Friday, 19 April 2013

Bad Sports

After a recent bad tempered 'derby' match between the Lancashire rivals of Blackburn Rovers FC and Burnley FC ended in a 1 - 1 draw, the Blackburn manager Michael Appleton was quoted as saying

"I hope it's damaging to Burnley and I hope it feels like it's the worst result they have ever had."

This remark made me wonder about what we used to call "Bad Sportsmanship" ..... in basketball F LeBron James echoed these sentiments, when after suffering a defeat in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals, and failing to shake hands with the opposition, he was asked about this 'unsporting' behaviour. He replied "I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense to me to go over and shake somebody's hand."

Of course these are not the worst examples of "Bad Sportsmanship" .... here's a few notable examples from a very rich seam of material.


In a cricket match between New Zealand and Australia, with one ball left to bowl and New Zealand needing to hit six runs off the last ball to tie the one day international, Australia captain Greg Chappell told his brother Trevor to bowl it underarm. An underarm ball made it virtually impossible for the batsman to hit the required six and so Australia won the game. The incident enraged the New Zealand prime minister who publicly criticised it as 'unsporting'.


Diego Maradona used his hand to cheat a victory over England in a World cup Quarter Final, and Thierry Henry used his hand to cheat the Irish out of World Cup qualification.

Maradona Cheating


A match between Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield ended with Tyson disqualified, but only after attempting to bite Holyfield's ear for a second time (he was only docked two points for the first chunk of ear that he removed) .... even in the boxing world, which has seen a lot of bad sportsmanship since the Queensbury rules were instigated, this was considered bad form. Mind you, he had previously been quoted prior to fight against Lennox Lewis with “I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children”, so subtle he ain't.
Mike Tyson - Biting Holyfield's Ear

Motor Racing:

When Michael Schumacher was leading the championship by one point over Damon Hill in the final race, there was much speculation after Damon Hill was forced to retire, when Schumacher's car collided with Hill's during Hills attempt to pass Schumacher's (and secure the points to win the World Title). Schumacher remained World Champion.


In 1972 the US Olympic basketball team lost to the Soviets in a much disputed (well by the Americans) final.  The US team refused to attend the medal ceremony and there are 12 silver medals that have never been claimed.

1972 US Olympic Basketball Team Loses To Russia


In the 1999 Ryder Cup, the result of the match had come down to the 17th hole, between the US player Justin Leonard, and the European player Jose Maria Olazabal. Leonard made a 45-foot putt to claim a birdie, but before Olazabal could make his putt to tie the match, the American team started dancing and cheering on the putting green (this was behaviour that would had them all excluded in a tour event). When they finally were cleared from the green, Olazabal, his concentration shattered, missed the putt.


  1. Luis Suarez could easily be added to the list. He has already served a 7 match ban for biting a player in Holland, and another ban for racial abuse in England.

    Now he's accused of biting a Chelsea player

  2. Luis Suarez has also used his hand to cheat a goal in the World Cup finals.

  3. Thierry Henry also used his hand to score a goal against Ireland in a World cup qualifier.


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