Ed. note: This new column is about sports and the law. You can read the introductory installment here.
Last night, I was having trouble coming up with something to say in this space that begins the post. I think it’s called an introduction. I called up the only woman who doesn’t screen my calls and asked for her help.
Mama Juggs: Are you in trouble?
Juggs: No, mom. Christ, why would you ask me that? No, I’m finding it difficult to think up a story only tenuously related to sports that I can open my column with.
MJ: I don’t understand a word of what you just said.
J: My column, mom. On Above The Law. You said you’ve been reading it?
J: Whatever. Mom, can you think of a sports-related story that’s mildly funny and has little-to-no point?
MJ: Do you remember how your father used to shoot free throws? God, you’d stand out there for hours rebounding for him. How many did he make in a row?
J: Something over 100. I don’t remember. Mom, that’s not a ripping yarn, you’d have to agree.
MJ: You were too young to remember this, but the way his teams ran defense at Lucky High. Oh God, it was poetry. Every motion had an order, but it was so fluid and graceful. It was intuitive, y’know? Your father was so proud of those boys.
J: This isn’t going anywhere, is it?
MJ: The team that took second at state was great, but it was actually the team after that that your father always claimed was the best he coached. I can still see him walking out onto the court with the boutonnière and he looked so impressive. Just striding onto that court with all the confidence in the world. I’ll have to see if I can find a picture. I know I have one around here. He looked so handsome, your dad did.
J: Didn’t he get kicked out of a lot of games for arguing with refs?
LET’S TALK SPORTS!
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT CHAD
Unless you’ve been living in a cave that doesn’t have cable or wireless internet, you’re aware of the Chad Johnson soap opera that has played out on multiple channels and across varied platforms. In a nutshell, Chad went all Bonk on his wife of 40-odd days, reality “star” Evelyn Lozada, this past Saturday. He was arrested and charged with domestic battery after allegedly headbutting Lozada after she confronted him with a receipt for condoms she found in the trunk of his car. After the incident, it was a neighbor who called 911:
“She is probably gonna need stitches,” the caller says, asking for police assistance but preferably on the DL. “We don’t need the news here.”
“I don’t want him to come in here and get mad at me,” he says, adding, “We don’t know if he’s home, or looking for her, or calmed down.”
Evelyn Lozada can be heard in the background saying “he head-butted me,” while the neighbor is concerned Chad is out looking for her.
There goes the neighborhood.
I’m contractually obligated to tell you Chad Johnson is represented by a man named Adam B. Swickle. He’s a graduate of Nova Southeastern and you can see his profile here.
As for Chad and Evelyn, I can’t help but feel we’ve passed a seminal moment in reality programming. The denouement of this particular play occurred on Tuesday night, when Chad Johnson was cut from the Miami Dolphins on the reality show, Hard Knocks. He wasn’t cut Tuesday night, of course. He was cut earlier than that. In real life. But for much of America, it was Tuesday night. And the scene had the eerie feeling of scripted action. Not that it would be the first reality show to feel… unreal.
But this particular event seemed to blur the distinction between reality show and reality even more than most. Chad Johnson had been a football player many moons ago. And now he was a reality star. And real life drew the curtain closed on his football career. And thus ended his run on a reality show. And he will soon be divorcing his reality show wife. In real life. And through the looking glass we shall go.
It was the least interesting NFL story ever, but perhaps the most interesting workers’ compensation story. Last week, the Ninth Circuit ruled that NFL players could file for workers’ compensation benefits in the state of California, despite language in their contracts that foreclose such an action. One might question why a billion-dollar industry like the NFL would fight tooth-and-nail over such a niggling concern. However, if King Roger has taught us anything, it’s that there isn’t anything in this world that is too inconsequential to fight over. The league continues to lock out its referees and parade Lingerie Football League officials out onto the field to blow calls and Magoo their way through preseason games. Like many despots before him, he’s confused sheer will and wont for wisdom. He wants to protect the shield, therefore he is doing just that.
As for the workers’ compensation case, the league and the players union is already squabbling over what last week’s ruling means. The indispensable Mike Florio spells out what it means going forward:
Moving forward, the question becomes whether and to what extent the union will police the practice of team record keeping regarding injuries. The league’s 32 franchises now have a clear incentive to resolve any ambiguity regarding when and where an injury occurred by taking the position that it happened nowhere within the borders of the Golden State.
And that will be the next frontier in the ongoing workers’ compensation battles. Players will try to argue that injuries occurred in California, and the league will try to prove that they didn’t.
Never was so little argued over by so many to those who gave so few f**ks.
PONZI, ON TWO
Former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan was charged by the the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday with operating a Ponzi scheme. Donnan is said to have encouraged coaches and former players alike to invest in a business that would buy and resell appliances and furniture. Think of it like a Walmart. Only in the South.
Donnan and his fellow alleged Ponzi schemers are said to have raised nearly $80 million in furtherance of this fantastic and innovative idea. Among those duped are several famous coaches who have likely been referred to as geniuses at some point in their successful careers. Remember this the next time some commentator gushes over Belichick’s use of two tight ends. But the saddest part of the complaint against Donnan involves his former players:
Donnan used his influence with former players who looked up to him, federal regulators said. According to the SEC court filing, he told one player, “Your Daddy is going to take care of you,” and, “if you weren’t my son, I wouldn’t be doing this for you,” the SEC complaint said. That former player, who was not named, ended up investing $800,000.
All you dads out there can just pack it in now. Father of the Year 2012 has already been decided.
RAP SHEET ROLL CALL
* Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams was convicted of driving while ability-impaired, which is a lesser charge than driving under the influence. U MADD?
* A high school basketball coach was convicted of rape after he admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old student. This is terrible.
* A 45-year-old “hockey mom” was convicted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old member of her son’s hockey team. This is…
* Preakness winning jockey Robby Albarado was fined $500 on Tuesday after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. Albarado was represented by attorneys from the law firm of Mare Brown.
You’ve gotta excuse my language here, but you guys haven’t been doing diddly poo with these quizzes. That’s okay, though. It’s mostly my fault for not engaging you. You’re probably all gifted and it’s the ease of these quizzes that bores you. You’re acting out and getting bad grades because you’re too smart. Probably. So let’s ratchet up the difficulty in today’s quiz. It’s four quotes as it always is. Today, it’s your job to decipher whether the quote is from the loquacious former basketball coach Al McGuire or the loquacious current Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. Alright? Here are the quotes.
A) “I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated.”
B) “The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.”
C) “ ”
D) “Seashells and balloons is bare feet and wet grass. It means a light breeze. You know, a light breeze that would maybe move a girl’s skirt a little. It’s sweater weather. A malted, you know. A shake. The gentleness of it. The wholesomeness of it. It’s tender. That type of thing.”