Great scandals. The world is agog. The world moves on. The world forgets. How many of the following scandals do you remember?
Where is Tim Donaghy, the corrupt NBA referee? August 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and transmitting betting information across state lines. He was paid by a professional gambler to provide inside information on NBA games. Donaghy eventually served 11 months in a federal prison.
Many great leaders write books while in prison and Donaghy was no different, penning his cheating memoir, Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA, in the midst of his incarceration. VTI-Media published his book but failed to pay royalties. Donaghy sued, won, and in June 2012 was awarded $1.62 million by a Pinellas County (Florida) civil court.
These are happy days. Indeed, Donaghy has done one better than Tonya Harding. Harding worked the freak circuit (wrestling, porn film, boxing, singing, commentator on a TV tabloid show), living off the notoriety she earned from knee-capping Nancy Kerrigan.
Donaghy tops that. He’s making money off the very thing he was sent to prison for. Tim owns a handicapping franchise. Click over to refpicks.com and enjoy, “Tim Donaghy has been making picks for Professional Handicappers for the past 2 years while on Probation and has had one of the best win percentages in the Nation.” So, dear reader, go ahead, pony up $6000 and buy 100 days of Tim’s personal NBA picks.
Assessment: Can’t keep a good man down.
Bountygate: New Orleans Saints and paying bounties to Saints players who injured an opposing player to the point where said opposing player had to be taken out of the game.
According to the NFL, defensive coordinator Greg Williams initiated the program, head coach Sean Payton tried to cover it up, and general manager Mickey Loomis failed to shut it down when ordered to do so by the team owner. Williams was suspended indefinitely, Patyon was suspended for ten months, and Loomis was suspended for eight games.
What happened? Williams’s indefinite suspension turned out to last one season. He was reinstated and went to work for the Tennessee Titans as senior assistant/defense. In February 2014, the St. Louis Rams made Williams their new defensive coordinator.
Mickey Loomis was sentenced to sit out eight games of the 2012 season, but that had no effect since he already had a job as, get this, head of basketball operations for the New Orleans Hornets. He was hired in June, three months before the 2012 NFL season began. Funny thing, Loomis got his job right after New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the Hornets.
Assessment. Some superficial wounds, no tissue damage. Sunny skies ahead.
And where is admitted steroid cheat Floyd Landis? You recall he won the 2006 Tour de France, then was busted for doping, then organized the Floyd Fairness Fund to finance his doping appeals. He raised more than $1 million, almost half from small individual donations and merchandise sales.
I wrote at the time, “There are two stories about Landis that remain vivid to me. One is allowing his mother to defend him in public. The second is holding a benefit for himself at the Ephrata (Pennsylvania) Performing Arts Center. This is his hometown, Landis was born five and a half miles from the arts center. He drew 300 people that day. His people.
“He didn’t have to go to the place where he was born, to the place where he was raised, to the place where his mother, father, brother, and sisters still live, lie to family, friends, neighbors, and then ask for their money.”
Landis copped a deal with feds that kept him out of jail and has promised to return $480,000 to, presumably, individuals who made small donations, provided he can earn the money. He lives in Connecticut now, in a guest house on the grounds of the David Williams estate. Williams is a financial trader and pro-cycling enthusiast.
Assessment: Things will never be good for Floyd.
Lance Armstrong’s life collapsed during January of 2013, after he went on Oprah to perform the classic spilling of the gut. Lance admitted doping during all seven of his Tour de France wins. At the time his net worth was estimated at $125 million.
Eight sponsors walked. Financial pundits said he lost $100, $150 million in future earnings in one day. He lives in Judicial World now, dealing with a mind-numbing number of lawsuits. The foundation he founded, Livestrong, asked him to leave. He received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong owns one coffee shop and one bicycle shop in Austin, Texas.
Assessment: Biding his time.