Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And now, for a little sense, I look to you...Scoop Jackson!?

After taking what amounted to two consecutive rage dumps on the swirling hurricanes of assclownage that are Mike Lupica and Mitch Albom, I need a chaser. Something to calm me down. Something I find a little silly, but don't utterly disagree with. Who better to do that than...Scoop Jackson? Really? Well, I'll try anything once.

Kelvin Sampson, stay strong. So what, they have phone records. So what, they say you gave "false and misleading information" to investigators. Five major violations committed … more infractions pending … it means nothing. Because none of it is true. To you.

Ah, so the point of this column is to criticize Kelvin Sampson's actions by satirically taking his side? Not a bad idea, although it seems a little complicated for a man who doesn't understand what plagiarism is, but what the hell.

"The allegations that I knowingly acted contrary to the sanctions that occurred are not true," you said. "I have never intentionally provided false or misleading information to the NCAA. I intend to work within the NCAA process on this matter, and I look forward to my opportunity to do so." You, Kelvin, are my newest hero. I too have "KS" on my adidas.

Not bad, I guess. At least you're directly addressing Kelvin in a consistent manner. Although if you keep that up for an entire article, it might get a little irritating. Don't you think so, Scoop? Hmm? You?

There's an old saying: Self-incrimination is for suckas.

Uh...no there isn't. Googling that phrase brings up three hits, all of which link back to that article. Substituting the more formal "suckers" in there only produces a link to an article by a dude called Andrew Snyder for, of all things, the Taipan Financial News. As much as I know Scoop is a daily reader of the premium web content put out by "the world's top financial network" (which somehow doesn't have a Wikipedia page), I don't know if that's quite enough to call it an "old saying." That article was only written on February 15 of last year, you know.

The best Wikiquote can dredge up is this pithy adage from playwright Lillian Hellman in a letter she wrote in 1952 to the House Committee on Un-American Activities:

I am prepared to waive the privilege against self-incrimination and to tell you everything you wish to know about my views or actions if your committee will agree to refrain from asking me to name other people. If the committee is unwilling to give me this assurance, I will be forced to plead the privilege of the fifth amendment at the hearing.

Oh, and deleting the "suckas" entirely only gives seven hits for "self-incrimination is for", two of which are just Scoop's article and the rest are mostly just legal advice. Scoop, you were doing so well...why do you have to just flagrantly make shit up?

Only those who are weak in mind -- ridden with guilt, thanks to a strong moral compass -- confess to a sin (or something the general public considers a sin) they've "apparently" committed.

So wait, is it really a sin, or just a public sin? That's kind of a big difference. Does it matter then whether Kelvin Sampson is lying or just honestly believes he hasn't done anything wrong? Are you talking about morality or public relations? I mean, I don't think you're particularly qualified to discuss either, but I like to know what I'm criticizing you for.

As the evidence stacks up, when the feds show up, "suckas" begin to break. Cracks appear in their psyches. News conferences become confessionals, cameras and tape recorders the priests.

Except of course news conferences are nothing like confessionals because they're inherently not a private conversation between two individuals (and God, if you're counting him). Also, cracks in the psyche? Does that make sense? Shouldn't it be cracks in the armor, maybe, or cracks in the facade? You know, the fake stuff that you're putting up to protect you from people discovering your real nature? I'm honestly just confused.

And while we're talking about hack writing (and when aren't we?), one of my pet peeves is when a writer comes up with some dumb concept - in this case, the almost impossibly lazy "suckas" - and starts using it throughout the article like it's some universal term that's always appropriate to use in these situations. I'm pretty sure the English language is big enough for you to find one word that actually describes what you're thinking about without require quotation marks. What about...I don't know...suckers?

Victim: "I made a mistake. I'm sorry for what I did. I want to apologize to my family, my friends, my fans and the organization. I let a lot of people down. And to all of the kids out there, this is not the message that I want to send out. I'm not the hero you made me out to be. I'm only human …"

Blah … blah … blah. Sucka.

How is that person the victim? Isn't that person the perpetrator? I mean, satire's satire, Scoop, so I'm cutting you some slack, but I don't think "victim" makes sense there from almost any perspective. At least put "sucka" there so that you stay mildly consistent.

The other day, according to the New York Daily News, a photograph surfaced of Roger Clemens at the infamous party at Jose Canseco's house that Clemens and many others insisted he did not attend. For many people, this would be the perjury breaker, the smoking gun that puts a hole in your credibility the size of a Siberian diamond mine. That's if this were any other athlete. But this is Roger Clemens, the American hero who's turned denial into an art form.

I really thought Scoop was just making shit up with the "Siberian diamond mine" reference, but it turns out he's absolutely right. So it's not wrong, just a tremendously mixed metaphor that's needlessly faux-poetic. Eh, I guess that's not too big a deal.

Also, has Clemens really turned lying into an art form? I think everyone tends to feel his excuses have been pretty lame and really have only worked to delay the inevitable. Face it...Roger Clemens is hardly the Roger Clemens of lying. I'd say he's more the Odalis Perez of lying, especially when he stopped buying tickets for inner city kids to attend congressional hearings when it turned out the House wasn't planning on calling him again.

