Sports Crimes, Ranked

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Sports Crimes, Ranked

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering hot sauces, Ballghazi, jacking it in the doctor's office, and more.

Your letters:


Where does under-inflating footballs to fit the gripping preferences of your quarterback fall on the scale of crimes within the NFL universe? (Let's put aside ACTUAL crimes that would be tried in the court system and focus only on things that are considered crimes within the context of pro football.) Where does this crime fall? Is it akin to a high-end speeding ticket? Reckless driving? Petty theft? Low-level tax evasion? Or is it more serious … like assault and battery?


It's a misdemeanor. The hilarious thing about this whole BALLGHAZI fiasco is that pretty much everyone, even the people who want Belichick suspended for 80 years, agrees that the Patriots would have kicked the crap out of Indianapolis regardless of internal football air pressure. So if the crime has little discernible impact on the end result, I dunno how you can get all that worked up over this shit. I guess they believe that New England violated the SPIRIT of football somehow. "People, people! Our brain-bashing fiesta has RULES, by gum!"

Back in 2012, the Chargers were fined $20,000 for using Stickum to help catch the ball. That's basically the same crime: doctoring the ball or your gloves so you can get a better grip. You could argue that using Stickum is much more effective for holding onto the ball than letting a little bit of air out. It's the speeding ticket of sports crimes. Here is how I would break down the list of sports crimes, from evil to benign:

1. Bashing Nancy Kerrigan in the knee with a baton. Kinda goes without saying.


2. Loaded boxing gloves. It's one thing to doctor a football so you can grip it better. It's another thing to take the padding out of your boxing gloves or wrap your hands in plaster before breaking a guy's face. Oh sure, we all laughed when the Hansons put on the foil … turns out they were trying to hurt people!

3. Match-fixing. Being a sports fan means that you have to accept a certain level of, shall we say, "variance" when it comes to the integrity of the final outcome. I know that the refs are shitty and the rules are often vague and teams will do anything they can to get a leg up on the competition. I can accept the final result of a game knowing that all of those monkey wrenches are firmly wedged in place. But taking dives is a sports crime that really, truly, fucks with the integrity of the competition. Anyone who thinks Ballghazi in on the same level as that is a nutjob. Match-fixing is something that does and should generate real outrage. I'm okay with banning fuckers for life if they get caught.

4. Boarding a dude in hockey/assorted blindside hits. Also known as pulling a Claude Lemieux ...

Yeah no, that's really wrong. Please don't do that.

5. Pulling a Mike Tomlin. By the way, the Steelers were threatened with the loss of a draft pick when Tomlin stepped onto the field and essentially prevented Jacoby Jones from running a kickoff back for a touchdown, but the NFL never followed through with it. Tomlin got a $100,000 fine, and that was that. I wonder if that was because the Steelers are one of the Ginger Hammer's precious "lead by example" franchises? PUT MUELLER ON IT.


6. Doping racehorses. Wanna dope up human players? Fine. But don't inject poor Muse's Songcraft with 30 pounds of Toradol and then not let me in on the action. That's not fair. I want my money.

7. Rigging the salary cap. Both the Niners and Broncos were found in violation of this after winning championships. And they basically got away with it! Both teams got fined. Both teams were stripped of minor draft picks. But they got to keep the trophies. I'd do that shit every year if those were the only consequences. In terms of affecting the outcome of a sporting contest, Ballghazi isn't within 50 miles of this underhanded shit.


8. Corking your bat. If you're gonna doctor your equipment, you may as well get your money's worth out of it.

9. Bounties. This is a kind of a gray area in football, since your average defender is looking to hurt people on every single play. That's kind of his job. But if it's a thing where Gregggggggg Williams is handing out $5,000 bonuses for you to twist ankles in the pile, you deserve to be shit on.


10. Spying/Stealing signs. This is the sports equivalent of counting cards. You can do it. But if you get caught, the big burly pit boss comes up behind you, taps you on the shoulder, and politely escorts you to the back room, where Moose and Rocco are waiting with the hammer.

11. Sending opposing players hookers the night before a game. Oh, LT. You little scamp!


12. Nut-tapping. DUDE! Not cool!

Undercutting the dunker also belongs here. Total dick move.

13. PEDs. Back in the days when Ben Johnson and the East German Olympic team got caught with 'roids, it made a bit more sense to get worked up over PEDs, because a) they weren't quite as widespread (although that's probably me being naïve), and b) there was a much clearer line of differentiation between who was using them and the benefits those drugs conferred. There are so many illegal PEDs and legal supplements now that I have a hard time differentiating between who is cheating and how much of an edge these cheaters supposedly have.


