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Sports Reporter Discusses Recent Sports Scandals

The recent rash of scandals in the sports world has raised questions about ethics and athletics. Sports reporter and author John Feinstein talks about what it all means.

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    Finally tonight, a sudden outburst of scandal in the world of sports. In football, Michael Vick, star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, kept away from training camp after being indicted on dogfighting charges. In cycling's Tour de France, news today of a cyclist who tested positive for a banned blood transfusion. In basketball, a gambling scandal involving a former referee. And the ongoing steroid allegations in Major League Baseball, including those concerning Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, on his way to setting a new homerun record.

    What's going on? Well, that's the question we now ask sportswriter, author, NewsHour contributor John Feinstein. His latest book is "Tales From Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major."

    John, welcome. On the question of what's going on, you wrote recently that these various malfeasances touch on the very core of what sports is all about in believing the results are real. Is it that serious?

  • JOHN FEINSTEIN, Sportswriter:

    Well, certainly the NBA situation, with the referee who may have been shaving points, may have been calling plays to influence the outcome of games, may have been giving out information to gamblers, inside information on games, cuts right to the core of competition, because the reason we are so fascinated by sports, Jim, is because we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what the outcome is going to be. It's uncertain.

    If there is a certainty placed into it because of cheating, because of a referee influencing the outcome of the game, or in the Barry Bonds situation, there is a certainty put into it because of cheating involving building up your body through illegal steroids, as in the Tour de France, which is a dog-bites-man situation — it's a bigger story these days when someone doesn't test positive in the Tour de France — but in those situations where there's cheating, again, the competition is compromised.