Sports fans continue to get burned by 'idiot idols'

Sports fans continue to get burned by 'idiot idols'

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Baseball player Sammy Sosa arrives for the 12th annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 10, 2011. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ (Photo credit should read ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)


by Michael Solomon /

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 9:10 PM

( -- We put sports and sports figures on a pedestal. We get our civic pride and often our own personal pride from following our favorite teams and players. We look to the achievements of our heroes and marvel at their accomplishments. Sports is important to our lifestyle, our culture, our outlook in life.

There is no doubt that our idols are at the top of their game….the best athletes in the business. What’s not so clear is if our heroes have the same perspective as we do. We love them. We feel they should honor the games they play. Most of our Idols are good citizens….many lead normal lives (at least for athletes) and even give back to the community taking advantage of their popularity.

But week after week, there are too many examples of our heroes who flaunt their celebrity, lie, treat their fans with disdain or just generally exhibit bad behavior. These are the "Idiot Idols," or as some call them… the Millionaire Morons, who disrespect the talents that they have been blessed with and eat at the respect for the game. These are the Idiots who violate our trust and, in many cases, our laws. They can range from violating team rules (think Rams’ Rookie Chris Givens) to sexual assault accusations (think MU Tigers’ Michael Dixon) to cheating (Lance Armstrong) to just general stupidity (hello ESPN analyst Rob Parker, fired for his racist comments about RG3).

So what’s happened this week? As always, a lot.

Trash Talking Hall of Famer: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
During a game last week, Garnett called Carmelo Anthony’s wife, LaLa Vasquez “Honey Nut Cheerios” and said she was “good enough to eat.” To his credit, Carmelo followed Garnett out to the team bus to call him out. Of course this won’t stop Garnett from entering the “Trash-Talking Hall of Fame”. He once told the Spurs’ Tim Duncan “Happy Mothers Day (expletive)” when they played on the holiday, knowing that Duncan’s mother died of breast cancer when he was 14. Lot’s of class, Kevin.

Don’t Needle Sammy: Sammy Sosa, former Chicago Cub
Sosa has been accused of “shooting up” during his MLB career, which this week kept him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. That hasn’t stopped him from his work as partner/CEO of Injex 21, a Fort Lauderdale-based company that markets needle-free medical injectors for a variety of uses. Well, it always helps to go where you have experience.

He Could Have Used the Alias “Meta World Peace”: Rolando McClain, Oakland Raiders Middle Linebacker
When stopped by police in Alabama for having excessively tinted dark windows, McClain was asked to sign his name to the ticket. He signed his name “expletive y’all”. He even had a doctor’s note that said that he needed the tinting for medical reasons, so all he had to do was sign his name and move on, but he was too entitled, too privileged to do the right thing. When asked about the incident, McClain, who was a #1 draft pick out of Alabama, said, “I’m falsely accused of everything. (Everything? We wonder what else there is.) It’s corrupt. It’s terrible.” Seems he skipped Civics and “How to Act Like a Human” at the University of Alabama.

Now That’s A Real Slap in the Face: Chris Rainey, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steeler rookie was waived by the organization after assaulting his girlfriend. That’s laudable by the organization, but a lot different reaction to the previous problems of QB Ben Rothlisberger, who does seem to have settled down in his marriage. While Rainey’s girlfriend says the witnesses were mistaken (of course, there goes the running back’s future), this wasn’t his first time that Rainey was arrested. When he was a senior at the University of Florida, he sent a text message to his then girlfriend saying, “Time to Die (expletive)—u and urs.” One felony aggravated stalking charge later, and Rainey made it to the NFL, even though he had been dismissed from the football team.

I’ll Bet You’re Changing Your Number Now: Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals
By now we all know about the media circus surrounding Katherine Webb, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron’s lady friend, during the telecast of the BCS Championship Game last week. Of the tens of thousands of tweets she received after her “15 minutes of fame”, one was from LeBron James, who wanted to meet her, but immediately withdrew the entry. Dockery, on the other hand, tweeted his phone number (real smart) and suggested she should go with him to Miami to eat wings and hang out at strip clubs. Wow. That guy needs some new material.

And it’s not just players. The “Idiot Idol” label can be extended to just about anything related to sports. Announcers, Coaches, Organizations and Conferences. All of which tells us that no one and nothing is immune…or sacred.

Beauty and the Brent: Brent Musburger: ESPN Announcer
Since we were just talking of Katherine Webb, it really was a bit creepy of ESPN’s Brent Musburger and Kirk Herstreit to “stalk” Webb during a blowout game as they were looking for ways to keep viewer interest. Everyone knows what was said…about the physical attributes of both Webb as well as McCarron’s mother. Musburger soon gave the obligatory apology, which just means “I’m sorry I got caught”, although you have to wonder what he was thinking since it was the college championship game featuring two storied programs. You also really have to wonder about the director and the camera crew that seemed to focus on the two “beauties” vs. the game. By the way, Webb decided to stop the “circus” by cancelling a number of interviews she had slated after the game. Good for her.

It’s the Right Job For Me: Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Coach (we think)
“This decision (to stay as Notre Dame coach) was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country”. That was Coach Kelly after he interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles, after Notre Dame went on record saying they would offer him more money and a contract extension, after rumors came out about another NFL interview (that Kelly had to hastily cancel) and after his top recruit changed his mind and committed to the University of Florida. Of course it’s about the team. Isn’t it always?

Somebody Has Too Many Concussions: The Dallas Cowboys
The digital department of the Cowboys may have forgotten how well the team performed this season. Or maybe they just want to be loved. What else would possess them to disrespect another sport by tweeting “….in the category of nobody cares….the NHL is back!” That sounds like a cry for help to me.

What Exactly Does “On Probation” Mean: The BCS
The stories of idiocy that continue to plague the BCS are innumerable. But this isn’t about why another SEC team did not make the Bowl Championship Series or about the MAC or any of the corruption that has been rampant with some of the bowls (“Let’s Fiesta” says the chairman). This is about the on-probation Ohio State Buckeyes (I’m sorry, “The Ohio State University”) which didn’t play a bowl game but ended up #2 in the country behind Alabama and ahead of Oregon, Stanford, Georgia and others. The BCS representative from the Big 10 (or 12 or 14) was Wisconsin, which lost 4 of their last 6 games. They were the champions of the Big 10, but they finished behind Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern in the National Poll.

Yeah, we get it. Kind of.