14. Gambling on your sport. Only because it probably means you took a dive at some point. Pete Rose TOTALLY took dives. I know he says he didn't, but fuck him. He did.

15. Flopping. Perfectly legal, but I get to call you a bitch for it. That's a fair trade. You bitch.


16. Doctored balls. You still have to throw the thing, right? The throwing part is still a real bitch. By the way, the old clip of Joe Niekro trying to get away with scuffing baseballs remains a masterpiece of high comedy:

I love that he thought he could get away with doing this on television, with people all around him, and his dopey emery board lying there in full view of everyone on the field of play. Only a baseball player would think that was a great plan. "No one will ever know!"


17. Sneaking a folding chair into the ring. Would be higher on the list if it weren't pre-scripted.


So, I found this. Seems a little overzealous in its insensitivity, no? I feel like the bombs put an unnecessarily fine point on a hot sauce that's already called "Tears of Hiroshima."

This is the kind of thing you can find at craft fairs in Pennsylvania.

Image for article titled Sports Crimes, Ranked

Yeah, I think it's fair to call that hot sauce PROBLEMATIC. Too soon, Tears of Hiroshima people! I don't even want to see their line of Holocaust-inspired pork rubs. "The taste will wipe you out!"

There are four billion boutique hot sauces out there, and you know what? They're all worthless. The only hot sauces you need in your cabinet are Frank's, Tobasco, Sriracha, that one tasty Korean hot sauce (gochujang), and the habanero sauce of your choice. Everything else is just stocking-stuffer horseshit. You don't need any of it. SUCK ON THAT, BIG HOT SAUCE.



What's to stop Dan Gilbert from walking into the Cleveland City Council four years from now, demanding that they kick in $50 million from the general fund in order to help re-sign LeBron James so that he doesn't bolt for the Lakers or whatever? Gilbert could argue that losing LeBron would make the team so shitty and unmarketable that attendance and merch sales would collapse, leading to sales-tax declines, job losses, reduced spending at local businesses near the arena, etc. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it's essentially the same horseshit reasoning every owner uses to make the government pony up dough for stadium financing, and they always fall for it.

I give it 20 years before debt service on major-league contracts starts becoming a line item in municipal-budget books.


Well, I think a lot of the stadium subsidies and tax breaks that owners currently enjoy are an indirect method of doing precisely what you're describing. You use the money you save from your boondoggle lease to go pay LeBron his jillions and then retire to your yacht to eat sushi off of a hooker's tummy. That's the how the ownership model currently works.

I don't think any owner will try to finagle addition subsidies for such specific overhead expenses as LeBron's salary, mostly because the process would take too long. The Vikings needed 20 YEARS before they finally swindled taxpayers into building their crook owners a new glass barn. By the time a Pay LeBron bill passed through the city council, it would have 67 bathtub-zoning-law amendments, and LBJ would be 50 years old. Pro owners want a lasting, permanent subsidy, and they usually get it. No need to repeat the process on a smaller scale many times over, especially if it pisses everyone off.



Let's say the Super Bowl is a close game throughout, and the Patriots put together a game-winning drive with time expiring to win by one point. After all the post-game ceremony and celebration, it's discovered that the ball used during that game-winning drive was deflated in the exact same manner as that of the Ballghazi controversy. Does the NFL have to step in and disqualify the Patriots, retroactively making Seattle the Super Bowl champions?


I don't think they would do that. I think they would quadruple whatever punishment they already have in store for Brady and/or Belichick and/or that poor locker-room attendant (what the fuck, Mack?!). They would suspend them both forever and fine them a billion dollars each and strip away 10 draft choices and impound the ballboy's car and place the entire New England area on "pizza arrest" for a full calendar year and force the team to trade for Jay Cutler … but they wouldn't alter the final score of the game. They will never do that. You would have to find arsenic in the other team's Gatorade cooler to get the final score of an NFL game overturned after the fact. It'll never happen. Slippery slopes, etc.

But I would like all this to happen. Ballghazi has already given me so much joy in the form of shitty takes and Boston fans fulfilling every whiny stereotype about Boston fans. I'd be happy to see this scandal taken to the next level.



Recently, I've been wondering about the timing of when to eat your french fries with a meal. This past week really threw me off when I went to a fast-food joint with my buddy and a friend of his that I sort of know. We were all drunk from a night out, and I needed the grease. I was always of the mind that when you order a side of fries or if they come with the meal, you can eat a couple fries before starting your burger or whatever, but your burger comes first. It's fine to eat fries during the meal, and even better when you finish your burger and you still got a handful of fries left to clog whatever arteries you missed.

