The maglia nera, or black jersey, is a “prize” that was awarded to a cyclist in the Giro d’Italia from 1946 to 1951. The “winner” of the black jersey was the cyclist who finished last. The first man to “win” the black jersey was Luigi Malabrocca, who managed to double the amount of time it took him to finish the race when he won/lost his second black jersey.

“Especially noted are the struggles between Sante Carollo and Luigi Malabrocca, to see who could waste the most time,” according to the Wikipedia entry for the maglia nera. “Each tried to lose more time than the other by hiding in bars, barns, and behind hedges, or even by puncturing their own wheels.”

This is just great. The wiki entry also notes that one winner was lauded for finishing the race despite suffering a broken hand and having to push his bike uphill during mountain stages. The jersey, you see, was not just won by clowns, but also by sad clowns. The entirety of our pointless struggle seems to have been contained in this maglia nera.

And by our pointless struggle, I mean the legal profession….

I went to school with a guy who claimed to have won the maglia nera for Biglaw firms. All credit goes to him for pointing me towards this hilarious Italian invention. He claims to have won the jersey for billing the lowest number of hours in Biglaw in a given year. Which… is something worth celebrating. Or, at least, noting. No one on their deathbed says they wish they had made non-equity partner. And no one has ever crushed a memo.

You can go for the maglia nera and spend your days in relative tranquility. You might even remain a decent human being. Or you can go for that brass ring. Shoot for the yellow jersey.

End up being this disgraced dickface.

LANCE ARMWEAK MORE LIKE IT!!!!

Listen, I’m probably not the first to suggest that the evidence seems fairly strong that Lance Armstrong doped on the way to his umpteen (former mathlete here) Tour de France victories. By evidence, of course, I mean that Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France. He won the Tour so, and excuse me for the tautology here, he almost certainly doped, right? Everyone just assumed this already, right? Hello?

And I’m probably not the first to suggest that the evidence seems fairly strong that Lance Armstrong is a gigantic a**hole. By evidence, of course, I mean that Lance Armstrong is a wildly successful professional athlete. He’s an incredibly successful professional athlete so, and excuse me for the tautology here, he almost certainly is a prick, right? Everyone just assumed this already, right? Hi?

The New York Times broke down Armstrong’s potential legal woes in light of the USADA report released last week alleging that Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong almost surely doped and quite likely is a real buttmunch. The first legal worry involves a bonus check Armstrong won for winning the ’04 Tour. SCA Promotions, a company that effectively insured the prize for Armstrong, is now coming after him. He beat them back once, and it’s his a**hole-dom that has the lawyer for the insurance company licking his lips:

On Friday, Jeffrey M. Tillotson, a lawyer in Dallas who represents SCA, said his client would attempt to regain the $7.5 million plus interest. “He basically said that we were scum and how dare we criticize him,” Tillotson said. “So there is some measure of relief that we can now say that he didn’t get away with it forever and, by the way, ‘You owe us $7.5 million.’ ”

You just know the Times cut that Tillotson quote off. I choose to believe that it originally read, “You owe us $7.5 million. $7.5 million for each testicle you have.”

But Lance doesn’t only have poor old Mr. Tillotson and his pent-up frustration to worry about. He’s also got the federal government. Who still thinks it’s prudent to waste everyone’s time investigating the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. And for support, the nation turns its lonely eyes to… Floyd Landis. Ugh:

An inquiry by the Department of Justice… is believed to be continuing. Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s former teammates, filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit charging that Armstrong and the Postal Service team management defrauded the government by using taxpayer dollars to finance the squad’s doping program.

Landis claimed Armstrong and the team management were aware of the widespread doping on the team when its contract with the Postal Service clearly stated that any doping would constitute default of their agreement, said two people with knowledge of the case. Those people did not want their names published because the case is under seal.

Poor, poor Floyd Landis. I understand why the Mennonite Rocket keeps fighting the “good” fight here. I do. I can’t be the only one who was riveted by his stage 17 at the 2006 Tour. It was breathtaking and I hate the drug authorities for ruining that moment for me. He doped but, if that stage is any indication, he doped the best that year. Against what was almost certainly a crazy-doped-up field, Landis won. And he did it with panache. And then he was stripped of the title and disgraced. Now, Landis almost certainly sees it as an article of faith that Armstrong must be taken down. If there’s one thing that humans know best, it’s hypocrisy. It’s so easy to understand that even a 3-year-old knows how to scream “But you said!” And yet.

The whole fight against Armstrong seems completely boring and ultimately silly. It’s not that Armstrong deserves to ride off into the saddlesore sunset with his reputation intact. It’s not that… exactly. It’s that he never should have had the reputation to begin with. And some expensive federal indictment won’t do anything to change the useful takeaway here. And that takeaway is… quit being stupid, you yellow-braceleted ninnies. Lance was never a swell dude and he was never ever ever ever a hero. Just a real prickish athlete. I mean, cancer still sucks and all. But did we need Lance to teach us that?

RAP SHEET ROLL CALL

* Breaking precedent just a bit, we start with the story of someone being released today. Darrell Williams, the Oklahoma State basketball player who was convicted of sexual assault in July, was released from jail last week. Williams wasn’t granted a new trial and will still have to register as a sex offender. The prosecutor is reported to have had this reaction to the result:

Assistant District Attorney Jill Ochs-Tontz said that while prosecutors had hoped for more time behind bars, they were “thrilled” Williams would be forced to register as a sex offender and have a felony conviction.

“I hope that sexual assault victims across the state will see and know that no one is above the law,” she said. “I honestly feel that Darrell Williams feels that he is above the law.”

Thrilling, Ms. Ochs-Tontz. Thrilling.

* The 11th pick in the 1990 NFL draft will stand trial for four murders and may face the death penalty. If you guessed he was a Raider, you get nothing because duh.

* Former NBA player DJ Mbenga was arrested for public intoxication in the most hilarious way early Tuesday morning, when he is alleged to have put his hand on a cop’s chest and said, “You move out of my way.”

Report Could Open Armstrong to Legal Issues [New York Times]

USADA report reveals Lance Armstrong as the greatest fraud in American sports
[Yahoo!]
Maglia nera [Wikipedia]


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