The Houston Astros are one of MLB’s most successful franchises in recent seasons. But controversy tainted their World Series victories as the team disgraced their city. Their sign-stealing practices helped them cheat their way to victories in an appallingly immoral sequence of events.
In the end, the team’s coach and general manager lost their jobs. However, the players escaped without any punishment while MLB failed to strip them of their 2017 World Series win. It was a shambles and one that stung the league because it didn’t need another controversy (via Sporting News).
NASCAR has a dubious legacy but things are improving in the modern world. But it still creates controversies like the Larson scandal in 2020. The driver competed in an online race during the global health crisis. He didn’t realize that he left his microphone live and used racist language (via Essentially Sports).
His team dropped him and the league hit him with a suspension. Most sporting teams wouldn’t want to associate themselves with a racist but Hendrick Motorsport didn’t have a moral compass. They signed him up and now the two parties are winning races without a care in the world.
In 2021, a UK court sentenced Barry Bennell to 31 years in prison for child abuse. Bennell was a former youth coach at the English soccer club Crewe Alexandria. The court found him guilty of over 50 counts of abuse against 12 boys under his care. It was a horrendous case with massive questions about the club’s code of conduct.
Many people said that it was an open secret that Bennell took boys to his home. Allegedly, senior figures knew about his gross habits but failed to intervene and protect the vulnerable children. Finally, the club issued a public apology but it was too late for its victims (via Mirror).
English soccer clubs shudder when they hear Bates’ name because he was one of the worst owners ever. His time in charge of Chelsea ended with a massive racism scandal. Later, he took over Leeds United and caused them to plummet down the leagues (via The Guardian).
There were positive aspects to his ownership of Chelsea because he modernized the club and improved its facilities. But his later behavior was inexcusable. Furthermore, some Leeds fans like Bates because he stabilized them in the Championship but he had no moral compass.
Kraft is the owner of the New England Patriots and one of the most powerful men in sports. He helped his team to unprecedented success but that’s not why he’s on this list. The business tycoon made headlines when he allegedly received sexual services at a massage parlor.
However, Kraft successfully avoided punishments because his legal team did their job. They convinced a court that video evidence was inadmissible. In the end, the Asian masseuses received the brunt of the law because they couldn’t afford the same representation (via Vanity Fair).
The Juventus match-fixing scandal-tainted Italian soccer for a generation. The team has experienced more domestic success than any of their rivals but it emerged that they cheated their way to two titles. Key club figures applied pressure on referees to favor the Turin giants.
The truth emerged and a massive lawsuit began as the scale of this scandal emerged. In the end, the Italian FA relegated Juventus to Serie B as an unprecedented punishment. The club bounced back and became a force again but its owners had no moral compass at all (via Daily Mail).
Every list of iconic and extinct sports franchises contains the Whalers because of their popularity. Connecticut’s only major sports team maintains a special place in the hearts of NHL fans. They also had one of the best logos in all of hockey but sadly it’s obsolete today.
That’s because Connecticut couldn’t sustain the market requirements for a major league franchise. At least, that’s what Peter Karmanos thought when he forced an exit. He wanted a new stadium but the state governor refused and that was it for the iconic team (via Patch).
Combat sports are very exciting but there’s one uncomfortable reality. Every time a fighter goes to war, they put their long-term health at risk. Former UFC fighter Spencer Fisher revealed that he suffered CTE after his long career. But the company’s president, Dana White, had a cold reaction.
He showed a lack of a moral compass as he brushed it off. White told the media: “He’s not the first and he’s definitely not going to be the last. This is a contact sport and anybody who’s ever done this younger, myself included, is dealing with brain issues. It’s part of the gig”
Brock Lesnar is one of the few people who successfully forged UFC and WWE careers. The former heavyweight champion stunned fans when he rejoined the former promotion for a headline fight against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. This went down after they controversially withdrew Conor McGregor from the high-profile card.
Lesnar won the match after he used his wrestling to full effect. Later, he failed a drug test after he tested positive for multiple steroids. Hunt sued the UFC because they put him in a dangerous situation against an obvious cheater. The promotion had no moral compass and poured millions into their defense (via Sportskeeda).
