- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Stop the fight. Throw in the towel. In terms of sheer sports dubiousness, 2003 pummeled every year that came before it, as surely as Pedro Martinez deposited furious-but-feeble Don Zimmer onto the Fenway Park turf.

Kobe Bryant took a vacation. Rush Limbaugh broke down game tape. Mike Price and Larry Eustachy proved you’re never too old to have a little fun.

And the Juice continued his long ‘n’ lonely one-man journey, destination Truthville.

It was ridiculous. It was ignominious. It was — with eternal apologies to Esquire magazine — nothing short of dubious:

Making sure Carson Palmer isn’t the real killer

O.J. Simpson showed up at a USC practice a few days before the Orange Bowl.

“Not guilty — O.J. Simpson”

Trojans players and coaches asked Simpson for autographs.

Giving 310 percent effort

Jim McMahon was charged with DUI in Navarre, Fla., after registering more than three times the state’s legal limit on a breathalyzer test.

Thanks for clearing things up

“I’m too drunk, you got me,” McMahon told police who stopped him.

Unlike those irresponsible Florida servers

McMahon appeared on posters for the Illinois liquor commission that read, “Don’t be a punk and get drunk, our servers serve responsibly.”

He’s no Jim McMahon!

New York Yankees pitcher David Wells claimed in a book he was “half-drunk” when he pitched a perfect game.

On the plus side, the bar tab went to charity

Minnesota Vikings executive Mike Kelly was stopped for drunk driving on his way home from an annual fundraiser for the team’s Children’s Fund.

Chuggin’ is racin’

Miller promised a free six-pack to every Daytona 500 fan of legal drinking age if Rusty Wallace, who drives a Miller Lite car, won the race.

And with that, Wells, McMahon and Kelly joined the Rusty Wallace fan club

“The fans will be behind me,” Wallace said. “Who wouldn’t want to receive free Miller Lite?”

Breakfast of champions

Members of the SUNY Potsdam rugby team were charged with feeding rookie teammates enema kits as part of a hazing ritual.

Brothers don’t let brothers go hungry

“No one is ever hurt on our team, everyone loves each other like brothers and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea,” said Potsdam rugby player Aaron Rumsey.

Genitalia? That’s the only thing I haven’t changed!

Michael Jackson demanded a public apology from Italian soccer team Lazio after the club’s fans waved banners referring to his sex changes.

Overexposed, again

Canadian Olympic figure skating champion Jamie Sale posed topless for men’s magazine FHM.

Half-naked, on the other hand …

Said Sale: “I would never do Playboy or anything. … I don’t want to come across as I’ll get naked for anybody.”

Playboy would have used something crude, like beach sand

In one photo, Sale is lying on her back, her bare breasts covered with artificial snow.

He won’t take pictures of naked women for just anybody

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a guest photographer for a Playboy.com photo shoot.

Trice blessed

Earnhardt photographed triplets.

On to something? Or just on something?

Portland Trail Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace said the NBA exploits black players and looks to draft high schoolers because they are “dumb and dumber.”

Dumb …

Wallace was suspended seven games for confronting a referee in a parking lot after a game.

… Dumber …

Wallace agreed to undergo drug counseling in exchange for marijuana charges against him being dropped.

… and under the thumb of the Man

Wallace, who is black, will make nearly $17 million this season.

The ball isn’t the only thing that’s juiced

Between 5 and 7 percent of Major League Baseball players tested positive for steroids, triggering mandatory testing and penalties for use next season.

Team chemistry

Four Oakland Raiders and five international track and field athletes tested positive for THG, a previously undetectable designer steroid.

‘Roid rage?

After testifying before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area laboratory suspected to be behind THG, Raiders running back Tyrone Wheatley struck a photographer who was taking his picture.

Only this time around, they’ll be playing baseball

South Korean organizers reportedly are putting together a rematch of the 1988 Olympic 100-meter dash final that featured Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson, who was later disqualified for using steroids.

Whatever for?

England’s Linford Christie, also invited to race, reportedly called for all participants to be drug tested.

At least he cheats the old-fashioned way

Chicago cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was busted for corking his bat.

