There's a scene at the very beginning of the Tom Cruise hit film Jerry Maguire where superagent Maguire is shown adeptly handling all of the day-to-day duties that come with his territory. Wooing potential new clients, securing sponsorship deals for existing clients, fast talking, smooth talking -- it's like watching a sports agent decathlon...up to and including the part where Maguire has to make the perp walk with one of his clients who just committed a crime.
Maguire turns to the brigade of cameramen outside the police station, smiles like he's about to ask for your vote, and says something along the lines of "...all I know is this man is a spectacular athlete!" As if that somehow made up for the player having his face buried in a
plate of blow, or driving drunk...or raping a 16-year-old runaway.
Which brings us to Lawrence Taylor. It's ironic, the debate over Jerry Maguire has always been "Who was the Maguire character patterned after?" Many thought it was Leigh Steinberg; of course, Drew Rosenhaus claimed it was he who was the template for the Maguire character. Me, I was always more interested in who the players in the movie were modeled after. Rod Tidwell was an amalgam of Michael Irvin and whom? Which overhyped top draft pick was the blueprint for Cushman? As for the nameless arrested football player in that opening scene, well that guy was always LT to me.
To say Taylor has had issues is a little like saying JaMarcus Russell likes to snack. Taylor's entire career and post-career have been marked by speed and ferocity, which is fine on the football field (unless you happen to be either Joe Theismann's tibia or fibula) but not so good off the field. He says it himself in his 2003 autobiography, he has spent most of his adult life surrounded by football players, drug dealers, drug addicts, and whores.
So when a story breaks about Taylor allegedly raping a 16-year-old runaway prostitute in Ramapo, NJ this week, a girl that was brought to him at a hotel room as if she were a pizza and two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, I'm left wondering if I'm not surprised because it's Taylor
at the center of this hideous mess or because this is just the latest middle finger at human decency by an athlete in what is rapidly becoming "2010: The Year of the Complete and Utter Douchebag" in sports.
Honestly, it feels like in the last six months alone, I've said on the air on my show "You know who is the most thankful guy in the world that (Douche #2) committed this crime? (Douche #1), that's who." No fewer than ten times, with Douche #1 being some recent perpetrator
whose idiocy gets miraculously (or maybe not so miraculously) pushed to the back burner by Douche #2's seeming attempt to top it a few days later.
Around Thanksgiving, we had Tiger and that carried us for a while. Then we had Ben Roethlisberger. Ron Washington tried to poke his head in the race back in March by admitting he was abusing cocaine. Sorry, Skip, you're gonna have to do better than that to carry headlines this year. Hell, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie had to take a $500,000 advance on his salary to pay child support to the SIX mothers of his SEVEN children (expensive weekend for him coming up, by the way) and that gets no run at all. Child's play.
The city of Philadelphia is seemingly staging it's own Douchebag of the Year play-in tournament for civilians with the Phillies having already had a fan vomit on an 11-year-old girl at a game, another one run onto the field and get tased, and one more run on the field the very next day with dope in his pocket. Do any of you think you can really touch LT?
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It's almost like LT hand picked this week to show just how deplorable he can be, seeing if he could push his sense of entitlement so far that his arrest could trump an alleged murder by a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, a veritable scumbag "heat check," if you will. Bravo, LT. Swish.
Lawrence, if these charges are true and this is your last play as a member of society, you've outdone yourself. You turned Tiger, Ben, the UVA story and the rest of the dysfunctional sleaze into size-two font. Buried them like they were John Elway in Super Bowl XXI. Hell, if
Pacman Jones wanted to re-enter the NFL, this would be the week to do it. Would anyone even notice? (Wait, what now?....he DID? Damn. See?)
I'd like to think it's going to be a long time before an athlete or former athlete "tops" this LT story, but sadly I'm bracing for it sooner rather than later. History in 2010 tells me I need to.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian .