ESPN, you should be ashamed of yourselves. FOX Sports, you, too. Yahoo!. Deadspin. PETA. United States of America. Planet Earth ... You should all be ashamed of yourselves. For what? For picking on these God-fearing, handsome, charitable, honorable men. These are role models, and yet, to steal a huge ESPN cliche, you "throw them under the bus?" ( I still don't know what the hell that means ... Was there a time when people did that to teammates? If they had a bad game, you threw them under a bus?)
Chris Benoit. Adam "Pac-Man" Jones. Michael Vick. NBA referee Tim Donaghy. Barry Lamar Bonds. Jason Giambi. Chris Henry. Tank Johnson.
You may be asking yourself, Richie K., you can't seriously be thinking these guys don't deserve the fines, the jail-time, the public ridicule? Right? Damn right I am.
I'll break it down case by case for you.
CHRIS BENOIT - OK, the guy was a 'roid-machine. But he was a loving father, a wonderful husband and a phenomenal wrester. (Those multiple German suplexes were as exciting a move as the sport has seen ...) But he had a bad day. You've never had a bad day? Everyone has had bad days! Chris Benoit had one bad day, and you people crucify him for it. He was on the cover of People magazine, for Vince McMahon's sake! OK, he killed his wife, his kid and himself. OK, his body was so full of illegal substances there's a good chance a bunch of crackheads dug up his body and tried to smoke him. Whatever, man. I've had bad days, you've had bad days, Jesus has had bad days ... They happen. Who are we to pass judgement on the severity of those bad days? Just chalk them up to experience and move on ...
ADAM "PAC-MAN" JONES - He loves strippers. Who doesn't? I do. Any American male should. Most men around the world, with the exception of those crazy Muslim assholes who make women wear sheets and crap from head to toe, love strippers. He throws around lots of money, and makes other men jealous. He's named after a legendary video game icon! How can you hate this guy?
OK, maybe he shot someone. Maybe he was responsible for a few riots ... Those happen all the time. How do you know it wasn't chance? And growing up in West Virginia, what the hell else is there to do but start some trouble every now and again? Don't hate the Pac-Man, hate the game. All he needs to do is find his Mrs. Pac-Man and settle down anyway ... He cut his hair. He took out a full page ad swearing to the people of Tennessee he'd change his ways. What more do you want from the guy? He literally gives money to young women in exchange for nothing more than a quick glimpse at their vagina and/or breasts. Most of them are young, single mothers. That's as charitable an act as Bono has ever done ...
NBA REFEREE TIM DONAGHY - He bet on games. Is that so terrible? Yes, he has a job where he has a great way to alter those games, but let me just point out one thing to you: Tim Donaghy is white. White men in the game of basketball are never to be questioned, simply respected, feared and occasionally asked to participate in 3-point contests. The NBA pays their referees a small price, considering you ask them to call fouls on huge men in the midst of battle. Shaq would kill this guy. Artest would snap his neck. Sprewell would choke him. Rasheed would ... do something weird. What's wrong with trying to earn a little something on the side? All the NFL's umpires and refs have day jobs. Tim Donaghy needs to feed his children Alpo so he can drive that fancy car to the stadium? I SAY NO, SIR!
BARRY BONDS - This is the easiest case there is. He denies taking steroids. Fine. But even if he did ... THEY WEREN'T ILLEGAL IN THE GAME OF BASEBALL AT THE TIME! Barry Bonds was playing by the rules. He did nothing illegal. He found an edge, and he stuck that edge into his ass. His head swelled, his balls shrank and he doubled in size from his Pirate days. His amazing moustache fell out, as did his semi-'fro. He's paid the price for his greatness. Now that steroids are finally illegal in pro baseball, he no longer takes them. So, Bud Selig, get your ass to that stadium as he claims one of the most prestigious records in pro sports. Hank Aaron, buy yourself a walker and watch as Barry Bonds breaks your record. Support your fellow African-American man as you claimed no one did as you broke the record. Your death threats weren't anything compared to the thought of this great record falling and big, fake needles pelting him as he rounds the bases ... He did nothing wrong. Lay off Barry Lamar!
MICHAEL VICK - This one is a little complicated, because I am a cat-lover, too. Dogs are just dirty, annoying things God put on this planet to fetch slippers, eat grass and entertain us with their fighting. Vick is an athlete with moves that break ankles, an arm that defies logic and a brain the third the size of most adults. His family took advantage of him! We all know his little brother is an idiot. Chances are, he has no clue who his real father is. More than likely, he's got cousins he doesn't even know about; and when you become a pro athlete, those hands stretch a little longer into your pockets, but that is the price you pay for your talent! Those things happen when you have shoes with your name on them!