And subtract 30 points from your IQ

Jose Canseco claimed that a combination of steroids and human growth hormone can add “30 years to your life.”

You know what else is funny? Chemotherapy

During an argument at practice, New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin mocked teammate Alonzo Mourning’s degenerative kidney condition, which forced him to retire days later.

School officials were particularly impressed by the two Super Bowls and the lunar landing

George O’Leary, who resigned at Notre Dame for lying on his resume, was hired to coach Central Florida’s football team.

Central Florida immediately added him to its football staff

A teen amateur golfer from South Africa was accused of signing for a four-over 75 when he was actually 27-over before walking off the course after 15 holes.

No, but will you settle for whiteout?

Officials uncovered the scoring scandal after the course pro shop reported the teen asked for an eraser after his round.

You’re No. 1

Trail Blazers guard Bonzi Wells was fined for flipping off his own fans.

All the blood just rushes to his hand

Wells told reporters he didn’t remember the incident because “I black out and have black flashes sometimes.”

Do the math: 1 out of 10 fingers = 10 percent

Wells then clarified: “I’m not going to be 100 percent perfect. I told you I’m going to have a 10 percent lapse.”

Anything you can do, I can do better

Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest used both hands to flip off fans during a road game in Cleveland.

Attention, Red Sox fans: This is how many game-winning home runs I intend to give up

Boston pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim flipped off the crowd at Fenway Park during the club’s player introductions.

They have a Hall of Fame up there?

Based on a half-season with the Expos, Pete Rose was nominated for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of course not

Said Canadian Hall president Tom Valcke: “This is not a PR stunt.”

Chin up, Charlie Hustle — there’s always Mexico

Rose did not make it in.

Underreported Story of the Year

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old concierge at a resort in Eagle County, Colo.

Justice is blind. And apparently dumb

Disobeying a judge’s order, the Eagle County sheriff’s office ordered 76 T-shirts with a hangman on the front and Bryant’s No. 8 on the back.

“For everything else, there’s bush-league, small-town law enforcement”

Parodying a popular MasterCard ad, the shirts also listed the costs of Bryant’s flight, hotel and knee surgery, followed by the line: “Not bringing your wife to Colorado with you — priceless.”

It was that, or hold a female Toughman contest and give the money to rape victims

After canceling the order, Sheriff Joe Hoy said he planned to give proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts to a battered women’s shelter.

The Big Subtle

When Bryant failed to report for the Lakers’ first day of training camp, center Shaquille O’Neal told reporters the “full team is already here.”

You’d be fat too, if you endorsed Burger King

Bryant called O’Neal “childlike” and “selfish,” adding that his teammate shouldn’t come to camp “fat and out of shape.”

In Mandarin, that means “I hate Kobe”

When asked about Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, O’Neal replied, “Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’”

Not short for “National Association for the Advancement of Chinese People”

O’Neal had recently received an NAACP Young Leaders Award.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a limb

Jacksonville Jaguars punter Chris Hanson suffered a serious injury when he struck his right shin with an ax that had been placed in the team’s locker room as part of a motivational stunt by coach Jack Del Rio.

Or your own leg, whatever’s easier

Del Rio also placed a tree stump in the locker room, imploring his team to “keep chopping wood.”

But he kept the cocaine for himself

Lawrence Taylor revealed he used to send call girls to opponents’ hotel rooms on nights before games.

Just like ordering General Tso’s chicken

“You know what they like, and what type of women they like, and you just call the service,” Taylor said in a television interview.

John Tesh wanted too much money

ABC Sports hired Justin Timberlake to write a theme song for its NBA games.

You mean trapdoors?

John Rocker, on his infamous Sports Illustrated interview: “In a lot of ways, that opened up a lot of doors for me.”

Police also found a handgun wrapped in hemp paper

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire was arrested on marijuana charges after trying to pass through an airport metal detector with nearly 1 ounces of the drug wrapped in aluminum foil.

Big chill

Buzz Harmon, a close friend of Ted Williams, said the Splendid Splinter’s body is hanging upside down in a nitrogen-filled tank at an Arizona cryogenics lab — per the instructions of Williams’ son, John Henry.

Not to mention a half-eaten pint of Ben and Jerry’s

Harmon also said the tank contained as many as four other bodies and five heads.

