Sports Conspiracy Theories

Chimee Ezike, Writer

Sports are one of the largest forms of entertainment today. It’s watched all across the world and consumers love a certain player or team for a multitude of reasons, but what if I told you games can be skewed in favor of a more marketable team. What if I told you a generational talent was unfairly obtained in order to benefit the sports organization as a whole. Would you still enjoy watching that team? Would you even enjoy watching the sport? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest sports conspiracy theories of all time.


The Lottery

The year was 1985, the NBA had just announced a new process in which teams would select young athletes. A lottery would be held, meaning teams with the least wins would have higher odds of picking first and teams with the most wins would have the lowest. That year, one of the greatest college prospects, Patrick Ewing, was available coming off a season averaging 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks. New York is one of the most well-known cities in the world and happened to be home to the most valuable NBA organization. They were clearly in need of a star to put a franchise back on the map after a horrible 24 win season. 

So the cameras were rolling as NBA commissioner, David Stern, went into the bowl of cards marked with NBA team logos, but one had a noticeable bend on its corner. It just so happened that that dented card was chosen to have the first pick in the NBA draft. Who did that card belong to you ask? The New York Knicks, of course, and with their first pick, they selected college phenomenon, Patrick Ewing. He would later go on to be one of the best centers ever and provide the Knicks with multiple years of winning.

I’m personally on edge with how I feel about this, but it does make perfect sense from a business standpoint. I will give the NBA the benefit of the doubt because if they wanted to give the Knicks the first pick from the get-go, they’d probably choose a better way of concealing the secret. However, it’s not far-fetched for the NBA to use the “too obvious” tactic to convey their innocence.



Spygate. A conspiracy that can possibly change your complete outlook on one of the most successful franchises ever. Spygate consists of the New England Patriots videotaping opponents’ hand signals to gain a competitive advantage. They were fined $500,000 – the largest NFL fine ever – at first because their footage was said to be “vague”. However, this fine was issued before a thorough investigation of the Patriots facility. Once private investigators searched the facility, hand signals and other material that dated back from 2000 were found. What happened to the information you ask? It was immediately burned and New England suffered a four-game suspension given to Tom Brady, along with the team’s $1 million fine and loss of a 2016 first-round draft pick.

This leaves a lot of questions to be asked. Why was the information immediately burned rather than properly shared with the entire league? What specific intel did the patriots have?

I personally believe they decided to damage all the information to keep the integrity of the league intact. Who wants to watch sports knowing there’s a high chance of unfairness taking place?  I don’t necessarily believe the Patriots needed the information to win, but I believe it gave them a competitive edge. Knowing teams’ common plays or even their in-game tendencies (such as running the ball with a running back instead of throwing it) allows for more points for your team. It also helps that the Patriots were a heavy NFL revenue maker. So, allowing them to basically go unpenalized for ratings and money is also a large factor. But what do you think? Is the NFL truly innocent and only destroyed the evidence to avoid other teams obtaining it? Or do you agree with me that there is something going on behind the scenes?