By Christian S. Kohl
As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the top 10 figures in the sporting world who would have been far better off avoiding Twitter, taking the high road, or playing the quiet game:
10. Sports and Politics Always Mix
Starting us off, Boston Mayor Tom Menino said he hoped the Boston Red Sox would win “the World Series Cup.” You know, the World Series Cup. The thing you pour all that locker room champagne into. Ah, Sports and politics. It’s a miracle the Sox won this year, without John Kerry’s favorite player, “Manny Ortez”
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9. By All Means, Continue
ESPN Analyst David Pollack offered this enlightened gem:
“Now I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth, probably…I want people on this committee, guys, that can watch tape, yes, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams, on tape, not on paper–”
“So no woman belongs on the committee, then?” asked Fowler.
“You said that … I’ll say it, yeah. Yeah,” replied Pollack.
That was the way Lincoln prefaced the Gettysburg Address, right? Being paid to talk does not mean people want or need to hear every passing thought. Especially when thoughts are this ugly.
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8. A New Contender Has Emerged
Not to be outdone for 2013’s “Most Misogynist,” racing great Stirling Moss offered his take on women in Formula One:
“I think they have the strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel…we’ve got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win. The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula One race.”
See, not so awful, right? Remember, it’s not patronizing if you use the word, “robust.” Also, if sports history has proven anything, it’s that athletes who were previously denied the chance to compete never make good when finally given the opportunity.
7. Me, Myself, and I
Dallas Cowboys owner, president & GM Jerry Jones: “I’ve always worked for myself and you can’t do that. You basically have to straighten that guy out in the mirror when you work for yourself. But certainly, if I’d had the discretion, I’ve done it with coaches and certainly I would have changed a general manager.”
If that quotation made little sense to you, join the club. I think he’s saying his tenure as GM of the Cowboys would have merited termination if he were anyone else. So he was so bad he should be fired. By himself. But he won’t do that because he’s such a qualified GM after all. It’s always confidence inspiring to know that in comparison to all others, an owner/GM holds himself to the lowest standard.
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6. No Fighting
Philadelphia Eagles WR Riley Cooper: “I will jump this fence and fight every n***** here!”
Nothing funny about this.
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5. Discarding a Hall of Famer was My Master Stroke
Colts owner Jim Irsay: “You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love this.”
Translation: “I didn’t want to gamble on Manning’s neck or contract, I lost that gamble, fired Caldwell for no reason, but got a very viable QB in the process and am playing it off like it was my plan all along.”
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4. Our Resident Expert
Donovan McNabb on NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson: “He’s not an athlete…he sits in a car and he drives. That’s not athletic…. What athletically is he doing?”
Sports panel shows which require athletes to vamp about topics with which they are totally unfamiliar lead to sound bites such as this. An injured and immobile McNabb may have looked just as strange to Johnson: He’s just standing back there getting pounded, throwing the ball to the other team, and not winning. What athletically is he doing?
3. Too Many Sticks and Stones
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder: “On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.”
This controversy has garnered a lot of attention this year, and this PR stance was anything but savvy. After all, the meaning of words never evolves over time, right?
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2. Here Comes Cooperstown
Pete Rose: “I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend.”
Nothing exemplifies regret and reformation for a past misdeed quite like lamenting a failure to engage in domestic abuse. After all, if lack of self control and questionable moral choices brought about this lifetime ban, assertions such as this shall surely lift that ban any day now.
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1. One Step Beyond a Hat Trick
San Jose Sharks Center Joe Thornton:
“I’d have my **** out if I scored four goals. I’d have my **** out, stroking it.”
Some quotations are taken out of context. It would be amazing to see a proper context when this makes logical sense. Thornton simply did not expect to be quoted. So when you look a it that way, it’s equally absurd. Joe Thornton is the winner for the #1 man in sports who should have kept his mouth, among other things, closed in 2013.
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Christian S. Kohl is a sports contributor for CBS Local Digital Media.
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