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Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Sports People

In the wide world of sports, there are many d-bags. There’s something about a sports environment that leads to over privileged people making a mockery of their place as a role model to young people who look to them as a way to live their lives.

In 2011, sports in general, took a lot of self inflicted hits over the way the machine has run for decades. However, that machine is run by people and people operate it. To that end, here are the biggest d-bags of the sports world for 2011.

But first, I need to tell you about my friend.  I apologize for interrupting this awards list for such stuff but I couldn't sit idly by and see this happen to someone I care about.  You see, my friend has been unlucky in finding that perfect someone over the last year.   They were in a pretty decent relationship for six years with a guy named Dave.   Dave wasn't the most perfect person in the world and he was kind of an underachiever but he was a decent guy and you could count on him to be there if you needed him.  Unfortunately, it never seemed like Dave was ever going to rise to the occasion and seal the deal, so they parted ways.

But when it seemed like my friend was going to be without someone, they found another guy two weeks later, named Michael.  Actually, another friend introduced them.  Now, Michael appeared to be a great guy.   We never heard anything bad about him.  He came highly recommended by our mutual friend that did the introducing. What we didn't know was that he had a problem.   Unfortunately, that problem became public when Michael was arrested for domestic violence in late December last year.  My friend quickly cut ties with Michael and our mutual friend apologized for the whole thing. 

Well, not to worry, I guess, because my friend found a new guy, Todd,  introduced to them by the same guy that introduced them to Michael.  You can surely understand how leery we were of this new guy.   He was an older gentleman and he liked to talk.  He would talk about he had all these great plans for the future.  He spoke of integrity.   Of course, we didn't trust this guy, but it seemed like everything would be OK.  For almost a year they were together and it was a little bit rough.   There would be problems and Todd would constantly say, "There's nothing wrong with our relationship, it must be you."  He was constantly throwing my friend under the bus when things didn't go right.  We could all see the cracks showing, but he insisted he was in the relationship for the long haul.

Then, sadly, he just took off for Arizona.  Said, he had found his dream partner and wanted to be closer to his family that he had out there.  Yet, he never spoke of having any family out there.  My friend was floored.  They found out in the worst way.  Todd didn't even have the guts to tell them to their face.  He simply texted he was leaving and that was it.  All that talk of commitment and integrity was for show and he was only really interested in money.  What a jerk?

Now my friend is alone again and they were supposed to go to this big party down in Alabama next month and have no one to take them.  I think Todd's good friend is going to take them, but I don't think he'll hang around for very long afterwards.

So, on behalf of my friend, 'Eff you Todd Graham.  The only high octane thing you had was that bus waiting to take you out of town.  The same high octane bus you constantly threw your quarterback under."   It's just too bad you did this so late or you could have made the official list of d-bags for 2011.

Now back to the list.

Jim Tressel – Tit for Tat OSU.
As the head coach of The Buckeyes, Jim Tressel, had an impressive overall record of 94-22. He also had a record of playing fast and loose with the rules of collegiate sports long before he wore the scarlet and gray.

Even though he had been cleared of wrong doing in the past, he continued to see collegiate football as above the law. In 2011, he came under fire when some of his players accepted payment, in the form of tattoos, for memorabilia from their collegiate achievements. While the players received suspensions and Tressel offered to fall on the same sword, it became apparent that his knowledge of this incident as well as others, in the past, showed a pattern of abuse of the rules. Tressel resigned and the University went into self imposed probation and vacated their 2010 season record.

Tressel bounced back, sort of, as he took a position with the Indianapolis Colts. Although, considering how their season has been without QB Peyton Manning on the field, he ended up on the short end of the stick. Still, if he’s still on the staff next year, he could find himself on a winning team if the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes favors the Colts come draft time.

As clean as Tressel may appear in all his doings, preaching about doing the right thing and being a good student athlete, his real life just goes to show that there are rules for student athletes and there are rules for everyone else. No matter how you slice it, he’s a hypocrite and a d-bag.

