Are Professional Sports Rigged?

If you like or pay attention to sports, you probably know that they have problems with either being terribly officiated, or maybe rigged in some cases. Recently, it seems as if officiating is at an all-time low for sports like basketball. Every week there is a terrible call that decides the fate of the game, and it ends up going viral on social media. The most recent occurrence of this was the holding call during the Superbowl that cost the Eagles the game. There’s no doubt that officiated can be awful, but are professional sports rigged? There are many fans who believe in the “NFL script”. People think that the games are set up, and that the winners are already determined before the games actually happen. Sometimes this can seem believable, like when the Minnesota Vikings came back from down 33-0. Even though an entire league being scripted is highly unlikely, it is still possible that some games are rigged, and several fans are wondering if they are. 

There have been cases in the past where games have been rigged. As an example, game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento KIngs. The referee, Tim Donaghy, was confirmed to have been betting on games he officiated, and he ended up going to jail for it. It is a known fact that this game was rigged, and it cost a great team a potential championship. The Kings were the team that they called most of the fouls on. The Lakers got 40 free throws and the Kings only got 25. 27 of those free throws for the Lakers came in the fourth quarter. There were also a plethora of terrible calls during this game. This game is often looked back on as one of the worst officiated games of all time, and it was definitely rigged. 

The next example is a conspiracy. The 1985 draft was the first year they introduced a lottery system to prevent tanking. This draft class contained one of the most promising big men to come out of college ever. Patrick Ewing from Georgetown was a stud, and he was almost guaranteed to be the number 1 pick, but you had to win the lottery to get him. The way the lottery worked was that Jack Wagner would place envelopes, with the team's logo inside of them, into a plastic ball. Then he would spin the ball, and after that, the commissioner, David Stern, would take out an envelope and that team would have the number 1 pick and get Ewing. This is where the conspiracy starts. Jack Wagner was part of the accounting firm that was part of the auditing firm for the ownership group of the Knicks. People believe that when he put the Knick's envelope into the ball, he bent the corner of it so David Stern could easily identify it, and give the Knicks the number 1 pick. This conspiracy theory makes sense because at the time the NBA needed a big market team to be good to take away from all the drug usage going on in the sport. Also, the Knicks were a struggling team, and they wanted New York to do well.

Those were two examples of how professional sports were seen as rigged in the past. Recently, there is a lot of buzz about the NFL script being leaked. It was said to make the Eagles win the Superbowl 37-34, but this didn’t happen. There is also a lot of talk from the players about the script. A former player from the  Texans, Arain Foster, jokingly mentioned in a podcast about how the NFL is scripted. Also, in a playoff game, the Jaguars completed an improbable comeback, and their quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, said that they couldn’t have scripted it any better. This seems like a joke, but some people might actually believe it. Along with the script, there is terrible officiating lately, and a lot of people may think the holding call in the Superbowl was rigged for the Chiefs to win.

Personally, I think that professional sports aren’t rigged anymore. I think that there are questionable calls from officials from time to time, but they have a hard job. I believe that the only reason sports have been rigged is because of marketing and that they’re trying to create more revenue opportunities. I feel as if today, sports are heading in the right direction, and that less scummy things are happening.







Do you think professional sports like the NFL and NBA are rigged?


Do you think bad officiating is hurting sports?


Do you think we will see more conspiracy theories about how sports are rigged in the future?

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    • I think there can be rigging in any sport, and I agree that officiating is hard.

  • I don’t think that professional sports are rigged. I feel like people think that they are rigged because the referees can make some bad calls. So a lot of people think that sports are rigged because the referees make bad calls that can cause their team to win.

    • I also think that they aren't rigged and that people think they are because of poor officiating.

  • I don't think that all sports are rigged. I think that sometimes referees can make bad calls and that can change the game and the score. I think in the future we will see more conspiracy theories about how sports are rigged because sports are very popular and mean a lot to people so they will want an explanation. 

  • I don't think that all professional sports are rigged. I also think that bad officiating and referees can ruin a game and a sport in general. The bad officiating causes lots of people to get upset and when certain calls determine how the game ends fans start to get very mad. Conspiracy theories will definitely pop up more in the future. 

    • I agree that all professional sports aren't rigged and that bad officiating will cause a lot of people to get upset.

  • I think some sports are rigged. I do think that bad officiating is hurting sports because it can definitely change games scores and favor different teams or people. I do think that there would be more an more conspiracy theories in the future, specially in bets between different people.

  • I think that maybe some games are altered a little, but you can't fully rig a game. There have been some cases of refs being caught with bets on the games, but they were punished for doing that right after. People always complain about bad officiating, but in the end that is the ref and you have to play under his rules no matter how bad they are.

    • I agree that you can't fully rig a game, but that the games can be altered a little bit.

  • I don't think the games are rigged. Why would the players put all their hard work into the game to win if they already knew they would win? It also wouldn't make sense that the games are rigged because most players show a lot of emotions at the end of the game, which shows they truly did try their best. I also think that they wouldn't want to play the game anymore if it was rigged because most of them worked very hard in highschool to get where they are now.

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