Every-Thing Sports

Screwjobs are an unfortunate part of sports and our culture

Screwjobs are an unfortunate part of sports and our culture
NOLA.com/Times-Picayune

By now we all know exactly what happened at the end of regulation in the NFC Championship game. The refs blew a blatant pass interference call that could've sent the Saints to the Super Bowl. Yes, there were other plays that could have been made in the game that would have resulted in this play either being a moot point, or it not having occurred at all. Nevertheless, it happened, guilt by all parties involved was admitted, and it won't change a damn thing.

The sad part is that there's nothing new under the sun, and screwjobs are a part of that. Things like this have gone on for years in one way, shape, form, or another. Here's a look at several scewjobs that are either proven/acknowledged, or widely accepted:

2002 NBA Western Conference Finals game six

Disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy

Getty Images

The Lakers were down 3-2 entering game six. They won that pivotal game 106-102 amidst a host of questionable calls. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers shot 27 free throws. Overall, they had a 40 to 25 advantage in free throw attempts in that game. The fact that convicted felon Tim Donaghy was on the ref crew that game tends to add to the idea that this game was rigged. Donaghy was sentenced to two 15-month sentences to be served concurrently and three years probation for his role in a gambling scandal on July 29, 2008. We can all thank him for forever thinking sports are rigged.

The Montreal Screwjob

Bret Hart confronting Vince McMahon backstage

wwe.com

November 9, 1997 will live in infamy for wrestling fans. Pro wrestling has pre-determined outcomes of every match, but this one was different. Bret Hart was set to leave then WWF for then rival WCW amidst a contract dispute. To complicate matters, he was the champ at the time. Vince McMahon didn't want Hart taking his title to his biggest rival who was threatening his existence. McMahon called for the bell prematurely while Shawn Michaels had Hart in his own submission hold and all hell broke loose. The picture used here was taken right before Hart ended up punching McMahon in the face. Hart didn't want to lose in Canada and has maintained he was never planning on taking the title with him when he left. McMahon, sporting a black eye, came on Monday Night Raw the following Monday and explained the situation famously saying "Bret screwed Bret" and the his bad guy persona of Mr. McMahon was born.

The Titanic

The Titanic sinking

Raymond Wong, National Geographic

Billed as the ship that would never sink, the RMS Titanic was huge disaster. It was an 883' long engineering flop that sank on it's maiden voyage. There were 2,224 people on board and more than 1,500 of them died. Most of you will only remember the movie and the song, but this was an epic fail in real life. Two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg on its sixth day in service, it was nothing more than ocean debris. Craziest thing about it was that there were a lot of rich people on board due to the first class accommodations.

The NCAA

The legal mafia of college athletics

NCAA.com

Where do I even start with this load of crap? Whether it's allowing coaches to move from job to job freely while holding "student-athletes" hostage, or it's making money hand over fist while restricting those "student-athletes" from monetarily capitalizing on their image or success, the NCAA is a organization built on hypocrisy. The land is littered with stories of "student-athletes" who have been screwed by the NCAA over the years for one reason or another. The transfer portal in football has recently given a bone to football players, but it came after years of pressure. Theodore Roosevelt must be rolling in his grave.

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The NBA All-Star Game needs improvement. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Voting has begun on NBA.com for the 73rd NBA All-Star Game, scheduled for Feb. 18 at Gainbridge Field House in Indianapolis.

The game will return to the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format – no more schoolyard choose-up game played by gazillionaires going through the motions before one last shopping spree at the local mall.

Here’s a better idea: instead of East vs. West, make the game a contest between U.S. players and international players. Switch the location for the game back and forth, one year in the U.S., next year in Europe or Africa. Then the guys will have something to play for.

Basketball is a geographical contradiction. While it’s the only major sport 100-percent “invented” in the U.S., albeit by a Canadian grad student in Massachusetts, basketball belongs to the world now.

About 30 percent of the NBA (125 players from 40 countries) is comprised of players born outside our borders. Every team in the NBA has at least one international player. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks lead the way with eight foreign-born players. The current Rockets roster has four international players: Dillon Brooks (Canada), Alperen Sengun (Turkey), Boban Marganovic (Serbia) and Jock Landale (Australia).

The NBA doesn’t just have open borders – foreign-born players, once novelties, dominate the league. If the best U.S. players took the court against the best international players – and they played the game for real - I’m thinking the opening Vegas line would favor international players by 10 points.

Consider, the last five Most Valuable Players come from foreign lands: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) in 2019 and 2020, Nikola Jokic (Serbia) in 2021 and 2022) and Joel Embiid (Cameroom) in 2023.

By the way, the first international player to be named MVP was Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria in 1993.

Four of the five current leading scorers are international players. 1 - Joel Embiid (34.4 ppg). 2 – Luka Doncic from Slovenia (32.9). 3 - Kevin Durant from the U.S. (31.0). 4 – Shae Gilgeous-Alexander from Canada (30.7), and 5 - Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.6).

The first pick in the 2023 NBA draft was Victor Wembanyama from France. He was the 14th international player to go No. 1 overall.

OK, it’s time to announce the starting lineups and reserves for the 2023 U.S. vs. International All-Star Game.

International frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid – the last five MVPs. Backcourt: Shae Gilgeous Alexander and Luka Doncic.

Reserves: Jamal Murray (Canada), Kyrie Irving (Australia), Rudy Gobert (France), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), Bojan Bogdanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia).

Is there any reason to go on? The line just moved, international team by 12 points.

U.S. frontcourt: Anthony Davis (because the team needs a center), Kevin Durant, LeBron James (because he’s LeBron James) but should be Jayson Tatum. Backcourt: Steph Curry and Devin Booker.

Reserves: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard, Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson and Trae Young.

Vegas line now internationals by 15.

I’m still taking the international team and let’s make it a parlay with the over (plus-minus 275).

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