Jerry Sandusky – Former PSU coach and alleged child rapist.
Out in Happy Valley, there is a bubble that surrounds the entire community. They have their rules, their own lives, and their own sense of entitlement that supersedes all others. We call it, “Drinking the PSU Kool-Aid.”

But that bubble burst when authorities began investigating allegations that former defensive coordinator and founder of The Second Mile organization, Jerry Sandusky, had sexually abused kids on campus property. Soon, Camelot crumbled and people, very important people, like Joe Paterno lost their jobs over the scandal that rocked Happy Valley.

Now, of course, Sandusky, is innocent until proven guilty. However, when you go on national television and take 16 seconds to answer ‘No’ to the question of, ‘Are you sexually attracted to young boys’, reasonable doubt becomes harder to find.

Of course, it doesn’t help when your defense attorney tells people to call a gay phone sex service if they think his client is guilty. If the Ohio State University scandal peeled back a layer of the underbelly of corruption in collegiate sports, the Sandusky scandal aims to rip it to the bone.

In the end, the only silver lining is that perhaps this shines a better light on how we put too much importance on the business of collegiate sports as a money maker and not enough on how we are supposed to be mentoring young people into better adults.

Jerry Meals – He says it’s safe to run with scissors.
Imagine living in a city where winning seasons is not just a wish but an expectation. You have a top notch football team that has won more championships than any other team in the league and you have a high performance hockey team that has arguably the greatest player in the world among their ranks. Then you have a baseball team that has a 19 year losing record and reality comes crashing down.

Then imagine that in 2011, the dark clouds over PNC park appear to vanish and the bright rays of winning come shining down on the field as The Pittsburgh Pirates began to win more games than they lose. Of course, they go back and forth between being under .500 and over, but for the most part, the Pirate Ship seems to have been righted after so many bad years.

Then, on July 26th, 2011, one of the longest baseball games ever takes place. In the wee hours of the morning, during the 19th inning, the umpire makes a horrendous call that costs your underdog team a win and starts the downward spiral back into a place where they end up having delusions of mediocrity.

When Jerry Meals called Julio Lugo safe at home, it sparked a firestorm among Pirates fans. Meals and his family became the target of death threats. The league even admitted that Meals was wrong but that was too late. If only Meals would have watched the jumbotron and seen how wrong he was he could have reversed the call and even though the game could have gone on a couple more hours, his world would have been spared. But nope, he was a d-bag and now there are shirts like this… (Shameless Plug)
Jerry Meals Says It's Safe

Roger Goodell – The Commissioner has no clothes.
Anyone who reads the blog, here, knows at least two things. I can’t write and I hate Roger Goodell. The writing thing could probably be helped but the Roger Goodell thing is eternal. I don’t care that he’s brought the NFL and its teams’ owners more money than any other commissioner. I don’t care that he has rallied a call for player safety. He’s a d-bag and will always be a d-bag in my book. In fact, I may just rename the awards to the Roger Goodell award just to show my ire over this man.

I won’t get into the debate over whether he’s targeting the Steelers on any given Sunday. I won’t even argue his continued punishment of the Steelers because in all likelihood, they did the deeds they were punished for. My continued railing against Goodell comes over his incapacity for consistency in doling out of punishments.

Ben Roethlisberger was given a six game suspension for allegedly (never charged) assaulting a woman in Milledgeville, GA. It was reduced to four and the Steelers ended up 3-1 without their star QB and even made it to the Super Bowl. But Albert Haynesworth gropes a waitress and pleaded no contest to the accusation. Haynesworth is a repeat offender off the field with his alleged conduct including traffic violations and battery which make him more of a threat to society than Roethlisberger and he receives no punishment, no suspension, and no fines over this waitress incident. That alone causes Goodell to make this list and with the latest punishment handed on James Harrison, he nearly takes the bracket.

But still, in the scheme of things, there can be only one overall biggest d-bag among sports people and that is…

Jerry Sandusky

I don’t think I need to justify my decision with anything other than, if what happened is true and he even used Second Mile as a way to pimp kids to high paying pedophiles then he deserves to burn for eternity after serving life in prison.

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