This sleazy year in sports was for mature audiences only
Stop right there. Before we allow you to read any further, we'll need to see some ID. A review of the year in sleaze -- oops, we mean sports -- in 2009 is a tale for mature audiences only. Some of the randy goings-on were mildly amusing: NBA Hall of Famer
McNair wasn't alone in his infidelity. Louisville basketball coach
Given the R-rated nature of the year's developments, it was somehow fitting, although disappointing, that 2009 ended with the biggest sex scandal of them all -- the astonishing story of
Think of 2009, then, as the year of men behaving badly. We may look back on it as the year that sports fans found themselves checking the gossip sites as often as the box scores, when the over/unders we speculated about didn't involve just the next weekend's football games, but the amount that Woods' wife,
Some fans protested that the focus on the steamy side of sports figures' personal lives was misguided, that the media delved too deeply into personal lives instead of concentrating on actual competition. But in 2009 it became clearer than ever that there is no going back to the days when the private lives of famous people were considered taboo. There are too many ways for sports figures' indiscretions to make it into the public domain.
When Texas Rangers' outfielder
If we seemed obsessed with the salacious side of sports in 2009, maybe it was partly because the action on the field seemed to far less surprising. Most of the major championships were won by the usual suspects -- players and programs that knew their way around the penthouse, having visited many times before. The Lakers, Steelers and Yankees, all with long histories of success, in each added another piece of championship hardware to their trophy cases. North Carolina in college basketball, UConn in women's hoops, and Florida in college football did the same, all of which were about as surprising as the sun rising in the East.
The year wasn't exactly filled with underdog victories, but that's not to say there weren't fascinating and notable individual achievements.
In August, the Jamaican sprinter lowered his own world records by running the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and the 200 in 19.19 at the World Championships. At 23, Bolt isn't much older than Pittsburgh Penguins captain
If you find yourself in an actual argument over whether Mauer's season was the best, don't ask
Meyer suffered a brief Favre-like case of career indecision in the waning days of the year. No sooner had we learned of his plans to step down as Florida's football coach due to health issues, than Meyer, 45, changed his mind and decided to take an indefinite leave of absence instead. Gator fans were no doubt relieved for the moment, although they are no doubt hoping that Meyer doesn't become a serial flip-flopper like Favre.
But none of those athletes had as wild a ride in 2009 as the Yankees'
A-Rod, the Yankees' slugging third baseman, had a 2009 that ran the gamut from embarrassment to elation. After an SI.com story by
A-Rod wasn't the only star athlete who kept steroids in the news. Dodgers slugger
If sex and drug scandals aren't your cup of tea, perhaps you prefer mobsters. Disgraced NBA referee
In other years, that might have been a blockbuster story, but it barely gained traction when there were juicier items that grabbed our interest. In a year so full of scandal, if Donaghy or anyone else hoped to shock us, they had to do better -- or is it worse? -- than that.