Netflix’s Bad Sport Review: Juiciest Sports Scandals to Hit the Headlines

Bad Sport series is not so much about the behind-the-scenes machinations of the games we love and barely understand. But it’s really about how human beings can use our love of sports to achieve a plan that has nothing to do with competition or athleticism or sportsmanship.

Bad Sport Review does not contain spoilers

A Systemic Problem that Permeates the Entire Sports world-Bad Sport

Sadly, the world of Sport is one where bad news seems to be part of the landscape. That’s especially true in recent years, with repeated scandals across multiple sports—including, but not limited to, cycling, baseball, swimming and track and field.

To many people, it feels like there’s a new scandal every week, so much so that it’s easy to lose track. The Netflix series- Bad Sport talks about scandals and sabotages that are grave and are sheer jaw-dropping levels of depravity.

BadSport Volume1 Episode1 00 13 55 21 RC
Bad Sport; Calciopoli. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix/2020

What “Bad Sport” does exceptionally well captures the sort of banal evil that led to many travesties. It also reminds us how far back into history such abuses extend. The history of fraud, deceit and outright fraudulence in Sport is long indeed.

Bad Sport Series- Sports scandals are a dime a dozen

This limited edition series is as fascinating and compelling as ever. Every episode gets better and more intriguing than the last. The series is very well done. Though I am familiar with most players and their lives covered in the show, I had never heard some of these stories before.

It is tough to turn off once you have started watching it. I did not know that there was so much corruption within sports until I saw this documentary. If you are a sports fan, this will be a great watch for you because it covers all the ins and outs of the sports world.

bad sport review
bad sport review

The series is the brainchild of the producers behind “Don’t F**** with Cats.” Hence, it’s no surprise that it succeeds in capturing the games themselves and the personal rivalries and larger narratives that have made them iconic. It uses archival footage, interviews with players, coaches and sportscasters, and re-enactments to create a well-rounded picture of what happened in these games.

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Bad Sports Moments in the Sports World-Not a New Phenomenon

Episode 1 unravelled in 1994 when a handful of college basketball players were caught shaving points in a gambling scandal that resulted in actual prison time. A group of college basketball players are duped into taking bribes to throw games, promising bigger payouts down the line. A few players go along with it, but most are reluctant.

The episode is a good primer on how these schemes work and why they are so difficult to catch. The bookies who come up with these schemes are very smart, and the people who carry them out are often kids from poor neighbourhoods who don’t realize how long prison sentences can be for this type of thing.

Bad Sport episode 2 season 1
Netflix's Bad Sport Review: Juiciest Sports Scandals to Hit the Headlines 6

Then in 1980, Randy Lanier was a professional race car driver who competed at the highest levels in events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished 10th as a rookie driver at the Indianapolis 500 in 1986 was spearheading a massive international pot smuggling operation.

One time he flew to Paris on Concorde with $1 million worth of marijuana stuffed into duffel bags and walked right through customs without anyone so much as batting an eye. He did that same thing on multiple occasions. The guy lived like James Bond — only he made millions of dollars financing his lifestyle by smuggling weed back home to the United States.

Unravelling One Scandal At a Time- Bad Sport at its Peak

Agents will tell you that it’s more likely for a player to get injured because of an opponent’s dirty tackle than his own. It’s the same way with referees. It only takes one bad call to kill your chances at a match. But what happens when those calls aren’t random—when they happen repeatedly and consistently in favour of one team?

Bad Sport episode 3
Netflix's Bad Sport Review: Juiciest Sports Scandals to Hit the Headlines 7

That’s precisely what happened in Italy in 2006, when Luciano Moggi, the chief managing director for the prestigious Juventus Football Club in Italy, was caught on wiretaps in the mid-2000s, putting pressure on higher-ups with the referees’ commission to ensure favourably inclined officials would work matches involving Juventus. Other scandals have also erupted around refereeing patterns and corruption allegations in professional soccer leagues worldwide—most notably in Europe and South America.

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Bad Sport is a Crackdown of the Truth of Sports

With each episode, “Bad Sport” becomes fascinating and controversial. Sport’s biggest scandals are fueled by an irresistible cocktail of power, money, and sex that can be toxic for the athletes involved. When the temptations are great enough, sometimes these athletes will succumb.

Sport is big business, and the protection of its image by those who make a lot of money from it is an obvious priority.

Bad Sport 1
Netflix's Bad Sport Review: Juiciest Sports Scandals to Hit the Headlines 8

However, as we’ve seen with the Lance Armstrong saga, drug use by athletes is not the only way in which Sport can be sullied. Dishonesty can take many forms: false starts, ball-tampering, match-fixing, and illegal betting are the most common.

Stream It or Skip It?

The Bad Sport series examines some of the more notable incidents of cheating and dishonesty in sports down the years. Sports is an inherently competitive business. It’s the nature of the beast, and in most cases, it’s accepted as such.

But there’s a fine line between healthy competition when athletes push each other to achieve new heights and bad sportsmanship when competitors push each other into unethical or illegal activities. Sports scandals are like buses. You wait for ages, and suddenly they arrive in packs.

Bad Sport is streaming on Netflix.

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Bad Sport Review: The history of fraud, deceit and outright fraudulence in Sport is long indeed.


  1. Should update the episode of Calciopoli to also include Calciopoli 2.0 from 2011/12 with the Palazzi report on the scandal.

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