Anyone who frequents the BBC website will have no doubt stumbled across the story from Brazil about the player known as Somalia (Paulo Rogerio Reis da Silva to his parents), who has sparked controversy after it emerged he faked his own kidnapping as an excuse for being late to training...
The story has more than a touch of the “Peckham Spring” about it; how on earth did he think he would get away with it?
Enthused by such idiocy I decided to delve into the murky depths of my own memory, that of Thomas Moran (son of the great Thomas Moran), and the endless information of the internet to draw up a list of the 10 worst lies and excuses provided by the Just Williams – past and present – of the sporting world.
10) Rio Ferdinand – blessed as he is with brains as well as looks – famously missed a drugs test while at Manchester United in 2003 because he was mentally preoccupied with moving house and, forgetting his obligation, went shopping instead. In comparison to some of the lies later in the list this is pretty uninspired; but for the sheer cheek of it I have included him.
9) Roberto Rojas, Chilean goalkeeper in the 1980s, was the centre of one of the most dramatic moments in sporting history when, during his side’s 1990 World Cup qualifier against Brazil, he collapsed to the floor, nursing an open wound to his head. It appeared that a smouldering firework, which lay on the field next to him and had been thrown by a Brazilian fan, had hit him on the head and had caused the bloodied noggin and associated writhing. The Chilean players refused to return to the field, believing their player to be the victim of a gross injustice. However, television replays showed that he had not been hit by the firework but had inflicted the injury upon himself with a razor blade hidden in his gloves. Why oh why I hear you cry? Chile were 1-0 down and needed to win to qualify for the world cup – had he succeeded in his charade, Chile may have been awarded the win due to the gravity of the offence. Needless to say, he was banned from football and Brazil were awarded a 2-0 win, appearing at the finals in Italy the next year. As an aside, for an extra bit of amusement, follow this link and scroll down to the section on Patricio Yanez - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Rojas.
8) Tyler Hamilton, Gold medal winning cyclist at the 2004 Olympic Games, failed a drugs test after foreign red blood cells were found in a sample he gave after the games. He refuted the claims, creating a story that Mary Shelley would have been proud of. He argued that the presence of foreign blood cells were the fault of his unborn twin brother who he had absorbed while in his mother's womb.
7) Mervyn King, East Anglian Darts playing sensation, blamed the air conditioning for his defeat at the hands of Raymond Van Barneveld in the semi-final of the BDO world championship in 2003. He declared that his darts were lighter than Barney's and that the particularly strong air conditioning had blown his darts off course. The next year, in his first round match, he requested that the length of the Ochey be measured as he believed it to be incorrect. It wasn't. He was.
6) Rosie Ruiz, Cuban born marathon runner, crossed the line in the 84th Boston marathon in a record breaking time of 2:31:56 (at this point the third fastest time by a woman in any marathon ever) until she was stripped of her title when it emerged she hadn't run the entire course. Concerns arose as her legs seemed too flabby, she couldn't remember any of her split times, and she seemed generally un-fatigued. Her carefully thought out reason for her apparent lack of exhaustion was simply “I got up with a lot of energy this morning.”
5) Dieter Baumann won the gold medal in the 5000m at the 1992 olympics in Barcelona. In 1999, he was suspended for failing a drug test for the banned substance nandrolone. Following further tests, the levels in his blood varied depending on the time of day the tests were taken at, leading Baumann to blame the presence of the drug on spiked toothpaste. The German athletic committee believed him – the IAAF were less impressed and imposed a two year ban.
4) Paulo Rogerio Reis da Silva, the inspiration for this article, told the police he was abducted at gunpoint at 7am Thursday on his way to training at Botafogo. Police Video evidence shows him leaving his apartment at 9am, thus providing the real reason for his tardiness. If he is found guilty, he may face 6 months in prison. The BBC have reported that he was on time for training on Friday...
3) Manchester United's worst ever kit is probably that grey one. Remember it? Of course you do. We all remember it, and we all remember what happened in the game against Southampton in 1996. At half time, trailing 3-0, United blamed the grey kit for the score line suggesting they couldn't pick each other out. They changed shirts, but still lost 3-1...
2) Lighton Ndefway, former Gambian tennis player produced an even more infantile excuse for his defeat at the hands of Musumba Bwayla than both Mervyn King and Manchester United combined. Asked why he lost he responded: “Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Gambia.” What a guy.
1) Stephen Ireland, Aston Villa and Ireland Midfielder, missed the Ireland vs. Czech Republic clash – pulling out on compassionate grounds, following the passing of his maternal grandmother. However, the Irish press found that his grandmother was alive and well, at which point most folk would wave the white flag. Not Mr. Ireland. His self-dug hole deepened significantly when he claimed it was actually his paternal grandmother who had died. She too was found to be still alive. Stupid as this all seems, the most ridiculous part is that his reason for wanting to go home was that his girlfriend had miscarried which, had he informed Steve Staunton (Ireland manager at the time), would have surely been grounds enough for passionate leave...
If anyone knows of any other stories along these lines, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!