But this dickhole my buddy brought along decided to eat his entire order of fries before he even touched his burger. I was pretty appalled in my drunk stupor, but I held it together and didn't say anything. But what really got me was that he couldn't finish his burger because he "felt full." I lost it on him. My friend and I thought it best for me to just walk home to blow off the remaining steam I had before things got really outta hand. Was I out of line? Or was I justified for giving that meal-wrecking asshole a piece of my mind?


If I'm having a burger with fries, I always prioritize the burger, as you do. I eat a couple of fries as an unofficial appetizer. But then it's BUSINESS TIME. I pick that burger up, and I do not put it back down until it's gone. You can't just let a burger get cold like that. Why order a burger otherwise? It's hot and juicy and begging for you. GO TO IT.

Circumstances change if you've ordered something else to go with your fries: steak, mussels, chicken fingers that are crazy hot, etc. When it comes to that kind of meal, I usually alternate between stuffing my face with a mouthful of fries and taking a bite of the main dish. That makes sense, right? It's like any other side dish at that point. Everything on your plate is piping hot and ready to enjoy, and it'll all be gone within three minutes of arriving at the table, right? Maybe you're at some place that's world famous for its fries, so you go all in on those for a bit while exclaiming, I CAN'T STOP EATING THESE! to the rest of the table.


Otherwise, I guess this is really a matter of whether or not you're one of those Andy Rooney types who eats everything in order and won't let one food touch the other food on your plate, etc. If that's how you roll, let me get you a TV-dinner tray and a cloth bib for you, MY WIDDLE BABYKINS.



Once in a while, I hear about people who spread butter on their bagel instead of cream cheese. That got me thinking: What percent of people do you think butter their bagels?


Probably five percent or so. I've seen people do butter and jam on their bagels. I don't know if it's just for a change of pace, or because they hate cheese—there are cheese-haters out there—but they do it. I don't know why you wouldn't just order toast instead. A bagel is meant to carry heavy loads: cream cheese, lox, sandwich meats, 50 pounds of hummus, etc. If you're just buttering it, you're better off going with an English muffin, or some other vessel that doesn't pack in 8,000 calories.


Let's say the entire population of earth hopped on a spaceship, all the existing infrastructure was wiped out, and we all took turns picking where to live when we touched back down.

What is the first round of that draft looking like? I'm assuming Southern California is a popular pick. Probably all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean?


Do I get to own the parcel of land where I live? Because then I'm definitely picking the California coast or anywhere other location where the real estate market will quickly recover after the global reset. Within minutes of stepping off that spaceship, my little acre in Santa Monica would already be worth $4 million, guaranteed.

Let's be honest. If this ever happened, most people would probably just go back to where they lived originally, because human beings are both loyal and unimaginative. I'd probably be on the spaceship with my friends, making sure they all just decided to stay put or move closer to me. Or we'd pick somewhere pretty like Turks and Caicos, only to find out 17 million other people picked it, leaving the islands overcrowded and unsustainable, leading to horrific war and famine. NOT COOL, MAN. Plus, what if some leftover government loyalists declared their old land rightfully theirs and murdered any new claimants?


So you have to factor all that in before making a decision. I'd want a place that's pretty, fertile, will attract lots of people (but not too many!) and therefore thrive economically, has lots of open space, and has an agreeable climate. That means your global-relocation draft would look something like this:


2. Southern California coast

3. Northern California coast

4. Wherever Shanghai once was. Watch me flip that shit to the Chinese government. PURE PROFIT.


5. Vietnamese coast

6. Italian coast

7. Southern France

8. Cuba

9. New Zealand, I guess? It sure looks pretty!

10. Southern Florida coast

11. Where Cape Town used to be

12. Southern Spanish Coast

13. Where Rio used to be

I wouldn't put Manhattan anywhere near the top of this list, but maybe that's wrong. If I still lived in NYC, I would totally vote to have the city and its population airlifted somewhere warmer and out of range of death-blizzards. But maybe there's something inherent in Manhattan's geography and climate that makes it the only place where New York City, in spirit and form, can truly exist. I was watching a documentary about the city a while back, and they had Donald Trump come on (don't laugh), and Trump explained how the bedrock underneath Manhattan was uniquely suited to supporting shitloads of buildings and city infrastructure on top of it. Now, he's probably full of shit, because he's always full of shit. But maybe, when you try to recreate NYC 800 miles to the south, you end up with Jacksonville, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.



Given that pretty much every nutritional study seems to get reversed after a while, how long does it take you to inhale a huge plate of pasta with a side of crusty rolls and hash browns when they tell us that carbs are A-OK again?