Irsay was one of the most controversial NFL owners ever because of an infamous relocation. He moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in the shadiest manner possible. Irsay hired a fleet of moving trucks and drove the team away in the middle of the night before Baltimore knew what happened.
He expected the city to intervene and launch legal action against him so he got ahead of the problem. Meanwhile, Indianapolis greeted the trucks like returning D-Day veterans. Now the modern Colts feel like an unrelated franchise to Johnny Unitas’s iconic team (via History).
If we’re honest, most sports owners only care about the business side of their franchises and teams. Money makes the world go around and they want to milk their toy for all their worth. However, De Laurentis makes it clear that he has no moral compass because he doesn’t stay quiet.
The Napoli owner broke the Internet in 2022 when he said he’d never sign another African player. He said this because he was tired of players representing their nations at the African Cup of Nations when he paid their wages. It was gross and immoral but typical of this vile personality (via ESPN).
Modell remains one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL’s history. That’s because two fanbases have staggeringly different perspectives of the media tycoon. On the one hand, Cleveland fans despise him because he stripped the Browns from their city, albeit for a short period.
But Baltimore loves him because he reintroduced an NFL franchise to the city in the form of the Ravens. However, there wasn’t a moral compass involved in this process because he wanted to make more money. The Browns returned to Cleveland but never had the same success again (via USA Today).
Incognito was a decent NFL guard but his name didn’t match his character. The former Dolphins veteran was a horrendous bully and made Jonathan Martin’s life a misery. It’s extraordinary how far his treatment of Martin went and that the NFL allowed him back into a dressing room (via Sports Illustrated).
Finally, the Dolphins began an investigation and brought the league into the loop. But they allowed it to go so far that Martin feared Incognito might inflict violent harm on him. This was one of the least-savory situations in recent NFL history and shows that bullying occurs in every workplace.
Cap-tampering is a massive taboo in the NFL because it destroys the principles of the practice. However, Denver tried their luck in the mid-1990s by delaying payments to players. They repeated the same trick with John Elway and Terrell Davis in 2001 (via NBC Sports).
The NFL didn’t respond kindly to this and made an example out of the franchise. Denver lost multiple draft picks and received a hefty fine for their cheeky attempt. Furthermore, the Broncos won a pair of Super Bowls during this period but claimed their cap-tampering didn’t give them a competitive advantage.
Vick was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL before a massive scandal emerged. An FBI investigation uncovered his role as the leader of a dogfighting ring. He received a jail sentence and the Falcons discarded him because he was worse than garbage (via CNBC).
However, that wasn’t the end of his NFL career because teams will do anything for a decent quarterback. The Eagles decided that a negative fan reaction was worth gaining an elite starter. They showed no moral compass as they snapped him up following his release from prison.
A pair of organizations showed a lack of a moral compass when it came to Greg Hardy. Firstly, Jerry Jones cheerfully brought the convicted woman-beater to the Cowboys. Many of their fans resented him but the tone-deaf owner didn’t care about this at all (via TalkSport).
Then, the UFC signed him to fight in their heavyweight division. Fans loathed Hardy but the UFC continued to promote him and put him in high-profile spots. In the end, he flamed out of the organization and nobody shed a tear. It was a terrible decision to bring him there in the first place.
On paper, Khan is a fascinating figure because he is the only minority NFL owner right now. The businessman runs the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as the Premier League’s Fulham F.C. However, he has no moral compass or common sense in managing these enterprises (via Florida Times-Union).
Khan inflicted Urban Meyer on his team’s fans in 2021 and watched them burn. Then in 2022, he raised the ticket prices of Fulham’s games to an outrageous amount that alienated many supporters. Khan is all about the bottom line and doesn’t care about the results on the field.
McGregor is the most lucrative MMA fighter in the history of the sport. The UFC maintains one set of rules for the Irishman and another for everybody else. They recognize that he’s a massive cash cow and don’t want to risk offending him because of his marketability.
