Web of Lies: These Sports Stories Were Too Good To Be True

Darren - August 24, 2023

Web of Lies: These Sports Stories Were Too Good To Be True

Darren - August 24, 2023

Golf Channel

Tiger Woods

Everybody knows Woods as one of the greatest golfers ever. He became a global icon and was even the face of a successful EA video game series. Woods was a clean-cut hero who could do no wrong, making countless dollars off of his clean-cut family image. The only criticism anybody could have had for him was that he was perhaps a little bit too boring.

Golf Digest

But then his world came down when he drunkenly crashed his vehicle in 2009. He went to rehab but the floodgates opened as dozens of women emerged and said that they had affairs with the stricken star. These included pornstars, strippers, models, and even waitresses. Finally, Tiger’s wife left him and he spent a decade in the wilderness (via Reuters). He won the Masters in 2019 but his career never recovered fully.


Tyson Fury’s Revival

Fury stunned the world when he dissected Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. However, the heavyweight champion immediately fell into a downward spiral. First, he failed a drug test and the boxing commissions stripped his titles. His downward spiral saw him balloon up to over 300 pounds and he contemplated suicide (via Bleacher Report).

Sky Sports

Then he made an inspiring return as he shed the weight and dealt with his substance abuse problems. He reclaimed the heavyweight crown after an exciting series against Deontay Wilder. But Fury proved that it was too good to be true. He befriended the gangster Daniel Kinahan and ducked fights, tarnishing his image and making himself a polarizing figure in the world of boxing.

New York Post

Johnny Manziel

Manziel had arguably the greatest college season ever in 2013. He changed the face of the Aggies’ program as he won the Heisman, Davey O’Brien, and Manning Awards. No freshman had ever achieved this before but it appeared Manziel was special. There were concerns about his maturity and focus but the Browns made him a first-round pick in 2014 anyway.

New York Times

Manziel burnt them because he partied crazily. He had substance abuse problems and failed to deliver on the field. In the end, he went down as one of the biggest busts ever and set Cleveland back for almost a decade. He had an amazing time in college but he proved it was too good to be true (via Sporting News).

Runner’s World

Sha’Carri Richardson

Richardson is one of the few people on this list with the chance to change her fortune. The LSU star shot to fame after an amazing 2019 season. She shattered records and won multiple collegiate races as she showed her amazing potential. Meanwhile, she cut a distinctive figure on the track with her long nails, tattoos, and dyed hair.


She had a golden opportunity to compete in the Tokyo Olympics but it was too good to be true. That’s because she failed a drug test after she smoked marijuana. The Texan blamed her biological mother’s death and ignited a debate about her state of mind. In the end, Richardson missed her dream because of a few puffs on a joint (via The Guardian).

Super Sport


Soccer fans quickly identified Neymar as a generational talent when he played for Santos. Barcelona brought the starlet to Europe in 2013 and he dazzled on the field. Most people saw him as Lionel Messi’s heir-apparent. But the Argentine icon didn’t show any signs of slowing down and Neymar lost patience (via The Guardian).

The Hindu

He pushed for a world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain and instantly killed his legacy. Ligue 1 is a farmer’s league because there’s only one good team. Neymar guaranteed French medals but had no chance of enhancing his global status. Finally, in 2023 he accepted a move to Saudi Arabia and sold out.


Andy Ruiz

Ruiz’s story is one of the most incredible ever. The Mexican boxer fought Anthony Joshua as a late replacement in 2019. Nobody expected the dumpy fighter to stand a chance against the UK’s chiseled Adonis. But he stunned the world when he knocked Joshua out in the seventh round.


This made Ruiz the first Mexican heavyweight champion ever. But fame went to Ruiz’s head and it cost him dearly. Joshua activated the rematch clause but Ruiz didn’t train properly. Joshua won a convincing decision in the rematch as Ruiz followed in Buster Douglas’s footsteps (via National World).


Mason Greenwood

There’s nothing that soccer fans love more than a homegrown hero. Greenwood began playing with Manchester United’s underage teams when he was six years old. In 2019, he emerged as one of the club’s most exciting prospects. He scored a clutch of important goals and fans had high hopes for his future (via Daily Express).

British GQ

Then police arrested him on charges of sexual assault and rape. Horrific video footage went viral of Greenwood threatening to kill his alleged victim. The team suspended him while the court case rolled on. In the end, the loss of a key witness prevented the case from continuing. United cut him under pressure as the dream turned into a nightmare.


Marion Jones

Jones became a U.S. icon when she won three Olympic gold medals in 2000. However, she fell foul of the BALCO investigation and proved that her legacy was too good to be true (via MSN).

CBS Sports

The Olympic committee stripped her of her five medals and she received a six-month jail sentence. That’s because she lied to investigators and misled the court. It was a shambles but she brought the pain upon herself. She destroyed her reputation because she was too afraid to lose.

New York Times

Lance Armstrong

Armstrong had one of the most inspiring stories ever because he recovered from cancer to become a seven-time Tour De France champion. The American star put cycling on the map and became a global icon. It was an incredible rise to fame because everybody knew who he was and admired his achievements.

Live Science

However, it was too good to be true because of what happened next. He was a the forefront of one of the most notorious doping scandals ever. Armstrong was the ringleader of the devious scheme and he lost everything. In recent years he started a successful podcast but he was a persona non grata for a decade (via Reuters).

Sky Sports

Sam Allardyce

Allardyce had a golden opportunity to silence his critics when he became England’s head coach in 2016. He believed that people didn’t show him enough respect because they called him a ‘dinosaur.’ This was his chance to prove that he could manage elite players and guide them to glory (via Joe).


But it was too good to be true because the FA sacked him after a single game. A scandal broke after Allardyce spoke to some fake Asian businessmen about loopholes in transfer regulations. Footage emerged of the scam as Allardyce ordered a pint of wine. In the end, he didn’t receive any legal consequences but it damaged his career.

MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor

McGregor’s rise was one of the most exciting fairytale stories ever. He worked as a plumber in Dublin before quitting to focus on his fighting career. This left him collecting unemployment benefits while he was living with his parents. “The Notorious” famously collected his final chek before his first UFC fight (via SPORF).

MMA Fighting

He became a two-weight champion and also fought Floyd Mayweather for millions of dollars. But the former folk hero suffered a stark fall from grace as he abused alcohol and drugs. He was arrested for various offenses and became a parody of himself. His story was too good to be true because the fame went to his head.

Sky Sports

The Nets Super Team

Here’s the final super team entry on this list and it’s a doozy. Nets fans sat up and took notice in 2021 when their franchise exploded into life. Success appeared to be inevitable after they traded for James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. They had two weeks of excitement before everything fell apart.

The New York Times

Irving was the biggest unmitigated disaster because of his vaccination scandal and anti-semitism. Meanwhile, his injuries also prevented him from making the impact they wanted. But neither Harden nor Durant succeeded in Brooklyn either. They had so much potential on paper but in the end, it was too good to be true (via The Ringer).

L.A. Times

The Blind Side

This 2009 movie became one of the most popular sports dramas ever. Sandra Bullock starred as the foster mother who inspired Michael Oher to NFL greatness. It was an inspiring story but it took a dark twist in 2023. That’s because the former offensive tackle filed a grievance against the Tuohys for allegedly hiding 19 years of financial records.

CBS Sports

He also alleged that they tricked him into a lifetime conservatorship and that he never earned a dime from the movie. The Tuohys denied this but the reports shocked the nation. Regardless of the outcome, the movie leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths now. Unfortunately, it seems that the uplifting tale was too good to be true (via Cinemablend).