimwitted, careless classmates. It’s easy to abhor them but they also make school way more fun.
So without further smack, here are the Terrible Sports Moments of 2015.
Stern warning: There may or may not be poop involved.
No Bite for the Philippine Azkals
After a 2-nil win in their first meeting, the Azkals were favored to repeat over Yemen in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers last November. After all, the visitors had zero wins and the Azkals had the support of 7,000 fans at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. But shockingly, Yemen pulled off a 1-nil upset, squashing the Azkals’ hopes of making it to the World Cup in Russia.
The Azkals couldn’t duplicate their impressive
victory over Yemen in the first round
The team badly missed the services of striker Phil Younghusband, who was suspended for incurring two yellow cards, and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who was unfit to play. The squad had several chances in the second half but they just couldn’t buy a goal. Another anticlimactic end to a promising campaign by the Azkals.
Mediocrity at the SEA Games
While most countries aimed for a podium finish, RP Team honchos targeted a fifth place landing at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. In the end, the contingent finished sixth, one place shy of the mediocre goal set by the officials. The country amassed 29 gold medals, the same number in 2013 despite sending more than twice the number of athletes this year. The last time RP finished in the top three was in 2005.
Highlighting the country’s subpar showing in the biennial meet was the dreadful stint of divers John Fabriga and John Pahoyo. They both scored zero in the springboard competition after failing to complete their dives, which were as graceful and as poetic as a flat tire.
Every year, fans hope for Tiger Woods to get his once-resolute groove back. But every year, they also end up disappointed. Last February, the 14-time major winner announced the inevitable: He’ll take a leave of absence from golf with no timetable for a return. Aside from his pedestrian performances, his decision was spurred by another back surgery.
It has been two years since his crazy adultery (a reported 120 affairs!) was exposed, resulting to his struggles on the green. Yet he has failed to bounce back and regain his old dominant form. While he has yet to officially call it quits, many believe that his retirement is as certain as tomorrow. Simply put, golf will never be the same without him.
No Room for Racism, Brother!
Speaking of missing an icon, WWE will never be the same too without Hulk Hogan. He, however, didn’t give WWE much choice but to fire him. The legendary wrestler was revealed going off on a racist tirade in his infamous sex tape in 2008. He was livid that his daughter was dating an African-American, which he called the N word (clue: it’s not "Nice") several times. The incident came off the heels of another controversial racial outburst spewed by former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Where’s Randy Orton when you need him?
Hogan was removed from all WWE platforms, including a reality series. But more significantly, his already-broken reputation took another body-slam. He issued an apology but the damage has been done. Not cool at all, brother!
Bones in the Closet
Last January, many considered Jon Jones as the greatest MMA fighter of all-time after beating Daniel Cormier. Today, that chorus feels like eons ago. A few days after the fight, it was revealed that “Bones” tested positive for cocaine. He entered a drug rehabilitation facility and lasted for only a night. He maintained that he’s not a drug addict and the incident was only a one-time thing. Only it wasn’t.
The agile light heavyweight champion couldn’t elude more trouble. Less than three months later, he was charged with a felony after a hit-and-run, which injured a pregnant woman. Police also discovered marijuana in his car. The UFC stripped Jones of his title and suspended him before being reinstated last October.
It’s the saga that would never end. In the AFC championship last January, it was found out that the New England Patriots were using under-inflated footballs (they were a few microscopic pounds lighter than normal) against their archrival, the Indianapolis Colts. The Pats' star quarterback, Tom Brady, allegedly knew about it but kept his lip zipped to gain an illegal advantage (don’t ask us how). Brady denied the accusation, calling it "ridiculous."
A full-blown investigation was made by the NFL, which became a head-spinning back-and-forth affair for several months. Last May, a decision was finally made: a $1 million fine for the Patriots and a four-game suspension for Brady. A New York- based judge, however, reversed Brady’s suspension. Now, the NFL is appealing the decision. Deflategate 2016, anyone?
Brady clearly got a slap on the wrist compared to what happened to his teammate Aaron Hernandez. Last April, the Pats’ fast-rising tight end was found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013. Prosecutors claimed that Lloyd was shot because he knew too much about Hernandez’ alleged involvement in a deadly drive-by shooting in Boston in 2012.
The 25-year-old Hernandez, who recently signed a $40 million, five-year contract with the Patriots, tried to pin the murder of Lloyd on two of his friends, but to no avail. A wealth of evidence went against him, including footages from security cameras. He was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment with no chance of parole. Talk about a downward spiral for a young, talented athlete.