Five seconds. Oh God, what I would give to eat a whole goddamn loaf of bread in one sitting, with a bagel (not buttered!) and extra pancakes on the side. It kills me that bread is now considered an evil food (and judging by pretty much every study, eating lots of bread will make you fat as shit BOOOOOOOO). My wife brought back some fancy bread from the store once, and I put a shitload of butter on it, and if I had my druthers, I would've eaten every last slice. I used to order Indian food with both rice AND naan bread, and I would scoop the curry-drenched rice up in the naan bread and go to town in an act of carb-on-carb violence. Carbs are fucking awesome. I want no dietary restrictions in heaven. Anyone who has ever been fat dreams of dying and discovering that heaven is all-you-can-eat. If death turns out any other way, I'll be livid.


We need a "muffin top"-equivalent nickname for that weird fat roll on a lineman's upper arms when they're wearing those elbow compression sleeves/girdles. It looks like a really chubby mushroom tip on a normal shaft, but I know there is better name in this somewhere.


Oh, yeah, that gross arm flab? It kinda looks like a pit lobe. Or an arm gobbler. I always worry that the lineman has some nasty chafing right where the jersey is digging into his pit fat. I don't want raw pit fat. That would be unpleasant. I think we can just call it the Fatcep. Andre Smith should have a mammogram done on his fatceps biannually.


How often do you think doctors walk in on patients masturbating?

I've masturbated in a lot of places in my life, but I've never had the gall to jack off in a doctor's office. I mean, they could walk in any second! They never do, but still! You basically have to be a fetishist to take that risk. YOU LIVE FOR THE DANGER. I say that the average doctor walks in on a patient jacking it only once or twice in his career. Go ahead and quintuple that for nurses, especially psych-ward nurses. Poor nurses.


By the way, if a doctor keeps you waiting in a private room for longer than 10 minutes, you should be legally allowed to jack off on his stool. That should be his punishment for big-timing you.


There's a button on your desk that will grant you two million dollars if you press it. The catch is that the button also turns off all wireless communications you try to use for the next 10 years. Any computer or smartphone you touch can't access the Internet or make calls, and anytime you want to change the channel on TV, you have to get up and do it yourself, or the remote will break. Would you do it? The button is of course large, red, and faintly glowing.


YES. Not only would I get the two million dollars, but I could walk around for 10 years with the smug sense of superiority that comes from being a deliberate Mennonite. I bet I could even finagle a book deal out of it. MY DECADE OF LIVING IN THE MOMENT, BY ASSHOLE MCFUCKFACE.

Then, when the 10 years were up, I would take the biggest, longest shit in history. I would take a five-day shit to catch up on Twitterbook. (Ten years from now, Twitter and Facebook merge.) Best dump ever.



Is there a difference between a HOT TAKE and a STRONG TAKE?

I tend to think of hot takes as being quicker on the draw. Like if Josh Gordon fails another drug test tomorrow, you better have your hot take up within an hour of it happening. It can even have typos and stuff. It's gotta come from the gut, with no research of any kind. Just your blind, raging, insta-take. Whereas a strong take can happen at any time, it just has to be BRAVE and BOLD. Abe Lincoln wasn't all that. BOOM. Strong.*


(*I just made up those differences right now. I have no fucking idea. I've definitely abused the HOT TAKE jabs well past the point of being tiresome.)

Email of the week time! It's another GREAT MOMENT IN FAILED ROMANTIC GESTURES.



After just moving to Boston, I went to a party at someone's house that I did not know. Now, I'm not an outwardly social person, and was not all that successful with the ladies. So I'm at this party, and I see a pretty attractive girl. Being new to town, I figured this would be a good way to start a conversation and maybe get her to show me around. I bide my time and wait for her to go to the keg, figuring this is an easier way to strike up a conversation than approaching her cold.

I go to the tap and fill my beer. She was next in line, so I thought I would do the noble thing and fill her cup for her. After doing so, and having some brief introductions, I look and see she is wearing long sleeves. Normally not a big deal for Boston b/c the weather there sucks, but this was August, and if memory serves, pretty warm. On top of a long-sleeve shirt, I saw she had one hand inside the cuff of the sleeve, the other holding her beer.

Being the curious guy I am (my friends call me Whiskers), I asked her if she was that cold, referring to her hand in her sleeve. As soon as the words left my mouth, I noticed that she didn't have said hand in her sleeve because she had no hand. She also said, "Umm, no." At that point, rather than realize how uncomfortable I just made things, I said, "Oh, shit," which only made the situation worse and more awkward. On top of that, one of my friends ended up sexing one of her friends at the party, and both of us had to stay over since they were our rides home.

She never spoke to me again.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Image by Jim Cooke.

The Concourse is Deadspin's home for culture/food/whatever coverage. Follow us on Twitter.