You think?

Harmon said the Williams’ last words to him were, “I need a lawyer … because I made a mistake.”

The mistake gets on base

John Henry, an aspiring minor league baseball player, got his first professional hit.

But did she two-foot the quad?

During a figure skating broadcast on ABC, commentator Terry Gannon noted skater Maria Petrova had “a necklace stuck in her hair, and they may take points off for that!”

Well-suited

For Michael Jordan’s 40th birthday, music producer Jimmy Jam gave him a 4-by-5-foot photo of Janet Jackson wearing a bikini with No.23 emblazoned on the bottom.

Family men

In each corner of the frame are photos of Jam and Jordan with their wives.

Isn’t that redundant?

Jordan reportedly drove Washington teammate Kwame Brown to tears by calling him a “flaming faggot.”

The article made Kwame Brown cry

Tracy McGrady told Stuff Magazine that 5 percent of NBA players are gay.

Dude, that nickname is so “5 percent”

Evan Mariott, aka “Joe Millionaire,” studied briefly at a California school for pro wrestlers, where his ring name was Duke Suede.

They mistook him for Keith Van Horn

Mariott was booed when he went to a New York Knicks game.

Don’t show him the money!

The agent for NBA guard Anthony Carter forgot to exercise a contract option with the Miami Heat, costing his client $4.1 million.

Can’t we all just get along?

Following a post-game melee between Golden State and Portland, Warriors forward Chris Mills used his car to block the Trail Blazers’ team bus, then got out with several friends and challenged the Blazers to a fight.

Putting those rollover minutes to good use

New Orleans receiver Joe Horn celebrated a touchdown by pulling out a cell phone and calling his family from the end zone.

All that, and 0-percent APR financing for the first six months

Former New York Giants center Brad Benson, who owns a New Jersey car dealership, promised to give Saddam Hussein a free new car every year for life if he would use it to leave Iraq permanently.

Hey, it was that or Carson Daly

Members of the Namibian women’s soccer team watched six porn movies the night before an Olympic qualifying match.

They looked a little tired

Namibia lost to South Africa, 13-0.

Half-moon rising

Former DC United coach Ray Hudson responded to verbal abuse from a group of Dallas fans by lifting the back of his shorts.

Well, besides the visiting Namibian women’s soccer team

“Let’s just say I showed a side of me that [the fans] probably did not want to see,” said Hudson, who was fined $500.

Actually, what we really want is a sandwich

Rush Limbaugh said that Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb was “overrated” because the media wants to see a black quarterback succeed.

Hark, the voice of reason

Said John Rocker on the Limbaugh controversy: “All I will say is that people need to stop being so sensitive.”

Which is exactly why minorities dominate beach volleyball

Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker told reporters that black and Latin players are better suited to play in heat than white players.

Except for Lawrence Taylor

Said Baker: “I’m not making this up. I’m not seeing some brothers walking around with some white stuff on their ears and noses.”

Sacramento, the modern-day Alexandria

Responding to criticism, Baker added: “My mother was a black-American history teacher in Sacramento. … A lot of people don’t know history, that’s what it sounds like to me.”

Insecure area

A man who previously attacked the first base coach of the Kansas City Royals during a game was spotted working at the U.S. Open golf tournament.

A threat? C’mon — the golfers are the ones with clubs

The man was wearing a credential that put him a few dozen yards away from the first tee.

Tact: Acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending

Jennifer Capriati requested the song “Bombs Over Baghdad” be played as she walked onto the court before a match in Key Biscayne, Fla.

So, what else is new?

Mike Tyson told Fox Sports he has lost his soul as a human being and hates himself.

This hurts me more than it hurts you. Well, besides the choking and kicking part

Tyson’s former wife, actress Robin Givens, told the network Tyson would choke and kick her to the point of vomiting, then cry while she consoled him.

Later, he wept

Tyson was charged with misdemeanor assault after fighting with two men outside a Brooklyn hotel.

20-200 hindsight

In a separate interview, Tyson denied he raped Desiree Washington in 1991, then said the burden of being labeled a convicted rapist made him “wish I really did [rape her].”

No? How about Alyssa Milano?