However, McGregor is also an appalling human and has made a bunch of questionable decisions. The UFC failed to suspend the fighter when he faced sexual assault allegations or multiple arrests for minor offenses. There’s no moral compass when the dollar sign light is on (via NZ Herald).
When an athlete signs a contract with a new team, it’s down to the latter how much they choose to use them. Barcelona didn’t see the best of Dembele because he had terrible luck with injuries. The Frenchman failed to stay fit and spent a lot of time receiving injury treatment.
That’s a gamble every franchise takes when they buy a new player. But they decided that they wanted him to leave and threatened legal action if his agent didn’t force an exit. Dembele and his representation laughed because this was ridiculous and had zero hope of standing up in court (via Guardian).
It’s difficult to know where to begin with Snyder because the man doesn’t have a moral compass. The Washington owner rules his franchise with the chaotic mindset of a Roman Emperor. Unfortunately, Snyder is more like Caligula or Nero than Marcus Aurelius and is one of the league’s most hated figures.
Several former cheerleaders accused him of sexual harassment after nude videos leaked. Allegedly, he created a toxic work culture over his two decades in charge of the franchise. He ruined the team’s competitiveness on the field with several ruinous decisions (via New York Post).
When the Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores, he poured a can of gasoline on the floor and lit a match on the way out. The head coach revealed some startling truths about their season. Allegedly, the front office instructed him to tank and lose several games but Flores refused to do this (via CNN).
Furthermore, he claimed that the team offered him money to stay quiet after he lost his job. He also said that three franchises showed racially dubious practices in their hiring processes as they lied to him. Miami received a massive NFL punishment for their lack of a moral compass.
Diaz is one of the UFC’s biggest stars but found himself at odds with the promotion. He reached the final fight of his contract and made it clear that he wasn’t planning on re-signing. Then, the UFC put him on ice and tried to force him to take an appalling matchup against up-and-coming prospect Khamzat Chimaev (via SB Nation).
The Stockton fighter planned a massive boxing match with YouTube sensation Jake Paul. But the UFC wanted to tarnish his image by inflicting a horrible beating in his final appearance. Meanwhile, a clause enabled them to extend his deal if he rejected the bout. It was ethically disgraceful but brilliant business on their part.
De Jong is one of the most exciting young midfield talents on the planet but Barcelona tried to sell him in 2022. That’s because the team found itself in a financial hole and had an urgent need to create revenue streams. When nobody bid an appropriate amount they changed tactics and showed a lack of moral compass.
In short, they attempted to bully De Jong into accepting the terms of his former, less lucrative contract. They claimed that the terms of the new one weren’t legal but De Jong refused to budge. It was an audacious and scandalous effort from the club and it’s a wonder that he wanted to stay (via Mirror).
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that repeated blows to the head cause long-term damage. However, the NFL tried its best to cover this up for as long as possible. They downplayed the dangers of the sport and repressed medical studies that proved CTE was real.
This showed a lack of moral compass because they exploited young men who didn’t understand the risk. Then they endured horrific health effects in their later life. Now the NFL is dealing with hundreds of lawsuits because of the lives they have destroyed (via FSP).
European soccer clubs don’t follow the franchise model like U.S. teams. It would be an unthinkable travesty if an owner dreamed of relocating their club to another city. However, a greedy group of owners decided to break away from their national leagues and create a new, glamorous competition.
12 European teams agreed to the schism but their fans protested furiously. In the end, the plan fell apart because the fallout was too toxic. Supporters proved that they had the power to make or prevent change from happening. This was crucial because their club owners don’t have a single moral compass (via The Athletic).
The Browns made one of the most desperate and controversial decisions in recent NFL history when they signed Watson. They opted to bring the quarterback to Cleveland despite the toxic cloud of ongoing sexual harassment accusations. The Browns even manipulated his contract because they expected a suspension.
Another wild aspect is that a whole host of NFL franchises including the Dolphins had a strong interest in the QB. It didn’t matter that he settled many civil suits with his alleged victims. They saw a strong arm and lost all sense of a moral compass on the way (via Breitbart).