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January 16 - Sports Drama

While everyone may enjoy different hobbies, interests and addictions, there is one
addiction that brings people of all genders, races, and walks of life together.  The
addiction is sports.  I can honestly say that sports are the one thing in my life that
I’ve played and watched for my entire life.

Uncontrollable addictions of reality TV and a previously undisclosed addiction to
boy band music luckily have come and gone.  However, sports remain an
addiction that I will never get rid of. Though undocumented one can only assume
that sports date back to the days of early hominids when Thor the caveman hand
crafted a bat and ball out of woolly mammoth tusks and engaged in a ruthless
home run derby with a neighboring caveman.

The excitement and emotional roller coaster caused by ninth-inning heroics or a last second
touchdown pass are often enough to make a pugnacious construction worker break out in an
uncontrollable tantrum pouring tears of sadness and joy down his face, thus cementing the addiction
even more.  

While we all enjoy the actual play on the field, there is an aspect of sports that sports fans share in
common with a whiny, spoiled, MTV’s Laguna Beach addicted, six-teen year old girl.  This addiction is
drama.  I’m not saying that the addiction runs deep as taping the last seven episodes of the show to
see if that ladies man Stephen gets back with the cute and irresistible LC, but whether you like to
admit or not, sports drama draws you to it like a moth on a light bulb.  (I don’t watch Laguna Beach, I
swear).  

Terrell Owens, the insatiable Philadelphia Eagles wide out was probably the top sports story of 2005
and it wasn’t because of his paltry forty-something catches.  T.O. was the 2005 NFL version of
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.  I can’t remember a single catch that Terrell made last season,
but what I can remember is the classic interview that took place in his driveway while he did sit ups
with his shirt off.  Hilarious.  ESPN covered the T.O. saga during the 2005 campaign like CNN
covering the presidential election and I like others was glued to the set.  

Why are we so addicted to this stupid drama?  Why do we find more entertainment watching an
athlete dismantle his brilliant career than create it?  Frankly I think it is sick, but at the same time I
can't stop!  Was it Thor, the early caveman who ate the hypothetical apple in the cave by holding out
and demanding more berries for his Babe Ruth woolly mammoth power stroke?  Or is there a teen-
age drama-hungry crazed girl hiding in each one of us?  While I don’t have any of the answers for this
phenomenon, I have compiled a list of several past and present athletes that have managed to
destroy their once promising careers to give you a quick fix for your sports drama addiction:

Terrell Owens – Terrell is currently in the process of ending his own career by refusing to play for any
team that pays him a paycheck, as well as constantly bashing teammates and coaches.  T.O. is the
type of player who would sit out a father-son flag football game if he wasn’t getting the ball.  

Rae Carruth – A standout at the University of Colorado, Carruth had a promising career ahead of him
as a Carolina Panther’s wide receiver when he was convicted and sentenced for 18-24 years for
conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend.  Smart move.  

Todd Marinovich -  After leading USC to the Rose Bowl in his freshman year, and having
unbelievable talent, Marinovich embarked on a recreational career that included drugs and sexual
assault charges.  He played only eight games in the NFL, but did have a large signing bonus to blow
on drugs after his career.

Lawrence Phillips – A star running back with the University of Nebraska, Phillips led the Cornhuskers
to a National title, but engaged in extra curricular activities that included countless domestic violence,
drunk driving, and disorderly conduct, not in that order, but sometimes all in one night, before his
promising NFL career short was cut short.

Tonya Harding – The queen of drama, one ice skater, now boxer  paid hit men to injure the knee of
competitor Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 U.S. Championships.  In 2000 she punched and threw a
hubcap at her ex-boyfriend and has had other incidents involving alcohol.  Seriously who throws a
hubcap?  Seriously?

Maurice Clarett – This former Ohio State running back’s accolades off the field
far exceed his accolades on the field.  Lying on a police report about his car
being burglarized and misleading investigators in 2003 got him a
misdemeanor and suspended for the season.  From there he sued the NFL
and accused Ohio State of offering him passing grades, money, cars and jobs.  
After being drafted by Denver in the 2005 NFL draft he accepted an incentive
based contract that paid him nothing after he was cut in the preseason.  On
New years day, 2006 Clarett mirroring Jim Carrey in “Fun With Dick and Jane”,
substituting Globodyne for his former employer, the Broncos, robbed two
people at gunpoint in an alley in Ohio.  Maurice you may or may not want to
consult a guidance counselor.  

