Sports betting has always been controversies’ favorite child. Let us have a look at some of the most talked-about conspiracies and controversies in the history of sports betting.
Sports betting Controversies
“The Black Sox” Conspiracy of 1919
Happened a century ago, “The black Sox” conspiracy of 1919 continues to be the most talked-about conspiracy in sports history. It has been referenced in many movies and popular books such as The Godfather II.
In the 1919 world series of baseball, eight members of the Chicago white sox were accused of intentionally throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. For this act, they were compensated by mobster Arnold Rothstein’s sports betting syndicate.
Fundamentally, the owner of White Sox(Charles Comiskey) gave rise to the conspiracy. Comiskey had a history of underpaying his employees. A rumor states that the name“Black Sox” was derived from Comiskey’s reluctance to pay for the laundering of player’s white jerseys, leaving them stained with the accumulation of sweat, dirt, and grime.
Due to this, eight players purportedly agreed to fix the World Series for the mob. Though the intention is not clear till date, it is widely believed that the majority of these eight players fixed the series not solely for money, but to get back at Comiskey, too.
Ali vs. Liston, Round II
The round two of the 1965 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston (former heavyweight champion of the world) is one of the most legendary controversies.
Ali was fighting against Liston at St. Dominic’s Hall in Lewiston when he gave Liston a “phantom punch”. The “phantom punch” refers to the blow by Ali due to which Liston was sent in the canvas just under two minutes into the first round. Liston stayed down for 10 seconds, and Ali won the decision on a technical knockout. It was so fast that many in the arena didn’t see the punch, and many reported hearing Ali yell, “Get up and fight, sucker!” in the immediate aftermath. Many believe that Liston purposefully threw the match.
There are many theories as to why Liston threw the match, the most common being the mob pressured Liston to go down as part of an extensive sports betting.
Battle of the Sexes
The “Battles of the Sexes” was a 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (the second-ranked female tennis player in the world), and retired Wimbledon champion, Bobby Riggs. The match was played with an intention to find out whether a top female competitor could hold court with a male counterpart. The winner was set to receive a $100,000 prize.
Though Riggs was overconfident, to everyone’s surprise, king won comfortably 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, This gave rise to a huge controversy.
This match turned into a very famous Hollywood movie under the same name. Whether it was a conspiracy or not it is not clear, however, this match marks a very significant event in the history of gender relations.