This past year was spent on the dark side of sports

Sandusky’s crimes, Armstrong’s fall among biggest stories of 2012

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in prison, Penn State football played under NCAA sanctions and Joe Paterno died.

Lance Armstrong abandoned his fight against doping allegations.

Roger Clemens won his court battle, despite lingering skepticism over whether he used steroids.

The impact of early-stage dementia forced Pat Summitt to step down from her coaching perch.

Again and again, it seemed, the sports world in 2012 saw the end of long tales with tragic or, at best, bittersweet endings.

Longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse and will serve 30 to 60 years in prison. (Associated Press)

Enlarge Photo

Longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts ... more >

And in so many cases, off-the-field news overshadowed what happened on it:

• In State College, Pa., where the Sandusky mess at Penn State destroyed lives and radically changed the face of a proud football program.

• In Washington, where Clemens emerged from court a winner, after a mistrial the first time around on charges he lied to Congress about performance-enhancing drug use.

• In Kansas City, Mo., where Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, then drove to the team’s facility in the Arrowhead Stadium complex, thanked his coach and general manager, and turned the gun on himself.

• In Austin, Texas, where the news broke that Armstrong decided to give up his long fight against doping charges, saying “enough is enough” but acknowledging no wrongdoing. The move began the cyclist’s swift fall from his spot as cancer-fighting sports hero in the public eye. And though he maintains he was victimized by a “witch hunt,” Armstrong still was stripped of his seven of his Tour de France victories.

“We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating policy is open, collegial and collaborative,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the day the NCAA levied massive sanctions against the Nittany Lions including a four-year postseason ban.

Erickson was speaking of his own school.

But in 2012, at least some of those lessons could have applied to any number of topics.

Sure, there were amazing moments to remember and savor. Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history, adding to his enormous swimming haul with six more medals at the London Games, where the United States topped the winning charts once again. Usain Bolt became the first man to win the 100- and 200-meter dashes at consecutive Olympics, Eli Manning and the New York Giants reigned supreme in the NFL, San Francisco stormed its way to the World Series title, the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup (no telling if any other team will anytime soon) and LeBron James and the Miami Heat silenced doubters by winning the NBA title.

Yet in a year like this, such times of achievement and triumph seemed few and far between.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus