Diego Maradona was a great Argentinian soccer player – – and later the coach of the Argentine National Team. He led Argentina to the World Cup Championship in 1986. Of the field, he led a less-than-tranquil life; he was banned by FIFA twice for abusing drugs – – particularly cocaine. He also overate significantly weighing close to 300 lbs. after his playing days were done; the remedy for his obesity was gastric bypass surgery – – not diet and exercise. He was politically controversial too appearing with and supporting folks like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. He made lots of money in his playing and coaching endeavors but seemed to run afoul of some tax laws; the Italian government claimed that he owed Italy more than 35 million euros in unpaid taxes there. Diego Maradona died last November at age 60 under seemingly normal but unhappy circumstances.
In early November, Maradona was admitted to a hospital in Argentina for “psychological reasons” but soon after his admission to that hospital, he underwent brain surgery for a subdural hematoma – – a condition involving bleeding in or around the brain where the blood pools and exerts pressure on a part of the brain. All seemingly went well; Maradona was released from the hospital and seen as an outpatient as follow-up to the surgery. At the end of November, he suffered a heart attack and died. His funerall was a major event in Argentina; his body lay in state at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires.
So, why is this relevant now? Well, last week, the NY Post reported that seven people who were involved in and responsible for caring for Maradona last November are going to be charged with premeditated murder. Officials looking into the matter claim to have uncovered “deficiencies and irregularities” in the care provided. After reading that report, three unusual things jumped out at me:
- It is a giant leap from “medical malpractice that leads to a patient’s demise” to “premeditated murder”.
- It was only about 3 weeks from Maradona’s original admission to the hospital until his death and in that short period of time 7 people decided to conspire to kill him and then pulled it off.
- The report contained no information regarding a motive for this crime.
The surgeon who performed the surgery on the subdural hematoma is one of the seven folks being charged in the matter. A psychiatrist and a psychologist who were involved in the initial parts of his hospitalization treatment are also charged in this matter along with nurses a nursing administrator and another doctor whose specialty was not identified.
The investigation that led up to these charges began at the behest of Maradona’s children who claimed that the surgeon was responsible for Maradona’s deterioration and death soon after that surgery. A board of medical examiners decided that the surgeon and the folks acting as caregivers for Maradona “acted in an inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner” in his treatment. It is not clear if there will be one trial for the seven accused people or seven separate trials.
There is another story out there these days about another medical professional with charges hanging over his head. Based on allegations by 10 female athletes who said that the former director of sports medicine there had engaged in “inappropriate touching”, San Jose State officials performed an internal investigation of its athletic department and Scott Shaw who is the person identified as the alleged “inappropriate toucher”. That investigation “substantiated” the claims by these former athletes with many of the allegations dating back more than 10 years, but at least two of the incidents allegedly happened in 2017. That is important because there is a 5-year statute of limitations hanging over these sorts of criminal behavior.
Obviously, one must adhere to the presumption of innocence here, but it is interesting to note that the based on the university’s investigation, the athletic director was removed from her position and “reassigned” to a fundraising position not associated with the athletic department. As they used to say in the Mazda commercials:
And now, the latest news is that the FBI has entered the case and is doing its own investigation. You may recall that the FBI was also involved in uncovering lots of facts involving Larry Nassar’s inappropriate behaviors at Michigan State and as a team doctor for the US Women’s Gymnastic Team. My gut tells me there will be more news about these more recent allegations forthcoming…
So, staying on the track of allegedly criminal stuff associated obliquely with sports, the scene for this next situation is a middle-school football game in Wisconsin last Fall. A woman was arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest when she refused to leave the premises because she refused to wear a mask at the game when the school district required attendees to be masked. Supposedly, when she refused to “mask up” and was told to leave the premises, she refused; when a police officer told her she was under arrest, she resisted to the point where he used his TASER on her to subdue her and remove her from the premises.
Officials offered the woman a plea deal. The resisting arrest charge would be dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to trespassing. Under the deal, she would serve a year of “non-contact probation” meaning no middle-school football games for that year. She turned down the deal and now her attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely. Middle-school football must be a pretty big deal in that part of Wisconsin…
Finally, here is a Tweet from Brad Dickson from earlier this week:
“Bob Dylan turns 80 today. Scary thing is he’s at an age where a lot of men begin to be difficult to understand.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………