In this era of professional sports figures publicly pleading guilty to crimes they haven't been caught committing, it's so refreshing to see guys like Sampson and Clemens admit to nothing. Sure, Andy Pettitte came off like some sort of saint, and people are looking at his moral fiber as something we all need to incorporate into our daily diet. But, truth be told, Clemens should be given an Oscar for his acrimonious and hostile defense of self.

Not bad joke with the "moral fiber" thing. Not good, of course, but hey...not bad. And I'm sorry, if we're planning on giving an Oscar to people for "acrimonious and hostile defense of self", I'm pretty sure the list has to begin and end with Marion Barry:

Now THAT'S how a real man lies.

Lately, and particularly in sports, the art of self-exoneration has become as trendy as facial hair and Derek Lam sunglasses.

Oh Scoop. You and your fashion sense. I think it's worth point out googling the words "derek lam sunglasses baseball" brings up Scoop's article as the number one result. So yeah...I think he's really onto something there.

Barry Bonds, Bill Belichick, Miguel Tejada, Lance Armstrong, Michael Vick (until he had no choice), Pete Rose (who held on for a historic amount of time), Marion Jones (again, held out until the end), Floyd Landis, Rafael Palmeiro -- even beyond sports, look at how John McCain stood his ground defiantly last week when The New York Times reported a possible improper relationship between him and a female lobbyist.

This just in: Scoop Jackson, Mike Huckabee supporter.

Clemens says Pettitte "misremembers," Belichick says he "misinterpreted," Sampson "never intentionally misled" -- these guys have laid the groundwork for all to follow when the Clay Davis is about to hit the fan or when the men in the windbreakers show up at your front door.

Sweet Wire reference there, Scoop. Not that I've ever gotten around to watching it myself - if I want so see a premium channel show about impossibly corrupt cops, I'll watch Dexter. You know, because I love serial killers (I'm also impossibly white and creepily hunky, much like Michael C. Hall). But thanks to the fine folks at Kissing Suzy Kolber, I do at least sort of get the allusion, so I'll reciprocate with the appropriate video.

Admit to nothing, even if there's a videotape, or friends have turned state's evidence. The manhood rule supersedes all: Self-indictment is for losers. And the No. 1 rule in sports is: Don't be a loser.

I suspect the real number one rule in sports is slightly more homophobic, but what the hell, I'll go with it.

Losers tell the truth. Well, let me rephrase that: Losers admit to the truth when denial is still an option. The duty is to go out like a man. Head up, chest out, deny 'til you die. "It's in man's nature to deny," my great uncle used to tell me as a kid. "Because when you go to the grave, you take those denials and whatever you did wrong with you."

Wait a second...that appeal to authority with your great uncle sounds like it's tacitly supporting what Clemens and Bonds are up to. Have you been serious this entire time, Scoop? Nah, there's no way. Is there?

Incidentally, Scoop, when I can't tell what your actual stance is two-thirds into your article...you may need to work on your writing a little. Maybe a wee bit.

We as a nation should take pride in how Bonds has stuck with his "flaxseed oil" testimony. We should applaud Landis for his Jack Daniels regimen. Forget being like Mike. Be like Clemens: When in doubt, assign blame elsewhere.

Or, we could actually be, you know, like Mike, who has somehow managed to never publicly get into lasting trouble for what apparently is a pretty heavy-duty gambling problem, despite the fact that many conspiracy nuts think he was secretly suspended for two seasons. There's also the fact that he has probably ordered Charles Oakley to kill people.

Actually, Scoop, why the hell aren't you writing this about how people like Jordan are truly invulnerable to any accusations of anything? Why are you praising the lying skills of a fired coach and a dude who will likely be indicted for perjury?

Blame your wife, throw her under the bus.

I'm pretty sure that'd just destroy the bus.

Go to lengths unseen outside of an episode of "The Maury Show."

And since I haven't seen an episode of The Maury Show, looks like I'm shit out of luck to even comprehend how far Clemens has gone. Shame...I was really looking forward to understanding that.

Damn immunity. Show no fear. Get your "KS" on. That's what the great ones do. They stay true … to self only.

You realize it was the Indiana players who got their "KS" on, right? You can't just turn that into some bizarre turn-of-phrase. Well, you can, and you did, but that doesn't make it right.

It's true, players like Canseco opened up the door for the dirty truth in sports to come out the way it has the past few years. And yes, everyone who told the truth regarding the Mitchell report should be commended for possibly being the catalysts for cleaning up all of sports.

But Canseco's a sucka.

Canseco wrote a bestselling book, got hailed as a whistleblower (admittedly, he mostly got hailed by idiots), and put himself back in the news years after his publicity expiration date. He may be a "sucka", but I'm not so sure he's a sucker. An idiot, yes. But a sucker?

It's real men like Clemens and Sampson who know that in sports, staying sucka-free is vital, and when choosing between telling the truth and dying in denial … choose death.

If by death, you mean being the assistant coach at a low level D-1 program until you can work yourself back up...then yes, Kelvin will be choosing death. And as for Roger...well, I don't think he'll be doing anything drastic anytime soon.

But thanks Scoop - you may be a little weird, but you're no Albom and you're certainly no Lupica. Thank you, Scoop, thank you, for restoring my faith that sports journalism can merely be bad instead of offensively terrible. I don't know how I'll ever repay you.

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