Unfortunately, the bad news was good for business in covering stories that fans were not only interested in but couldn’t look away from. Sure, there were enough feel-good stories for fans to wrap their arms around, including championships in Boston and Gainesville.
The year saw many great performances from the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Jimmy Johnson and Brett Favre, but this past year will be remember for decades to come because of the tragedies that followed Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, Tim Donehey and Sean Taylor.
Michael Vick is serving time in prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring that was taken down after several of his close confidants turned on him. Cruelty to animals and transporting them across state lines to watch them compete in a blood sport ruined one of the most gifted athletes of our generation.
Vick looked lost as he spoke to the media after pleading guilty to these senseless crimes and now he must disappear until at least summer 2009 before he even thinks about playing football again. I believe he now understands the magnitude of his mistakes and I hope he can re-enter society as a productive citizen.
Before he ever thinks of throwing his next touchdown in the NFL, Vick must grow up, learn from his mistakes and keep asking for forgiveness. He will forever be an example to America's youth of what can go wrong if you stop using common sense and hang out with the wrong crowd.
In 2007, we became familiar with Tim Donaghy, and NBA referee who could not resist the temptation to bet on games in which he officiated and pleaded guilty to two felonies relating to gambling. He eventually turned on the illegal bookmakers and low-level criminals he was working with by cooperating with the FBI and ending what was clearly the biggest embarrassment of David Stern's tenure as commissioner of the NBA.
The integrity of the game was at stake every time that Donaghy walked on the court, and Stern and his global business partners are lucky he was brought to justice.
This scandal could have ruined one of the most popular sports in the world and it unfortunately became a bigger headline than the San Antonio Spurs winning their fourth championship.
The steroid scandal that still dominates the baseball headlines and home run king Barry Bonds is a story that will remain with us in 2008 and beyond. It's a topic I am passionate about and I do not care how long it takes to clean up this nasty chapter in baseball history.
The Mitchell Report was released in December, and many questions remain. If Roger Clemens cannot disprove claims from his former personal trainer Brian McNamee that he shot him up with Winstol and other performance-enhancing drugs, two of the most relevant players of all time might be kept out of the Hall of Fame.
Fortunately for Clemens, he did not have all of the negative publicity that has surrounded Barry Bonds. A federal grand jury in San Francisco wants to see if Bond lied about his involvement with certain drugs that came from BALCO and if he obstructed justice. Did he have particular knowledge of what he was putting into his body with the guidance of his former trainer, Greg Anderson?
Many of the players in the BALCO case have spent time in jail, but Bonds is the big fish that the feds want to take down. No fan can argue that he/she was not witness to the "Steroid Era" of baseball and we all could have done a better job at realizing that there was a problem when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were going after the single-season home run record in 1998. If Bonds goes to jail in 2008 and has to hang his head in shame in front of his loyal fans in San Francisco, he could once again secure a spot on the list of worst stories of 2008.
The shooting death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor is the worst story of the year. Bonds will face his day in court while Donaghy will eventually serve time for his crime, but Taylor is gone forever.
Taylor was not the only 24-year-old football player to die during the past year. Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in a limousine after an altercation in a nightclub on New Years Eve.
We just could not escape violence in sports throughout 2007, and I almost became numb to all the tragic stories I had to report on. Athletes will always run the risk of being targets to unwarranted physical attacks, but Taylor was shot in his home by four immature, disturbed and violent young men.
Taylor didn't lead the perfect life, so unfortunately he received negative press about past mistakes leading up to his death, but it now looks as if he loved being a new father and wanted to live a more productive life.
People die every day in this country in violent ways, but hopefully this senseless act will be a wake-up call for everyone involved in sports to do a better job of protecting themselves and loved ones.
Taylor's murder will be a bad memory for fans to move on from in 2008, but never forget!
Say what?! It was a wacky year
Dec. 26: The best sound bytes and video from the world of sports in a crazy, action-packed 2007.