The world of sports is home to tales of great athletic achievement and rags to riches stories.Unfortunately, it has also played host to a number of drug scandals that have rocked the fabric of the sports themselves.The following are some of the most shocking drug scandals ever reported beyond the sports pages.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates Cocaine Scandal
How bad was the drug problem on the 1986 Pittsburgh Pirates?Not only were more than 10 players called before a grand jury for cocaine distribution and possession charges, but even the man who portrayed the team mascot, The Pirate Parrot was implicated for distributing the drug in the clubhouse and introducing many of the players to a local drug dealer.
The fallout:11 players in all were suspended from Major League Baseball, including perennial all-star Dave Parker.
4. Diego Maradona struggles with cocaine
Once arguably the greatest soccer player in the world, Maradona seemingly had it all:fame, money, the most controversial goal in world cup history, and a serious cocaine addiction.Once beloved by millions in his home country of Argentina failed a drug test in 1991 while playing in Italy and became an outcast throughout South America.His weight ballooned as his career took a nosedive and he soon found himself living only off of his glorious past.
The Fallout:Recent years have been kinder to Diego Maradona who, after completing several drug rehab programs is now in line to coach the Argentine national soccer team in the 2010 World Cup.
3. Dock Ellis pitches a no-hitter on LSD
As incredible as it seems, in 1970 pitcher Dock Ellis accomplished one of the most difficult feats in baseball, a complete-game no-hitter, while under the influence of LSD.He made the admission in 1984 and stood by it until his death in 2008.
The fallout:Although Ellis is gone, his story and this seemingly true urban myth will live on forever.
2. Steve Howe gets suspended for cocaine use 7 times
Yankee relief pitcher Steve Howe battled a cocaine addiction for most of his life.Despite more than seven drug suspensions by the league, the Yankees continued to give him chance after chance to live up to his tremendous potential.
The Fallout: Howe died in 2006 still struggling with alcohol addiction and cocaine problems.
1. Len Bias dies of a drug overdose
Len Bias was a young man of limitless talent and potential.He was drafted as the number one overall pick out of Maryland and was slated to play alongside legends like Larry Bird and Robert Parrish for his new team, The Boston Celtics. But tragedy struck the night after he was drafted.While doing a “speedball” cocaine mixture, Bias suffered heart failure and died. It took years for the team to recover emotionally from the loss.
The Fallout: The NBA and other sports leagues instituted drug awareness programs for their young players as a result of Bias’ death.
By Wendy Lee Nentwig