When sport gets dirty: the sports stars who urinated on the pitch
WHEN sport gets dirty
‘Wicketleaks’ – the story (leaked by two Australian journalists) that England cricketers urinated on the hallowed Oval square after an evening of victory celebration – has apparently been resolved by an apology from the players involved.
However, high-minded criticism heaped upon them by the likes of Shane Warne has focused on the idea that they have in some way ‘disrespected’ the sport in general and Oval’s tradition in particular. (This, remember is the ground that was until recently named the Foster’s Oval, after a commercially manufactured brand of Australian piss.)
But at least they, like Monty Panesar earlier in the month, did not perform their al fresco urination during the game itself. The same, sadly, cannot be said for exponents of less classy games.
David Fleming wrote the seminal article on sporting incontinence.
In it, he cites a survey by the Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research, which found that 72 per cent of conditioned athletes have suffered from lower-intestine distress.
And that’s without even considering the weak bladders.
So here, to put the ‘Slashes’ furore into context, are some of the more famous examples from the world of sport…
Russell Packer of the New Zealand Warriors incurred a fine for his club this summer after urinating on the pitch during a match against Brisbane Broncos. Packer tweeted: “Good win when u gotta go u gotta go lol.”
NRL General Manager (Football Operations) Nathan McGuirk was less amused: “This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and there is no
excuse for it.”
Packer later apologised.
Meanwhile, Manly (the, club that is) prop Don McKinnon hailed the Broncos entry to the premiership in 1988 by urinating on Lang Park and was fined a thousand dollars…
While All Blacks forward Jerry Collins also famously urinated on the field before the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia in 2006…
Baseball seems largely free of this sort of thing, probably because there is ample opportunity to visit the ‘restroom’. The same however does not apply to non-human participants, such as this one in Arkansas…
Jimmy Greaves famously captured an errant dog that ran onto the pitch during England’s World Cup quarter-final against Brazil in 1962. What did it do? Piss all over him. Watch closely and you will see him shaking his hands dry.
Jimmy was of course utterly blameless, which is more than can be said for Gary Lineker – football’s ‘Mr Clean’ – during the boring draw with Ireland at the 1990 World Cup. England stank the place out that night, and the future pundit and purveyor of crisps made his own diSTINKtive contribution…
Since then we’ve had Fabien Barthez at Marseille…
…Jens Lehmann during Stuttgart’s 2009 Champions League clash with Unirea…
…USA sub DaMarcus Beasley was caught on camera during the 2002 World Cup…
…and of course, Mario Gotze…
After San Diego’s Nick Novak was caught in the clip below, the NFL officially announced that it’s OK to urinate by the pitch, as long as there is something to provide discreet cover. In this case a Chargers trainer did the honours. Novak claimed he did this ‘two or three times a game’.
Seattle Seahawks’ Robbie Tobeck came down with a bad intestinal virus before the team’s away game at Washington. Trainers kept a spare kit and a bucket by the bench, and events were so awful that when Tobeck played at the Redskins’ stadium two years later, he found a pack of adult nappies in his locker.
Cyclists are probably the worst offenders. Given that they have special gloves to allow them to blow and wipe their noses, they are hardly likely to stand on ceremony when nature calls. And they don’t: they stand on the side of the road instead, brazen as you like.
For the British public, Paula Radcliffe remains the most famous victim, on account of her famous pit stop towards the end of the London Marathon.
“I have to apologise to the nation,” she said afterwards. “I must have eaten too much. I was losing 10 seconds every mile because my stomach was cramping.”
Julie Moss’s heroic failure in the 1982 Ironman Triathlon culminated in a catastrophic bodily shutdown and the results weren’t pretty.
David Fleming quotes her: “It sounds crazy and gross, but I think a lot of athletes will read this and go, ‘Oh, god, yes, I know that feeling.’ They’ll understand that in my situation it really was a simple, even an easy, choice for me. Yes, I was willing to shit my pants rather than stop.”
All things considered, the antics of Broad, Anderson and co hardly deserved to make a splash.