In the 40 weeks we’ve been running this column, this was the jerkiest week of them all.
Since last Saturday, the world of sports has been steamrolled by a circus train of freaks and imbeciles who have soiled the landscape with their despicable actions and deplorable behavior. A steady stream of clowns continues to emerge from the cesspool that runs beneath the world of sports, and this week offers up a pile unlike any we’ve seen to date.
On Saturday, CNN ran an explosive report that reinforces allegations that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno may have known Jerry Sandusky was raping little boys on campus well before Sandusky was arrested. The report cites a State Police report in which Paterno allegedly told whistleblower Mike McQueary, who caught Sandusky in the act in 2001, that it was “the second complaint of this nature he had received.”
This adds to other allegations that Paterno, who never directly reported his sick assistant to the police and instead waited several days before reporting the matter to PSU brass, allegedly fielded complaints about Sandusky as far back as 1976.
Paterno is dead and he cannot fight these allegations. But there remains a faction of Paterno truthers who continue to fight for a statue of the coach to be returned to campus. After mounting evidence that Paterno may have had more knowledge of these horrors, we say put the thing back up.
That way it can be torn down a second time.
NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD
Serial slimeball Lenny Dykstra, who conned people out of millions of dollars before he was thrown in jail, continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel and prove just how disgusting a human being he can be. In response to an awful social media exchange with “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham, Dykstra went on social media to issue an “emergency statement on feminism.” He slurred his way through a laundry list of offensive statements. He could barely read the words on the cue cards.
Among the lowlights:
– “Marriage. This should be a woman’s primary goal. Women are happier when they are married with kids and helping their husbands succeed.”
– “Lose 20 pounds. Trust me, you’ll look better and feel better. And the chances that your husband will remain attracted to you, will definitely increase.”
We live in a world where football players are excommunicated from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem, yet Dykstra spewed this sexist vomit in front of an American flag, and nobody seems to have a problem with that.
WINGED WHEEL AND DEAL
Imagine asking a homeless person if they can spare some change. That’s exactly what the owners of the Red Wings did when they went to the broke city of Detroit and somehow got a city that cannot properly fund its public schools, where real estate prices are among the lowest in the nation, where there are so few cops it could take up to an hour to respond to a 911 call, to fork over $250 million for a new hockey rink. More galling is that $13 million of that is coming directly out of Detroit school taxes.
Little Caesar’s Arena, named after the pizza empire owned by the Red Wings owners, the Ilitch family, opened this month with a Kid Rock concert. More on Rock in a moment.
Meanwhile, in Canada, the people of Calgary are refusing to be robbed like citizens of Detroit were by the Red Wings. They are standing up to the jerks who run the Flames and the city refuses to foot the bill for a $1.3 billion sports complex. According to Calgary lawmakers, they believe taxpayers would have to finance $1 billion of the CalgaryNext project with actual billionaire team owners forking over just $300 million.
Calgary is standing up to jerk team owners and what is the city going to get out of it? They’re probably going to lose their beloved Flames to a city like Seattle or Quebec, which have been clamoring for an NHL team for years.
They might lose their team, but at least Calgary will have its pride, and municipal budget, intact.
THE BRADY PUNCH
On Monday morning, Tom Brady had an opportunity to stand up for Colin Kaepernick, to put two shock jocks who have been suspended for racist and offensive behavior in the past in their place when they asked about anthem protesters. Instead, Brady, who once proudly displayed a Make America Great Again cap in his locker, took the fifth. Unlike Aaron Rodgers, who has said Kaepernick should be in the league and that people should take the time to understand why players are protesting the national anthem, Brady showed his true colors. You don’t have to agree with why players have been taking a knee for a year, but if you don’t understand why they are or give some respect to the message behind the protest, that makes you a jerk.
Brady is one of the most respected athletes in the world, and he had a chance to speak to an audience that is too wrapped up in being offended about the protests that it has ignored precisely why players are making a statement. Or maybe Brady just doesn’t care.
Making Brady even more of a jerk is the fact that Kaepernick actually stood up for him when he was under fire during the Deflategate scandal. “No football in the world is going to help you win by 38! Let it go and let Tom be great! On to the 2015 season,” Kaepernick tweeted in 2015.
This week, Brady was full of hot air and a jerk.
Monday night, ESPN put Sergio Dipp on national television and the guy bombed. He was eviscerated by legions of jerk trolls on social media for his performance, for his command of the English language, which is his second language, by the way. Dipp was humiliated and was forced to offer a video apology to tell people he meant no disrespect. Funny, but Rex Ryan, who was just as bad in his Monday Night Football debut, offered no such apology. And English is Rex’s first language.
