- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

It was the best of times, it was the who are we kidding? From Cheech and Chong-shaming marijuana busts to the shame of USA Basketball, 2002 was far and away the most dubious year in sports history, a one-way trip to the bottom of Najeh Davenport's laundry basket.
Fans attacked players. Players pummeled fans. John Henry Williams turned his father into a human Klondike Bar. Mike Tyson opened his mouth. And the Juice continued his lonely quest for justice.
It was ridiculous. It was ignominious. It was with apologies to Esquire magazine nothing short of dubious
He was chasing the real killers
O.J. Simpson was fined $65 for speeding though a Biscayne Bay manatee zone in a powerboat.
Second time for everything
After Simpson missed a court appearance to contest the fine, a Miami judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
"Your honor: If my client is gone, you must move on!"
The warrant was withdrawn after Simpson's lawyers rescheduled his hearing.
Just like the second half of his baseball career
After agreeing to a plea bargain that reduced three battery charges to five years probation, Jose Canseco blew off his required court hearing.
But not his car?
Canseco's brother Ozzie showed up late to the same hearing, claiming his car keys had been stolen.
In other news, the Earth rotated
Darryl Strawberry was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation, the result of a 1999 arrest on drug and prostitute solicitation charges.
Er, isn't that what got him into trouble in the first place?
Strawberry's parole violations included smoking and having sex with another drug treatment center member.
Big deal, the clothes were already dirty
Green Bay Packers fullback Najeh Davenport was arrested for breaking into a university dormitory and defecating in a woman's laundry basket.
Not to mention our running back's digestive tract
The Packers released a statement that said: "It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this matter, however, until the legal system has run its course."
The lines for the laundry baskets were just too long
During a Monday night Packers game at Lambeau Field, police arrested 11 fans and ejected dozens more for urinating in the sinks of the stadium's restrooms.
Remember, kids: Always wear a cup
A member of the Ukrainian soccer team Dinamo bit a teammate's manhood while celebrating his club's second goal over Lithuanian side Kaunas.
Shoulder pads, too
Real Madrid junior soccer player Jose Lopez Silva bit a referee on the shoulder during a game against third division club Navalcarnero.
Unlike, say, manhood-biting
Silva claimed that it was an "instinctive reaction."
Caught stealing
New York Yankees reserve outfielder Ruben Rivera swiped a bat and glove out of teammate Derek Jeter's locker, then sold the items to a memorabilia dealer for $2,500.
from himself
The Yankees promptly cut Rivera, who would have made $700,000 this season.
Character builder
A Michigan volunteer elementary school football coach, James D. Johnson, was sent to jail for ordering his players to attack an 8-year-old teammate.
Teaching our children the value of a buck
Johnson reportedly gave one of his players a dollar to carry out the attack.
Not-So-Splendid Splinter
John Henry Williams, the 33-year-old son of Ted Williams, went 0-for-6 during a stint with the Boston Red Sox's rookie league team.
Kid bids guardrails adieu
John Henry called it quits after running into a rail and cracking his rib while chasing down a fly ball.
Flights to the North Pole were sold out
Following Ted Williams' death, John Henry had his father's body flown to Arizona, where it was frozen by a cryogenic company.
Which is almost the same as cryogenic freezing
Williams' will stated that the Hall of Famer wished to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the Florida Keys.
Coincidentally, he keeps his spare tire in a safe deposit box
After family members sued to recover Williams' body, John Henry produced a handwritten note from the trunk of his car claiming that he and his father wanted to be put into bio-stasis following their deaths.
Curiouser and curiouser
Handwriting experts told a Boston newspaper that the note showed signs of forgery and had strong similarities to John Henry's handwriting.
Devoted caretaker
Former members of Williams' house staff accused John Henry of taking advantage of his aging father by having him sign memorabilia and documents that he didn't understand.
upstanding businessman
John Henry founded two different companies for the sole purpose of selling his father's autograph.
loving son
In 1998, Florida authorities investigated allegations against Williams that he underfed his father and trapped him in his own home.
and all-around swell guy!
According to Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, Williams' daughter, John Henry first brought up the idea of freezing their father's body last year, noting that "We could sell the DNA."
Um, there's plenty of DNA in there, right?
