The annual Associated Press vote of editors and news directors from across the country has resulted in the NFL’s difficulties with domestic violence as the top sports story of the year. It was the number one choice over the Donald Sterling banned as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers story.
The NFL domestic violence story dominated the sports headlines for the summer and into the first month of the regular season as a two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was handed down. In addition, there were rumblings regarding how the NFL handled the case and if the league saw the TMZ elevator video that showed Rice hitting his then-fiancée. That led to an about-face from Commissioner Roger Goodell who lengthened the Rice suspension indefinitely.
In addition to the Rice story, there was the suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson who was indicted for hitting his son with a switch.
While the Rice suspension was overturned through arbitration and Peterson sues the NFL to return to play, the league will continue to sail into some choppy waters as it deals with the issue in 2015 and beyond.
As mentioned, the Donald Sterling saga was the second sports story of the year. As audio of racial slurs from Sterling surfaced, it began a battle over the Los Angeles Clippers. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life. The team was eventually sold to Microsoft exec Steve Ballmer and Sterling was not heard from again, although we may not have heard the last from the strange V. Stiviano.
The other stories in the Associated Press Top 10 Sports Stories of 2014 are as follows:
3. LeBron James returns home to Cleveland.
4. Firsts for gay athletes-Jason Collins becomes first openly gay athlete to play in the NBA and the four major sports leagues. Michael Sam drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
5. San Francisco Giants win the World Series.
6. College Football Playoff leads to excitement.
7. NASCAR’s Tony Stewart involved in a crash that leads to the death of Kevin Ward during a small sprint car race.
8. FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
9. Seattle Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII over Denver in convincing fashion.
10. 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
There was no mention of the stories that didn’t make the Top Ten list although the San Antonio Spurs winning the NBA title for the 5th time, the exciting conclusion to the NASCAR Chase for the Cup or the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs could have easily made it.
It was certainly a very interesting year in sports. We look forward to what 2015 will bring.