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Jermaine Every: From bizarre to believable, sports fans love their conspiracy theories

Jermaine Every: From bizarre to believable, sports fans love their conspiracy theories
Michael Jordan might be the gold standard for conspiracy theories. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Sports fans can be a strange bunch. We are some of the most eclectic and eccentric people out there. Outside the art folks and hipsters, we are the weirdest group. Along with that weirdness comes a certain level of tinfoil hat wearing in the form of conspiracy theories.

These conspiracy theories in sports range from rumors widely accepted as truth to the utterly ridiculous. I spoke with a few guys that have strong opinions and gathered some of the more interesting conspiracy theories. Here’s a rundown of who I spoke to and a couple of their more interesting sports conspiracy theories:

Quincy Floyd (my barber at Phayes Two Barbershop)

-There are magnets in basketballs that are used to make players miss or make shots.

-Refs are paid to officiate towards a certain outcome more beneficial to the league.

-Boxing is rigged to build up to bigger fights.

-The love of money is at the root of evil and main reason why things are rigged.

Lamont Mann (Houston Media Watch contributor, sports radio and Twitter enthusiast)

-Did Andre Johnson beat up Matt Schaub?

-Did Brock Osweiler and Bill O’Brien get physical?

-Daryl Morey fired Kevin McHale, no matter how much the media says it was out of his hands. Why would McHale’s wife go after Morey?

-Colin Kaepernick’s movement is more about starting than the treatment of minorities.

-NFL ratings aren’t the only ratings that are down. Most ratings across the board but some want it to appear like certain parties are affecting it.

Raheel Ramzanali (Gow Media personality)

-Michael Jordan’s “retirement” was due to gambling debts and may have played a role in his father’s murder.

-Craig Koshkin (my partner on The Sideline Podcast)

-The first NBA Draft Lottery in 1985 was rigged for the New York Knicks to pick first overall so they could select Patrick Ewing.

-The NBA and its refs conspired to have the Lakers beat the Kings in 2002 Western Conference Finals because of the disparity in fouls called and free throws shot.

Jerren Duronslet (lifelong friend)

-The mob was behind the death of Michael Jordan’s father. Not because of a gambling debt, but because he refused to throw the series against the Phoenix Suns.

-Kobe Bryant quit on the Lakers in Game 6 of 2006 first round series against the Suns. Lakers were up 3-1 in the series and dropped the next two games. Kobe scored 22 points in the first half, only one in the second half.

-Magic Johnson doesn’t really have HIV. He was paid off to be the face of the heterosexual male with the deadly disease.

Let those sink in for a moment. I’m more than sure that you have heard of these before. As long as sports have been around, there have been games getting thrown and or set for one reason or another. We’ve always enjoyed that what if’s, maybe’s, and possibly’s of sports. Things like this have driven discussions at the water cooler for years. One main reason I asked my barber, is because you can go to any barbershop, especially in a predominantly black neighborhood, and here some of the most insane sports takes and conspiracy theories! There were some I’ve heard over the years that are almost too crazy to mention. The one about the ball and goal having a magnet made the cut because it is so off the wall.

If I have missed any good ones you may have, or if you have heard any good ones, please contact me on Twitter. I would love to know your thoughts on the matter. Pass this on to your family and friends. Bring it up at that awkward dinner meeting your significant other’s family for the first time. Use this article as the ice breaker on your new job. Just don’t forget to let me know how it goes.

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Astros on the hunt. Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros' surge from 10 games out of first place to within two games of Seattle, catching and going past the Mariners has naturally become the top objective. It's no given to happen but it's right there. In the final series ahead of the All-Star break, while the Mariners are in the midst of four games with the lowly Angels, the last two World Series champions renew (un)pleasantries at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros enter the weekend five games ahead of the Rangers. They lead the season series with the reigning champs four wins to three. While the Astros can't quite finish off the Arlingtonians by sweeping them in this three game set, shoving them eight games back (even further back of Seattle and the current Wild Card teams) and clinching the tiebreaker would seem close to a death blow. Taking two out of three would be fine for the Astros. If the Rangers win the series, they are clearly still in the American League West and Wild Card races coming out of the All-Star break.

Last year the Rangers had the best offense in the AL. So far in 2024 they rank a mediocre eighth in runs per game. Nathaniel Lowe is the lone Ranger (get it?!?) regular playing as well as he did last season. Corey Seager has been fine but not at the MVP runner-up level of last year. Marcus Semien is notably down, as is 2023 ALCS Astros-obliterater Adolis Garcia. Stud 2023 rookie Josh Jung has been out with a broken wrist since ex-Astro Phil Maton hit him with a pitch in the fourth game of this season, though fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been the Rangers' best player. 21-year-old late season phenom Evan Carter largely stunk the first two months this season and has been out since late May with a back injury. Repeating is hard, never harder than it is now. Hence no Major League Baseball has done it since the Yankees won three straight World Series 1998-2000.

Chasing down the Division at a crazy clip

From the abyss of their 7-19 start, the Astros sweep over the Marlins clinched a winning record at the break with them at 49-44. Heading into the Texas matchup the Astros have won at a .627 clip since they were 7-19. A full season of .627 ball wins 101 games. If the Astros win at a .627 rate the rest of the way they'll finish with 92 wins, almost certainly enough to secure a postseason slot and likely enough to win the West. Expecting .627 the rest of the way is ambitious.

With it fairly clear that Lance McCullers is highly unlikely to contribute anything after his latest recovery setback, and Luis Garcia a major question mark, what Justin Verlander has left in 2024 grows more important. With the way the Astros often dissemble or poorly forecast when discussing injuries, for all we know Verlander could be cooked. Inside three weeks to the trade deadline, General Manager Dana Brown can't be thinking a back end of the rotation comprised of Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss should be good enough. The Astros have 66 games to play after the All-Star break, including separate stretches with games on 18 and 16 consecutive days.

All-Star MIAs

Viewership for Tuesday's All-Star game at Globe Life Field in Arlington will be pretty, pretty, pretty low in Houston. One, All-Star Game ratings are pitiful every year compared to where they used to be. Two, the Astros could be down to zero representatives at Tuesday's showcase. Kyle Tucker was rightfully named a reserve but had no shot at playing as he continues the loooong recovery from a bone bruise (or worse) suffered June 3. Being named an All-Star for a ninth time was enough for Jose Altuve. He opts out of spending unnecessary time in Texas Rangers territory citing a sore wrist. This despite Altuve playing four games in a row since sitting out the day after he was plunked and highly likely to play in all three games versus the Rangers this weekend. Yordan Alvarez exiting Wednesday's rout of the Marlins with hip discomfort and then missing Thursday's game seem clear reasons for him to skip, though he has indicated thus far he intends to take part. Yordan is the most essential lineup component to the Astros' hopes of making an eighth straight playoff appearance.

Ronel Blanco should have made the American League squad on performance, but pretty obviously his 10 game illegal substance use suspension was held against him. As it works out, Blanco will pitch Sunday in the last game before the break which would render him unavailable for the All-Star Game anyway. Blanco is eligible to pitch, but given the career high-shattering innings workload Blanco is headed for, no way the Astros want him on the mound Tuesday. Just last year the Astros kept Framber Valdez from pitching in the game.

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting on Tucker's return, the Astros have also been waiting on Chas McCormick to get back to something even faintly resembling the hitter he was last year. McCormick routinely looks lost at the plate. He has four hits (all singles) in his last 32 at bats with his season OPS pitiful at .572. During the break the Astros should seriously weigh sending McCormick to AAA Sugar Land and giving Pedro Leon a try in a job share with Joey Loperfido.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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