According to a former aide to Williams, John Henry once told his father: "Well, we don't have to freeze your whole body. We can just do your head."
Two thumbs down
New Mexico State football coach Tony Samuel punched out his team's video coordinator following an argument over a highlight film.
Paging Dr. Feeeelgoooood!
After testing positive for cocaine, Italian cyclist Gilberto Simoni blamed the result on a visit to his dentist.
Where a sinister, coke-addled Italian dentist was waiting for him
Dayton University basketball player Sammy Smith told his team he missed practice because he was kidnapped outside his apartment and forced, at gunpoint, to drive to Texas.
They needed a polygraph?
After flunking a lie detector test, Smith admitted that he made the story up.
When he mentioned a drive to Texas at gunpoint, jurors knew something was funny
Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber was indicted for lying to a grand jury about receiving illegal payments from a booster while playing at Michigan.
Magic number
Texas Rangers reliever John Rocker finished the season with an ERA of 6.66.
So, no Christmas fruitcake, then?
Rocker made a public apology after he was accused of calling a male couple "fruitcakes" as he got up to leave a Dallas restaurant.
However, he does enjoy a good fruitcake
New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza called a news conference to announce that he isn't gay.
The eviction notice was taped to Piazza's locker
According to a report in a New York City tabloid, the Mets might owe the city $1million in back rent for Shea Stadium.
Oh, so that's where the money went
Four Mets employees were indicted for reportedly stealing $2million from the team between 1994 and 2000.
A triumph of the human spirit. And drugs
German paralympian Thomas Oelsener was stripped of two gold medals after flunking a steroid test, becoming the first athlete to be ejected from the Winter Games for doping.
Poepping Tom
Former Minnesota Twin Mike Poepping spent four months in jail for videotaping his teenage stepdaughter through a two-way mirror in his bathroom.
He was only looking for his camcorder
The day he was released from jail, Poepping was caught hiding outside his stepdaughter's bedroom.
Perry Mason he's not
At a subsequent court hearing, Poepping's attorney denied that he had violated the terms of his probation, which required him to stay at least one mile away from his stepdaughter.
Takes one to know one
After calling opponent Oscar de la Hoya a phony, boxer Fernando Vargas tested positive for steroids.
Guess the ground can cause a fumble
Denver quarterback Brian Griese tripped on a driveway at a teammate's house and was knocked unconscious..
C'mon bullfrogs?
Former NFL player and wrestler Leon Allen White aka Big Van Vader drunkenly crashed his SUV into a bush near his home, then told police that he had been out looking for bullfrogs and catfish in a pond.
He then screamed "Ooooh, yeah!" before Hulking Up
Confronted by police at his home, White who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 375 pounds reportedly told eight officers and two K-9 dogs, "I will and can kick all of your [butts]! Let's fight!"
In related news, Bill Clinton announced that he is training to become a professional fondler
After pummeling Paula Jones on "Celebrity Boxing," former figure skater Tonya Harding announced she is training to become a professional pugilist.
Synergy or harmonic convergence?
Harding plans to make her debut fight on the undercard of Mike Tyson's comeback bout.
Let's not and say we did
While preparing for his title bout with Lennox Lewis, Tyson told reporters: "I wish you guys had children so I could kick them in the [expletive] head or stomp on their testicles so you could feel my pain."
She canceled the interview request
Tyson also told a female reporter that he normally doesn't "do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them."
Ladies and gentlemen, your new PETA spokesman!
Tyson reportedly spent $8,100 on tiger care for the months of May and June.
We're tired of it, too
Said Tyson, in announcing his comeback bout: "I'm tired of being stupid."
Unless you want to get harassed and assaulted some more
After a St. John's swimmer accused Red Storm basketball player Grady Reynolds of harassing and assaulting her, the university warned the coed and her friends to avoid any contact with him.
Which clearly makes her a menace
According to a police report, Reynolds grabbed the coed and twice pushed her head into a bathroom wall, then threw her to the ground.
They also threw a shattered conch
Soccer fans in Barcelona threw a pig's head at former player Luis Figo, forcing a 13-minute match delay.
We're No. 1! We're No. owww!
Fans celebrating Brazil's World Cup soccer victory cut short a victory parade by throwing rocks at a bus carrying members of the national team.