Ron Artest - Like Owens, Artest is currently at risk to destroy his own drama-plagued career.  Anger
management issues, numerous suspensions, missed practices, confrontations, obscene gestures,
requests to miss games to promote his record label and lest we not forget a year long suspension
following the largest brawl in NBA history have contributed to the possible demise of Artest.  He is
currently seeking a trade and has not played a game since December 6th.  

Rafael Palmeiro - A 19-year veteran and former first ballot Hall of Famer, this power hitting Baltimore
Orioles first-baseman tested positive for steroids after being one of the biggest advocates against
them.  Since the tests he has yet to admit his guilt, and has blamed everyone from Miguel Tejada, to
his own wife to the milkman for injecting the drugs into his body.  He has now put an asterisk on his
entire career, his character and may have ruined his chances at the hall.  Does Palmeiro think that
'roids work like sleazeballs putting roofies in unsuspecting girl’s drinks?  Sorry buddy, I don’t think
Erik Bedard snuck into your locker when you were showering and injected 'roids into your leftover
meatloaf…

There is one player in my opinion that takes the cake for 2005 and possibly beyond…

Marcus Vick  - Though also currently in the process of destroying his career, Marcus, formerly the
starting quarterback for Virginia Tech University had it all.  A strong arm, fast legs, bright hopes for the
future, a brand new Escalade purchased by his older brother, good looks, charm, under-age
girls…wait, stop there!  His 40 time may have eclipsed his IQ long ago, as this promising young
athlete has chipped away at his future with one drama filled incident after the next.  Lets take a minute
and go over Marcus’s timeline while attending or in most cases not attending Virginia Tech.

--Sept. 2, 2003:  Suspended by coach Frank Beamer for undisclosed reason.  
--Feb. 17, 2004: Arrested for allegedly furnishing underage girls with alcohol,
and having sex with a 15-year old. (Later was found guilty of furnishing alcohol,
but cleared on sex charges)
--July 3, 2004: Charged with reckless driving and marijuana possession.  
Suspended from Tech.
--Aug. 3, 2004:  Suspended from VT for the entire 2004 season after pleading
guilty to above charges.  
--Sept. 13, 2004: Receives 30-day suspended jail sentence in plea deal, but is
fined and ordered to stay away from the teenage girls.  (Shouldn’t this be a
given already?)
--Jan. 17, 2005:  Cleared to rejoin football team and re-enroll at VT.
--Oct. 1, 2005: Makes obscene gestures to fans during a victory at West Virginia.  
--Dec. 17, 2005: Pulled over by police in Hampton for speeding while on a suspended license.  
--Jan. 2, 2006: Leads VT to a Gator Bowl win, but in process manages to stomp on the calf of
opposing All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil.  Shortly after the incident Marcus stated he
apologized to the cleat marked Dumervil, but Dumervil never received an apology.  Sorry Marcus,
apologizes in your head doesn’t telepathically transfer the message to Elvis.
--Jan. 6, 2006: Kicked off of Virginia Tech for…do I even need to say, just look above!  
--Jan. 9, 2006: Charged with pulling a gun on three teenagers during an altercation in a McDonald's
parking lot. The carnage continues…

I don’t think any drama filled reality television show could compete with this novel-like rap sheet.  
Marcus has been given plenty of chances to turn his life around and instead of doing that, he has
found ways to make it even worse.  

I guess the worst part about Marcus would have to be his attitude.  Is he that stupid that he doesn’t
realize the magnitude of his actions?  Was he dropped on his head as a child?  After being kicked out
of school, he simply stated, “It’s not a big deal, I’ll just move on to the next level baby.”  Taking it to the
next level would be one thing, but baby?  Sorry Marcus, but you’re talking to the media, not a trash
talking neighborhood corner back in a Saturday morning flag football game.  

The younger Vick’s numbers are nothing spectacular since he only played one full season and
although his potential on the field has a tremendous upside, his off-field problems may outweigh that
when NFL teams take a look at him come April.   
   
So what do we do with these athletes that are ticking time bombs just waiting to self implode?  Are
certain players just cursed with a note from Inspector Gadget’s chief, and headed for inevitable self-
destruction? No one knows for sure.  But in the meantime we can do nothing but sit back, grab a
beer, and enjoy the carnage unfold to get our fix of drama.  It’s either that or watch old re-runs of Dillon
McKay and Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210.  I trust you’ll make the right decision.