Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jerks of the Week: Clemens, Clinton, and Shaq

While I like to be a positive person, sometimes folks are so hypocritical or loathsome that ya just gotta say something. Normally, I'd put this on Ramit's hate blog, but since he's busy right now, you'll just have to bear with me.

Roger Clemens:

I think the great Tom Tolbert put it best--Clemens is asking us to believe that he alone out of the players named in the Mitchell Report was listed incorrectly. That his personal trainer injected his best friend and his wife with HGH, but injected him with B-12 shots (what, did his doctor think he was showing signs of anemia and dementia?). That his personal trainer would lie under oath to incriminate him, when the other athletes he admitted to dosing with drugs (teammates Andy Pettite and Chuck Knoblauch) had already confirmed his story. That his best friend Andy Pettite would lie to Congress incriminate him.

Give me a break.

If Clemens had just come clean and apologized, he could have gone on with his life. Do you see anyone calling for Andy Pettite's head?

Instead, he decided that the great Roger Clemens could use PR and doubletalk to clear his "good name" and in the process probably perjured himself while testifying before Congress.

While you may avoid the big house, Roger, I hope you enjoy waiting for your Hall of Fame bid. Maybe you can get together with your pals Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro and become celebrity endorsers.

A special wag of the finger to the Republican committee members who tried to defend Clemens. I always thought that a level playing field and equality of opportunity were a core value of the Republican Party (a core value I happen to agree with). Since when did cheaters deserve our sympathy?

Hillary Clinton:

It's no secret that I think Barack Obama is a better choice for the Democrats, but desperation seems to be bring out the worst in the Senator from New York.

After getting smoked in the Potomac Primaries, Senator Clinton showed her class by failing to congratulate her opponent. (Though she finally did so a day later)

With it nearly a mathematical possibility to overtake her opponent, it now appears that her nomination hopes rest on getting the DNC to reverse its decision on seating delegates from Michigan and Florida, and then working the superdelegates to cobble together a majority that goes against the popular vote.

If you are a Hillary Clinton supporter (and I do know some people who are), how does it sit with you that your candidate plans to win an election based on changing the rules after the fact and relying on party activists to go against the wishes of the electorate?

Let's not forget the logical contortions involved in arguing that caucuses are undemocratic, but that unelected superdelegates are perfectly legitimate.

If Hillary Clinton came roaring back in the polls and overtook Obama in the pledged delegates, but the superdelegates chose Obama because they thought he had a better chance to defeat John McCain, would her supporters still agree with Clinton's statement that, "superdelegates are by design supposed to exercise independent judgment."?

It's not about winning and losing, it's about right and wrong and knowing the difference between the two.

Shaquille O'Neal:

I love Shaq. I even own two Shaq jerseys. But it's time to show some class or we'll have to refer to you as the Big Jackass.

The pattern is simple. Shaq comes to town. He wows people with his generous, fun-loving personality. He achieves success. But eventually, he decides that there are greener pastures elsewhere, and he blows out of town, burning all his bridges on the way out. He might as well be Homer Simpson leaving Springfield and saying, "So long, Stinktown!"

The Magic fans supported him for years, and he called them a Mickey Mouse organization.

Lakers fans took his side in his battles with Kobe, and he called us "fakes".

Miami fans cheered him on as he won a championship, then watched in dismay as he malingered his way out of town, claiming to be too injured to play, only to turn around and promise to win a championship with the Suns. This didn't come as a surprise to Laker fans, who recall when Shaq waited until right before the 2002-2003 season began to get foot surgery, so that he wouldn't have to interrupt his usual summer vacation of hanging out at Krispy Kreme.

As a final insult, he recently praised Steve Nash by saying, "As I was telling Steve, I haven't got an easy bucket in six years."

I wonder how Dwyane Wade and the referees who gave the Miami Heat (and a clearly declining O'Neal) the 2006 championship feel about that statement? Or how about Kobe Bryant and the 2002 championship he helped deliver for Shaq?

Bluster and bravado are fine when you deliver, but not so cool when you get tooled by the likes of Joel Pryzbilla.

Maybe if you had worked at your craft and stayed in shape, you wouldn't have squandered so many of what used to be your unprecedented physical gifts and talents. But if that were the case, we wouldn't have such gems as Kazaam and Steel.

There's a reason that Heat fans are overjoyed to be rid of the artist formerly known as The Diesel, and that Laker fans are falling over themselves to praise Mitch Kupchak for turning Shaq into Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Farmar.

You're not what you were. So get over yourself, get into shape, and shut your trap and be grateful if Steve Nash can help get you another championship ring. And I'd better not hear any whining when Phoenix loses because you couldn't match up against Duncan, Bynum, Gasol, or God forbid, Eric Dampier.


So what have we learned today (besides the fact that I still sometimes write blog posts even when I should be sleeping)?

Learn to accept reality. If you took steroids, 'fess up. If you're losing an election, show some class. And if you're washed up because you squandered your talents, try to show a bit of remorse.

Sure, you can keep trying to bluster and brazen it out, but sooner or later, reality is going to bitchslap you with a perjury charge, a series of 30-point losses, or a four-game sweep at the hands of your arch-enemy.

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