During his week as Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick, Tyson asked guest Michael Vartan of “Alias” if he has ever had sex with Shannen Doherty.

Sweep the leg. No fear in this dojo. All rights reserved.

A former usher for English soccer club Millwall was sentenced to five years in jail for karate-kicking a police horse following a match.

Rule No. 1: Making us wear pants

In order to protest IAAF rules he found objectionable, German pole vaulter Tim Lobinger celebrated his world title by dropping his shorts during his victory lap.

In other news, Raffy Palmeiro tested positive for horse stimulants

The Macau Jockey Club suspended a trainer after two of his horses tested positive for Viagra.

So, where do I put my hands again?

The Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators took down seven billboards that featured model Kelley Newton in a snapping position, with the caption, “Get behind your team.”

Truth in advertising

Previously, the Predators put up billboard’s featuring a model’s cleavage and the caption, “Fake left, fake right.”

He also gave them a stick of gum, a dry cleaning receipt and 42 cents in change

Asked to show his driver’s license after being pulled over for speeding, the Trail Blazers’ Qyntel Woods handed police two credit cards and his basketball trading card.

What, you were expecting air freshener?

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Woods’ car.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in his car

Mariners rookie manager Bob Melvin needed three attempts to fill out his Opening Day lineup card.

At least Qyntel Woods had an excuse

On his first attempt, Melvin misspelled Ichiro Suzuki’s last name; on the second, he botched his own signature.

And you should see what he used on his horse

A West Australian jockey was banned from thoroughbred racing for 15 years after being found guilty of using an illegal whip and electrical devices.

Say it ain’t so

Fresno State basketball players under coach Jerry Tarkanian reportedly had papers written for them.

What are the odds?

The papers reportedly were paid for by money from a Las Vegas sports agent.

And the Lord said: Thou shalt not payeth a lot for this muffler

Deion Sanders paid just $1,500 of a $4,000-plus car repair bill, telling the owner of the repair shop, “Praise Jesus. … I follow what in my heart I’m told to pay.”

That’s not exactly fair

Seton Hall had six players on the floor for the final 12 seconds of regulation during an overtime win over Georgetown.

Never mind

Each team scored once during that span.

BCS, without the “C”

Thanks to the BCS computer ranking system, USC — which finished No.1 in both polls — will not play in college football’s mythical national title game.

Ambitious Jews excluded

Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic told a magazine he admired Hitler and “Nazism was a healthy system for ambitious people.”

At least he didn’t quote “Caddyshack II”

The sports editor of a New Mexico newspaper was fired for quoting a character from the movie “Caddyshack” in a news story about a golf tournament.

At least his bat wasn’t corked

Pittsburgh first baseman Randall Simon was booked for misdemeanor battery for hitting one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ popular racing sausages with a bat during a game.

Next time, could you save it for Mike Tyson?

Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish ripped out the tongue of Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound, who was mocking MacTavish during a timeout.

Headline Sports fo’ lyfe!

A CNN headline sports producer sent writers a slang dictionary to get terms like “freak” and “fly” into the network’s on-screen graphics.

The new flava of slang. Circa 1992

The producer also told writers to “use this guide to help all you homeys and honeys add a new flava to your tickers.”

Funny, they seemed almost happy to lose

A French tennis dad was accused of spiking the water bottles of his son’s foes with an anti-anxiety drug.

Charity starts at home

The Washington Wizards said they routinely discount or give away thousands of tickets in order to claim MCI Center is sold out.

Per Susan O’Malley’s suggestion

The WNBA sought out 300 volunteer “seat fillers” to occupy seats whose owners might not show up at the WNBA All-Star game at Madison Square Garden.

Why didn’t the WNBA think of this?

A marketing firm hired six tennis fans to paint their chests, wear costumes and cheer for American tennis player Mardy Fish at the U.S. Open.

Pulling no punches

Sports columnist Bob Ryan said on a Boston television station that he’d “like to smack” Jason Kidd’s wife because she uses her son as a “prop.”

Oops

Kidd was arrested for striking his wife two years earlier.

They also retired Magic Johnson’s No.32, John Elway’s No.7 and Secretariat’s riding saddle

The Miami Heat retired Michael Jordan’s No.23.