OVER THE HILL
Jemele Hill responded to a tweet about Kid Rock on Monday and in voicing her opinion, she called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” and added “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime,” part of a series of posts she made on Twitter. By Tuesday, ESPN issued a public scolding of Hill, stating that, “The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
By Wednesday, the story reached peak stupidity. ESPN reportedly tried, and failed, to pluck Hill from the 6 p.m. SportsCenter show she hosts. The White House called for her to be fired, and by Thursday, Hill was forced to issue a public apology. For what? For posting her thoughts on social media. Isn’t that what Twitter is for? Trump does it multiple times a day and nobody is calling for him to lose his — well, nevermind.
The whole situation brought out the very worst in American media. Pundits went on TV to both stand up for Hill and to admonish her. She became a political football. Those who have said it’s OK for Kaepernick to be out of work because it is the right of NFL owners to decide who they hire turned into complete hypocrites in calling for ESPN to fire Hill.
I even received an email from a disgruntled reader who began his note referring to Hill as “a black bitch,” which is far more offensive than anything Hill tweeted. I wonder if that person thinks they should lose their job for typing something deemed offensive to people?
ESPN ultimately comes out as the biggest jerk in all of this. Over the years, the network set itself up for this week’s combustible events after muzzling talent and firing people for sharing their opinions on social media. On ESPN air would be one thing, but Curt Schilling, whether you agree with him or not, was fired for doing the same thing as Hill did this week. He shared his opinion on his own social media platform. Linda Cohn was reportedly disciplined for sharing her thoughts on mixing politics and sports on “The Bernie and Sid Show” on WABC. Mike Ditka landed in hot water for saying almost the same thing Hill tweeted last year when he said Barack Obama was “the worst president ever.” Conversely, Sage Steele popped off on Instagram about immigration protests, but was never disciplined. Over time, ESPN has created a double standard for itself and boxed itself, and all of us, into an impossible corner.
Hill was forced to issue an apology stating that her views should not be confused for those of her employer. As if anyone conflated her political beliefs for a sports and entertainment network. ESPN is a company, just like the one you and I work for. It is not a crime to have people working for you that hold different political opinions. You have relatives you don’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean they represent your entire family.
At the end of truly the jerkiest week of the last year, ESPN takes the prize as the biggest of them all for creating, handling, and ultimately fumbling the Jemele Hill situation worse than anything we’ve seen Mark Sanchez do with a football.
PACKING UP CARTON
Here in New York, you know who really benefitted from the Jemele Hill/ESPN hysteria? Craig Carton, that’s who. While the world was up in arms and fighting about offensive tweets and double standards in sports media, Carton quietly announced his resignation from WFAN as he attempts to fight serious federal fraud charges. We are all innocent until proven guilty, but throwing in the towel does not seem like something an innocent person would do. And even if Carton’s alleged ticket resale business was legit, he is a jerk for being a professional ticket scalper, running an operation designed to jack up the price of concert tickets many of his listeners may have been forced to buy.
As colleague Carron Phillips so eloquently tweeted: “Floyd the fighter, is one of the greatest boxers ever. Floyd the man, is one of the worst human beings ever.”
I am not as artful, so I’ll just say Floyd Mayweather is a walking, talking, chunk of feces. He is the most disgraceful sports personality of my lifetime and this week, he put an exclamation point on just how big of a jerk he is when he endorsed Donald Trump’s heinous “grab them by the p—y” comments.
Mayweather told Complex.com, “He speak like a real man spoke.” Because Mayweather would know? Because he’s a real man? Child, please. He is a serial woman beater, a convicted domestic abuser. He’s terrorized the women and children in his life. He may be one of the greatest boxers ever, but he also has a place on the Mount Rushmore of the biggest sociopaths, dirtbags, and jerks in sports history.
ART OF THE SQUEAL
Finally, on Friday morning, Donald Trump tweeted about the Jemele Hill fiasco. Because, of course he did.
Last year, Trump told an audience that NFL owners would not sign Kaepernick because they were afraid of getting a “nasty tweet” from him. This is exactly what one of those tweets looks like.
North Korea is launching missiles. Multiple U.S. states are still under water following a pair of devastating hurricanes. London is under terrorist attack. And the Commander in Chief wants to stick to sports.
What a jerk.
What a week.