Wow. Talk about smoking gun evidence. Even on “CSI” they don’t solve the crime until after an exhaustive investigation. With Saban, it was easier. In essence, he confessed. Now when you look up “bald-faced lie”in the dictionary, there will be a special fold-out, poster-sized portrait of Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Lies in sports are nothing new. In fact, they’re rather pervasive. And in most cases, fans and media understand after they’ve been lied to. A coach, for instance, sometimes fibs about a trade that’s in the works in order to throw everybody off and ensure that the deal actually goes down. Such liars get a pass on stuff like that. It’s business as usual.
But the Saban lie is a doozy, a humdinger, that earns him inclusion in the Sports Liars Hall of Fame. The Hall is a pantheon of nefarious characters who are honesty-challenged. Naturally, the Hall is highly selective, because as you can imagine, there are lots and lots of candidates each year.
But here are the top 10 among sports liars. They’ve achieved elite status among prevaricators, and we honor them — sort of — for their aversion to the truth:
PETE ROSE: In August of 1989, after striking a deal with then commissioner A. Bart Giamatti, Rose agreed to a permanent ban for betting on baseball. However, he insisted he never gambled on baseball, which begs the question: Then why did he agree to the ban? Reportedly he did so in order to end baseball’s investigation into his gambling activities, and because he would be eligible to apply for reinstatement in one year. For years afterward, in a campaign to make himself eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame — which he was prevented from being inducted into because the Hall does not consider players who are declared ineligible — Rose adamantly denied that he gambled on baseball.
RAFAEL PALMEIRO: Perhaps no image surrounding the steroids controversy in recent years is more searing than the one featuring a defiant Palmeiro at a Congressional hearing jabbing his finger into the air for emphasis and declaring, “I have never used steroids. Period.” Roughly five months later, he was handed a 10-game suspension for testing positive for steroids.
Palmeiro insisted that he had no idea how the steroids got into his body and left open the possibility that a substance was contained in a supplement he had taken. However, the steroid in question was Stanozolol, a potent and powerful strength-builder that is not contained in over-the-counter supplements. All of this, of course, came after the release of Jose Canseco’s tell-all book and subsequent “60 Minutes” interview in which Canseco not only claimed that Palmeiro was a user, but that Canseco actually injected him with juice.
JEFF KENT: While a member of the San Francisco Giants, the veteran infielder broke his wrist on March 1, 2002. He claimed he did so while washing his truck, which would have meant Kent fell off the back of his truck, or wrestled with a particularly obstinate soapy sponge. As it turns out, it appears Kent actually broke the wrist while riding wheelies on his motorcycle, which would have been a direct violation of his contract.
When Kent was hurt, two witnesses reported a cyclist down near Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona and called 911. Later Kent brushed off all questions about the incident. The Giants weren’t happy about it and investigated, but ultimately did nothing. Although the evidence against him was mostly circumstantial, there was a mountain of it so large that Evel Knievel couldn’t have jumped over it.
DANNY ALMONTE: Little white lies in Little League. There was some question about his age. Said to be 12, he was actually a 35-year-old longshoreman with five kids. Just kidding. Almonte was proved to be two years older than he said he was when he led the Bronx-based Roland Paulino All-Stars to a third-place finish in the Little League World Series.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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