John Terry and Wayne Bridge were friends and teammates. Multi-millionaires, England soccer gods.
Then, so the story goes, Bridge broke up with his girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of his child. And Terry ... well, apparently Terry slept with her. She denies it, but Bridge and Terry are no longer friends or teammates.
"Soccer players, basketball players, baseball players who cloister together ... it's almost like a village," said Martin Kelner, an English sports writer. "It would be impossible for it not to happen. ... And I'm sure it's more common that we know."
Terry was sacked from his job as captain of the England soccer team. And Bridge, the wronged party, said he didn't want to go to the World Cup anymore, because Terry was still going.
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England's manager, Fabio Capello, banned all wives and girlfriends -- that's WAGs, for short -- from going to the tournament.
Over in France, there was snickering.
"Most people smiled because the English were in trouble," said Xavier Rivoire, a French sports journalist.
But then, three French soccer stars were all accused of sleeping with the same underage prostitute. She was, allegedly, 17 at the time. Two players deny the charge. The other admitted to a liaison but said he thought she was over 18.
"The actual story was not, from the French perspective, that shocking," said Rivoire.
In France, taking a mistress is apparently de rigueur -- and no one cares. The young lady has become a pinup model and says all three players treated her well. She has no complaints. Prosecutors have shelved the case until after the World Cup.
"So the players involved are not going to be annoyed during the competition," said Rivoire. "Which is quite extraordinary, when you think about it."
Top 5 Sporting Sex Scandals
But setting aside the French -- who clearly have different rules, and attitudes -- let's further sully our palates with my quick top five sporting sex scandals of all time.
No.1 -- Tiger Woods: You all know the story. Beautiful Swedish wife. String of alleged conquests. Apology and sex addiction rehab.
No. 2 -- The Minnesota Vikings 2005: A boat, a lake, Florida prostitutes, dubbed "a floating orgy" by prosecutors.
"You got 250, 300-pound guys having sex on the floor right in front of you," said Stephen Doyle, an attorney representing boat owners.
Three players were later found guilty of disorderly conduct.
No. 3 -- The New York Yankees 1972: Leftie pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson swapped wives.
No. 4 -- Cleveland Indians, late '70s: Rick Manning had an affair with Dennis Eckersley's wife, Denise, and later married her.
No. 5 -- A married English soccer player, Stan Collymore, admitted to cruising for sex in parking lots -- "dogging," as it's known -- while driving a car with personalized plates.
Which proves that gallivanting athletes aren't necessarily that smart.
Should we expect more from them? They're buff, young, rich and have a lot of time on their hands between games.
"As long as they don't drink too much," said Kelner. "They're having sex, which most doctors will tell you is a good, healthy exercise."
And as long as they're not doing it with a teammate's WAG.