“Hey Spree — boxers or briefs?”

Security guards escorted fashion designer Calvin Klein back to his seat at a New York Knicks game after he walked up to Latrell Sprewell and talked to him in the middle of play.

He’s a big fan of HBO’s “Oz”

New York Giants linebacker Mike Barrow likened a blowout loss to being raped.

He’s a big fan of CNN

University of Miami tight end Kellen Winslow likened a football game against Tennessee to a “war” and called himself a “soldier.”

LeBron? He’s so five minutes ago

Reebok signed toddler Mark Walker to an endorsement deal, noting “he’s a threat from anywhere on the court, and he’s only 3 and a half years old.”

Yeah, but is a threat from anywhere on the court?

Valvoline signed Tiger Woods’ caddy to an endorsement deal.

Too bad that isn’t his quarterback rating

Jose Paniagua, a September callup, had an ERA of 108.00 in his only appearance with the Chicago White Sox.

Too bad that isn’t his ERA

Washington Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck had a quarterback rating of 0.0 in a loss to Dallas.

What, no “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot?”

Sylvester Stallone expressed a desire to make “Rocky” into a Broadway musical.

And stay down

During a bench-clearing scuffle between the Yankees and Red Sox, Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez tossed 72-year-old New York bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground.

Pedro Martinez: Role Model

Former World Series MVP Livan Hernandez was charged with felony aggravated assault after he attempted to hit a 65-year-old man with his golf clubs.

One way or another, he’ll see his friend again

Alabama running back Ezzi Raulls Jr. was charged with breaking into a motel room and robbing nine people at gunpoint to raise $250 for a friend’s jail bond.

Split decision

A judge ordered the two fans in litigation over Barry Bonds’ record-setting 73rd home run ball to split the $450,000 fetched by the ball at auction.

Restoring our faith in the legal system

One of the fans, Alex Popov, was subsequently sued by his lawyer for $473,500 in legal fees.

Smells fresh, like a sweat-soaked pair of Spandex game pants

A personal-product development company bought the rights to use the NFL logo on a line of grooming products, including cologne and football shaped soap.

Paris Hilton also received a key

Three female gymnasts banned by the Romanian Gymnastics Federation for appearing nude in an adult film were later offered keys to the city by Bucharest mayor Traian Basescu.

Hungry? Grab a Snickers

Arizona basketball players stole up to 80 candy bars from a vending machine in Kansas.

80 bars weren’t enough

Arizona basketball player Isaiah Fox later was arrested for taking $2.58 worth of snacks from the school’s Student Union.

Safety first

Concerned by crowd violence at soccer matches, the vice-mayor of a Romanian village built a moat around the local stadium.

Flaming napalm wasn’t practical

The village planned to fill the moat with crocodiles.

Coming on the heels of his failed gangsta rap project

Golfer John Daly released a country music CD.

Journalist of the Year

ABC sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero asked Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey about a conversation with his “ex-teammate,” Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles.

Typecasting of the Year

Owen Pochman, a kicker cut by the San Francisco 49ers, appeared on a Fox pregame show skit as a busboy who couldn’t throw bar towels straight.

Patriot of the Year

Bobby French, a high school baseball player in Texas, asked the pubic address announcer to introduce him as Bobby Freedom.

Grudge of the Year

Nineteen years after English soccer player George Reilly scored the winning goal for Watford against Plymouth in the FA Cup semifinal, a disgruntled Plymouth fan bit off his ear.

Injury of the Year

Cincinnati pitcher Jose Acevedo landed on the DL after twisting his ankle celebrating a strikeout.

Holiday Gift Idea of the Year

Jose Canseco auctioned away the opportunity to spend an afternoon with him in his house in south Florida, where he was under house arrest.

Medical Procedure of the Year

A woman sued a Lexington, Ky., surgeon and Kentucky sports booster for cauterizing UK onto her uterus before removing it in a hysterectomy.

Endorsement of the Year

Mike Tyson held up a “Free Kobe” sign at a Lakers preseason game.

And finally …

A man wanted on parole violation was arrested and jailed after his parole officer spotted him kissing his girlfriend on the scoreboard at a Cincinnati Reds game.


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