On the plus side, they won't have to worry about rocks and pig's heads
Two European soccer teams Holland's Utrecht and Georgia's Dinamo Tbilisi each planned to play a home game in an empty stadium because their fans had been banned for violent behavior.
A good walk really spoiled
Following an argument over scavenged balls, a Massachusetts man used his walking stick and a wooden cane to beat another man to death on a golf course.
But, he was allowed to keep the foam head
Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin was fired without a severance package.
Adds a rich, buttery flavor to any pileup
Football players from Sacramento State greased their jerseys with nonstick cooking spray during a loss at Montana.
Like homicidal father, like son
A human rights group demanded that the IOC expel Iraq's national Olympic committee because its chief Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday tortured and jailed athletes who failed to please him.
Other than that, he's a great guy
According to the group, the Iraqi leader's son once made a group of track athletes crawl on newly poured asphalt while they were beaten, then had some thrown off a bridge. He also ran a special prison for athletes who offended him.
Obviously, British lawmakers have never sat through an NBC Olympic profile
Said a British lawmaker: "The Iraqi committee is the only Olympic committee in the world with its own prison and torture chamber."
Now starting for Team Iraq
Cincinnati Bearcats center Donald Little was accused of hitting his roommate over the head with a whiskey bottle, tying him to a plastic lawn chair, burning him with incense and beating him.
and coming off the bench
Antonio Wilkerson, a basketball player at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., was charged with sodomizing a teammate with a pen.
Relax it's not like he sodomized anyone
After catching a game-winning touchdown pass, San Francisco receiver Terrell Owens pulled a pen from his sock, signed the football and presented it to his financial adviser in the front row of the stands.
His financial adviser is Jimmy the Greek
Explained Owens: "[African-Americans are] more expressive than the white guys. You look at the skilled players. We're the ones that get into the end zone. We get in the end zone more than they do."
Charge of the lit brigade
An intoxicated 35-year-old man and his 15-year-old son both shirtless attacked Kansas City Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa during a game.
This one's for Tom Gamboa!
Miami of Ohio assistant coach Jon Wauford was charged with battery after knocking a celebrating fan to the turf following a last second loss at Marshall.
Anger mismanagement
Following the same game, Miami of Ohio linebackers coach Taver Johnson destroyed a desk and threw a chair through a wall in the visiting coaches' box.
Anything for an autograph
A fan who ran onto the field near the end of a CFL game between the B.C. Lions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was punched and kicked by about a dozen players.
Feeling Minnesota
Kirby Puckett was charged with forcing a woman into a restaurant bathroom, then fondling her.
And was immediately whistled for high-sticking
Seven-foot-7 former NBA shot-blocker Manute Bol suited up for a game with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League.
Geography major?
When asked about visiting Graceland, Memphis first round draft pick Drew Gooden replied: "I didn't even know Elvis was from Memphis. I thought he was from Tennessee."
Real men have curves
New Jersey Nets guard Chris Childs was suspended for being overweight and out of shape.
Just like the entire NBA
To increase its home-field advantage, English soccer club York City piped in canned cheering during its matches.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers, an English soccer club, handed out free condoms to fans before all matches.
Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Steve Blass accidentally beaned two fans while trying to drop a foul ball he had caught in the booth to a child in the second deck.
Honestly, what are the chances?
The ball hit a man in the head, then bounced to a lower deck where it hit a child in the noggin.
Pretty good, actually
Blass' major league pitching career was cut short by control problems.
The trophy in the background should have tipped them off
Penthouse magazine published photos of a naked woman it mistakenly identified as Anna Kournikova.
Penthouse picked the wrong Russian
Russian tennis player Anastasia Myskina posed nude on top of a horse in GQ magazine.
He then was dealt to Red Lobster for an Admiral's Feast
Norwegian soccer club Vindbjart sold striker Kenneth Kristensen to division rival Floey for Kristensen's weight in fresh prawns.
Better hitting through chemistry
Former NL MVP Ken Caminiti said he used steroids for much of his baseball career.
The other 50 percent have moved on to growth hormone
Curt Schilling said that "50 percent" of major league players use steroids.
Hey, do the math
Said Rickey Henderson on the 50 percent estimation: "Well, I'm not, so that's 49 percent right there."
And now, from the Department of Obvious Foreshadowing
The Cincinnati Bengals were called for a penalty before the season's first snap.