Sprinting to Shame
Hernandez isn’t alone in the athletes-turned-convicted-murderers list this year. As they say, misery loves company. Just last December 4, South Africa’s Court of Appeals found Oscar Pistorius guilty of murdering his girlfriend in 2013. It overturned the lesser charge of manslaughter handed out by the lower court. Only a few years ago, "Blade Runner" was an inspiration to many with his accomplishments as a sprinter despite being a double amputee. Now, he’s facing jail time.
The 28-year-old is currently under house arrest after posting bail and is set to appeal the murder charge in April. But if the conviction sticks, he could spend at least 15 years behind bars. It’s a fall from grace that no one ever saw coming.
Allegations of corruption in FIFA have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. But last May, several culprits were finally given a red card. Seven FIFA officials were arrested by the FBI in Zurich for receiving $150 million worth of bribes in the United States. Four more officials were caught in the following months. The thieving bosses allegedly made under-the-table deals with sports marketing executives regarding the rights to several football events.
As Biggie Smalls said: Mo money, mo problems
Longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter was suspended for three months due to the ongoing investigations. All in all, 16 were indicted on charges of bribery, money laundering, wire fraud, and racketeering. The arrests triggered several countries to intensify their own probe into top FIFA officials for corruption.
What happens when you eat endless bowls of hot chili a few hours before a fight? Well, thanks to MMA fighter Travis Wolford, we all know the answer. In perhaps the most bizarre sports moment of the year, Wolford pooped in the middle of a fight! He was being pummeled by his opponent Daniel Cooper when shit (literally) happened. Obviously, he couldn’t fight back since his stomach was having its own MMA rumble.
When the referee stopped the fight and Wolford, now known as the "Brown Bomber," stood up from the beating, it was too late. His stomach had already tapped out. It was one fight when someone literally got his crap beaten out of him.
For Pete’s Sake!
With 20 seconds left in Super Bowl 49, Seattle was only one yard away from annexing its second straight NFL title. The Seahawks were only down by four points and they had four attempts to score a touchdown. Plus, they had Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, the league’s premier running back. The win seemed like a foregone conclusion. But against every conceivable wisdom, head coach Pete Carroll ordered quarterback Russell Wilson to throw the ball than have Lynch run it for a SINGLE YARD!
The result of his genius call? New England’s unknown rookie Malcom Butler intercepted the pass, allowing the Patriots to escape with the trophy. The blunder is now widely considered the worst play call in NFL history. Ouch!
Praises were heaped on Aldin Ayo after piloting underdog Letran Knights to the NCAA title over the much-fancied San Beda Red Lions. With his bulging biceps and equally formidable coaching acumen, the first-time tactician whipped the Knights into a fearless, unrelenting crew. He gave the Muralla-based squad its first title in a decade.
But less than a month later, Ayo decided to pack his bags and transferred to La Salle. It was a shocking move to say the least. The Green Archers dangled a reported P9-million, three-year contract on the champion coach, who found it hard to refuse. For the Knights, it felt like finally getting a kiss from your crush and then finding out later that she banged another guy afterwards.
Home-cooking in China
As expected, China almost had zero problems advancing to the gold medal match of the FIBA-Asia Championship in Changsha. But still, that didn't stop the hosts from pulling off several unsportsmanlike and cheap antics against Gilas Pilipinas prior to the much-awaited tip-off.
Our national team's electric bus going to the game venue was delayed because it wasn’t charged. How convenient! Then when the players finally arrived and were in the middle of their shoot-around, utility men suddenly chose to "fix" the ring on their side. How convenient again! Gilas assistant coaches weren’t also given game tickets. Then of course, there were numerous dubious calls by the referees during the finals. Cheaters never win, as they say. Well, unfortunately, sometimes they do.
John Apacible hardly saw playing time as a sophomore forward of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. But he sure got his taste of the spotlight, albeit in a discomforting manner. Last October, an intoxicated Apacible was caught on camera causing public disturbance while brandishing a "COUNCILOR" vanity plate. The viral video elicited ire and laughter from social media. Even his teammate Kiefer Ravena made fun of it, joking to reporters: "I didn’t know I had a teammate who’s running for public office."
It was an unfortunate gaffe for the young player, who’s normally quiet during games. He was suspended by the team after issuing a public apology. While he can hold himself on the court, he sure can’t hold his liquor.
The much-awaited match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao didn’t live up to its "Fight of the Century" billing. It was a one-sided affair. "Money" routinely displayed his cerebral boxing style in hacking out a dominating win over Pacman. It looked like he won fair and square. Not until three months later when it was discovered that he violated rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency for injecting an illegal quantity of performance-enhancing fluids prior to the fight.
It’s an ironic twist for the brash fighter, who pushed hard for Olympic-style drug testing and accused Pacquiao of doping. To paraphrase a passage from the Bible, he who casts the first stone is a hypocrite son of a bitch.
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