Lying has certainly been in the news a lot lately, and not just in the world of politics. James Harden flat-out called 76ers president Daryl Morey a liar at a recent event in China. Presumably, this is in reference to a promised contract extension or a denied trade request or perhaps some other issue the often-disgruntled player is upset about.
While Harden wants to play out in Los Angeles, another lie that has Hollywood connections made headlines recently. “The Blind Side” protagonist Michael Oher says that not only did the fabled Tuohy family lie about adopting him, they made him sign a conservatorship to control his money. And while calls for Sandra Bullock to return her Oscar are silly, the actress should apologize. Not for “The Blind Side” but to anyone who paid money to see “All About Steve.”
Lying in sports is of course nothing new, and many people have told quite a few whoppers over the years. Here are some of the most notable fibbers in the not-so-distant past (excluding anything related to performance-enhancing substances, which could fill volumes):
In 1998, Toronto Blue Jays Manager Tim Johnson – looking for
a way to motivate his team – told his players about his combat experience in
the Vietnam War. The only issue was that he never saw any combat. While not a
decorated soldier, he was, however, an All-American high school basketball
player who turned down a UCLA scholarship. Oh, wait no, that too was a lie.
In 2001, the Seattle Mariners were in the midst of their
best season ever when something peculiar happened with left fielder Al Martin. After
colliding with shortstop Carlos Guillen during a game, Martin compared it to
the time he tried to tackle Michigan running back Leroy Hoard when Martin played
for USC in 1986. The problem with the story? USC didn’t play Michigan that year.
Oh, and Martin never played for the Trojans. It turns out that lying was pretty
much second-nature to Martin, as he was also married to two women at once.
In 2002, star second baseman Jeff Kent showed up to the San
Francisco Giants’ Spring Training camp with a broken wrist. So, how did the
injury occur? Kent claimed he slipped while washing his pickup truck. The truth,
however, was that the break was the result of some Evil Knievel-like stunts
Kent was doing on a motorcycle.
Where to start with this guy? Here’s another instance in
which a motorcycle played a role with a big lie. In 2012, University of
Arkansas head football coach Petrino crashed his motorcycle and originally claimed
he had been riding it alone. But it didn’t take long for the real story to come
out. Not only was a young woman riding with him at the time, these two were involved
in a less-than-appropriate relationship. Plus, Petrino arranged for the school
to pay her a substantial salary for essentially doing nothing.