The term ‘WAGs’ was first used by the British tabloids in 2006 as an acronym for the wives and girlfriends of the English soccer team. The term is often associated with poor sporting performances or chaotic off-field escapades with the ‘WAGs civil war’ taking the blame for England’s poor performance at the 2006 World Cup – one which many English soccer fans had hopes of winning.
It’s not just a term exclusively used by the British press, though. WAGs has become part of the lexicon here in the US, too. And American sport has had no shortage of WAGs controversy in the past decade and a half.
In this article we take a look back at the impact that famous WAGs have had on the fortunes of their spouses and sport in general.
Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and Tishana Holmes
Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ lawyer claims he showed restraint when arrested by police at the Rising Sun Casino – this footage suggests otherwise
Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and his wife Tishana Holmes are reportedly fond of a bit of gambling in their spare time with the pastime allowing them an escape from the all-encompassing nature of NFL. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of gambling per se – unless you get arrested for cheating at blackjack and end up facing a rap sheet longer than a gridiron pitch.
That’s the distinct possibility facing Pacman today. He was charged with a series of offences in February of this year when he was busted for cheating at the Rising Star Casino. Staff accused Pacman of adding to his stack of chips once the result had been determined in a variety of table games.
Casino staff rang the police and Pacman was subsequently arrested. However, the drama didn’t stop there. Police allege that he responded in a confrontational manner and have subsequently charged him with a string of additional offences, including felony intimidation and felony battery. The sports star is set to deny these allegations vociferously with his lawyer claiming that he showed enormous restraint during the incident. That might not stand up too well in court though, considering Tishana recorded the arrest and uploaded it to the internet.
In the video, which has been leaked by TMZ, Pacman’s aggression is so clear to see it will surely be used as evidence against him when the prosecution seeks their eight convictions. The 35-year-old could be facing a prison spell if the video footage is used successfully by the prosecution. Further to that, his sporting career seems dead in the water. The veteran corner remains unsigned since December.
In future, maybe Pacman and his wife should stick to playing online blackjack to avoid breaking the law and ending up in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Brent and Miko Grimes
Miko Grimes has made a habit of hindering her husband’s career with controversial social media comments
A key role of a partner is to be supportive of their spouse – we get that. But at times there is a fine line between being supportive and destructive. Miko Grimes is someone who has consistently struggled to differentiate that line.
As a former basketball player herself and a host of a sports talk show you’d think that Miko would know a thing or two about the internal politics of sports teams. She highlighted her ignorance or disregard for this in 2016 when she took to social media to criticise the owner of the Miami Dolphins for cutting her husband Brent Grimes from the team. Miko tweeted the following:
“Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannebaum put the jets in the dumpster.”
Obviously there’s absolutely no place for anti-Semitism in the modern world – especially when your husband is trying to make himself as appealing as possible to new employers.
This wasn’t the first time that Miko had taken to social media to publically lambast her husband’s employers. Ultimately Stephen Ross decided that he could replace Brent Grimes with another player, one whose wife wasn’t constantly criticising the club on social media and attracting negative press.
Brent Grimes saw out the rest of his playing career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with his wife continuing to court controversy. Grimes had the potential to go down in history as a legend at Miami but ultimately his legacy was ruined by his outspoken wife.
David and Victoria Beckham
Sir Alex Ferguson reckons David Beckham changed once he married Victoria
David Beckham makes it onto this list by virtue of what he has done for American sports – revitalising soccer at a time when it seemed destined to fade back into obscurity in the US.
None of that would have been possible without his wife Victoria, as she inadvertently pushed the English superstar to the US. In the mid-nineties Beckham was part of the fabled ‘Class of 92’ that helped turn Manchester United from also-rans into European heavyweights.
While Beckham was paramount to his club’s success, the main driving force was team manager Alex Ferguson – who had a reputation for being a hard taskmaster. The pair’s relationship broke down when David met his future wife Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Adams.
The courtship was dubbed a ‘marriage of convenience’ by the British press who accused Victoria of using David to promote her own public image. Victoria thrust David into the celebrity lifestyle – much to the ire of Ferguson, who wanted to propel United to greater glory.
After one match, Ferguson lashed out and flung a cleat at Beckham in the changing room. The pair’s relationship never recovered and Beckham was shipped out to Real Madrid the following summer.
During his time at the Spanish club, Beckham never really gained the full support of the fans who perceived his and Victoria’s courting of the press as symptomatic of a lack of professionalism.
This, combined with Victoria’s pursuit of more fame, led Beckham to move somewhat prematurely to MLS – the traditional graveyard of ageing European stars. While at LA Galaxy Beckham helped to raise the reputation of American soccer and has been cited as the driving force for its resurgence.
Ultimately, WAGs will always have prominence in the world of sports if their partners are high-profile enough. While they once courted headlines in gossip columns, they now court tweets – so the phenomenon looks like it’s going nowhere with the growing number of media formats throwing them under even more spotlights.