Sounds like an open-and-shut case
After the Bengals opened the season 0-7, local officials considered suing the team for violating the terms of its lease on Paul Brown Stadium, which requires a "competitive and viable major league football team."
They also plan to sue the Bengals
People on the Croatian island of Pasman filed a class-action lawsuit against the country's soccer team following its first-round elimination from the World Cup.
So what if he has 50million other reasons already in the bank?
Asked to elaborate on his statement that he would prefer to win the $1million American Express Championship than the Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods replied: "I can think of a million reasons why."
More proof we've become a soccer nation
Baseball's All-Star Game ended in a tie.
You can take away my playbook, but you'll never take my dignity
After team officials asked him for his playbook, Green Bay Packers running back Jason Brookins packed his bags and left training camp.
The Packers simply wanted to insert some new plays into Brookins' binder.
Just a guess, but that probably isn't hygienic
According to a Japanese newspaper, a woman checked into the hotel rooms where British soccer star David Beckham stayed during the World Cup and then licked the toilet seats.
Since when did toilet-licking become pass?
Another Japanese woman broke off her engagement and became a prostitute in order to fund a trip to England, where she hoped to meet Beckham.
Tackling the major issues of our time
Ralph Nader asked the NBA to review the officiating in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.
And you thought 37-7 was nauseating
Pepper spray used by police to break up a fan fight during a Washington-Philadelphia game at FedEx Field drifted onto the field, sickening players and coaches.
It's not like she went to college or anything
Asked about Title IX, Jennifer Capriati replied: "I have no idea what Title IX is. Sorry."
Which virtually assures them of a No. 1 ranking in the prison football BCS
According to a newspaper report, nearly one-fourth of the players on last year's Northern Arizona University football team had been arrested and convicted of recent crimes.
Yeah, it's probably the shoulder pads or something
Said Michael Johnson, a former NAU student body president: "The football players are just like the rest of the students, no better, no worse. They just stand out more when the police come around."
Un-Safeco Field
When a low flying Cessna dropped a container filled with the cremated remains of a Mariners fan onto the roof of Safeco Field, witnesses feared a terrorist attack and dialed 911.
Has anyone told Steve Spurrier about this?
Before the World Cup, China's men's soccer team released an open letter to fans that read: "Our deficits in strength and skill seem to dictate that we won't get too far."
Mr. Lopez speaks out
During a guest play-by-play stint during a Toronto-Boston game, actor Ben Affleck criticized Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni for saying that the team had "made a mockery" of his career by sending him repeatedly to the minors.
And he's never even seen "Bounce"
Countered Merloni: "A mockery is his last four films."
There's only so much Susan Lucci a man can stand
A Bangkok man shot and killed his wife after she snatched the remote control and switched to a soap opera during a World Cup match.
Operation of the Year
After hitting .173 last season, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Derek Bell threatened to go into "Operation Shutdown" if the team made him compete for a starting job during spring training.
Team of the Year
Team USA finished sixth in the world basketball championships.
Fan of the Year
A 39-year-old South Korean man poured paint thinner over his body and set himself on fire in order to become a phantom 12th player for his country's World Cup soccer team.
Injury of the Year
While working out with the New York Jets, "SportsCenter" anchor Stuart Scott was hurt when a ball released from a passing machine went through his hands and struck him in the eye.
Guarantee of the Year
After Orlando's Tracy McGrady promised a playoff victory over Charlotte, the Magic lost.
Sportsman of the Year
A high school soccer player in South Africa reportedly shot and wounded an 18-year-old referee who gave him a red card.
Front Office of the Year
Pop star Michael Jackson was named an honorary director of Exeter City soccer club, a third-division English team whose co-chairman is psychic Uri Geller.
Lawsuit of the Year
A 16-year-old boy and his father sued the New Brunswick (Canada) Amateur Hockey Association after the boy failed to win the MVP award.
Home Remedy of the Year
In order to play in the Dutch Open, golfer John Daly used super glue to bond a wound on his hand.
Quote of the Year
Said Daly: "I don't care that it's unwise medically. I'm not going to watch it bleed."
And finally
Bengals running back Corey Dillon was briefly sidelined by "uniform constriction," a euphemism for tight pants.

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