First, more Dubious Dozen 2009 entrants who didn’t make it into today’s yearly wrap-up column (linked here):
* Horndoggery: n.: see ESPN
The culprit: ESPN vs. Deadspin.com
The crime: Deadspin editor AJ Daulerio, more than miffed that the World Wide Leader mislead him on reports about inappropriate behavior by then-employee Steve Phillips (eventually let go after it was confirmed the baseball analyst had an affair with an employee), began his own pursuit of “horndoggery” rumors that continued to fill his email box about things going on at the company.
The ongoing link: http://deadspin.com/tag/espnhorndoggery/
The aftermath: ESPN president George Bodenheimer sent a memo to employees in October — which Daulerio obtained eventually (linked here) — calling into question “unwanted media coverage, including a series of Internet posts where the editor expressly stated that many of these items were based on rumor and that they had not attempted to verify their accuracy. Compounding this issue is my disgust that some of our own unidentified employees are leaking materials to the media thereby contributing in a significant way to these destructive efforts.”
So, “If anyone feels that we are not living up to our commitment or that your work environment, either in our offices or at any remote location, is of concern, you can and should bring that to the attention of your supervisor … or to me personally.”
Also in October, Daulerio published the entire lawsuit filed against Deadspin by former ESPN NFL commentator Sean Salisbury (linked here).
Oh, Deadspin also made note that on Bookmaker.com, wagers were being accepted on: “Next ESPN Personality Involved In A Sex Scandal.”
“I’d go big on the underdog,” wrote Daulerio. “Just sayin’. Despicably.”
* The Beer Goggles
The culprit: Ed Podolak, Iowa football radio analyst.
The crime: With the team for the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl, Podolak, a former Hawkeye quarterback and running back, ended up enjoying himself so much, photos showed up on the Internet, starting with Jay Christensen’s The Wiz Of Odds (linked here). Three pictures of the 61-year-old, including one where he’s looking down the blouse of a women, were also posted on an Iowa State fan Web site.
It wasn’t Podolak’s first brush with public intoxication. In 1997, Iowa City police charged Podolak with just that, plus interference with official acts, after campus police found him sleeping in the grass on the University of Iowa Pentacrest.
The aftermath: “I am embarrassed by the pictures,” he said later. “It was late in the evening at the hotel. But I am responsible to represent the university and I am embarrassed by my actions.”
Too late. A week later he said he was going to “retire” from the broadcast booth. Then he came out of retirement in March, and has been calling Hawkeye games all season, logging his comments on his blog at his official website (linked here).
*This just in … by someone we don’t know.
The culprit: ESPN
The crime: Somebody posing as a Washington Post reporter convinced ESPN in April that Washington Capitals star player Mike Green had been suspended for Tuesday’s decisive NHL Eastern Conference playoff Game 7 against the New York Rangers. ESPN SportsCenter hosts Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm relayed that Green and teammate Donald Brashear were suspended under a “Breaking News” banner at 9:52 a.m.
The aftermath: A half hour, ESPN retracted the story.
“Our news desk received the call from someone representing themselves as a Washington Post reporter,” ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.
This was all news to Green.
“I was on my way to the rink this morning and my buddy called me and was a little upset I was missing Game 7,” Green told USA Today. “I had no idea what for. It kind of caught me off guard.”
* Just Corky being quirky
The culprit: Corky Simspon
The crime: In January, it was revealed that the 70-year-old Baseball Hall of Fame voter, who retired after a long tenure with the Tucscon Citizen but continues to write weekly for the Green Valley News, explained that on his ballot, there would be Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Alan Trammel, Matt Williams, Tommy John and Don Mattingly. He also said he’d like to vote for Mark McGwire, but won’t. He then mentioned that others eligible to be voted in :include” Harold Baines, Jay Bell, David Cone, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Dave Parker, Dan Plesac, Lee smith, Greg Vaughn and Mo Vaughn.
But no mention of Rickey Henderson, considered by many to be the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history and the all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored. Henderson was voted in the Hall on 511 of 539 ballots (94.8 percent) in his first year of eligibility.
The aftermath: Some assumed it was a publicity stunt. Some of the comments written on the paper’s website included: “Are you stupid or just senile?” “Old people should not be allowed to vote for the HOF.” And: “Morons like this should have their votes taken away. ”
“It doesn’t bother me,” Simpson told the Columbia Journalism Review (linked here), “because, one, I’m too old, and my skin is too thick, and I’m a stubborn old mule from Missouri.”
Simpson admitted leaving Henderson off was merely an oversight.
“I picked eight guys; my mistake is that I could’ve picked two more, and I didn’t. And had I really used my brain, I would’ve picked two more guys, and I would’ve put Rickey Henderson on there for sure.”
But as for those who roasted him on the Internet: “I think of the literature on the Internet in the same way that I think of the literature on the walls of public bathrooms. With the exception that the literature on the walls of public bathrooms is a little higher class. … The Internet is like a sewer. It’s very necessary, but you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time there.”
* O.J. Simpson wasn’t available to do it?
The culprit: Ralph Wilson, Buffalo Bills owner
The crime: He asked for, and received, permission to have ESPN’s Chris Berman present him in his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August.
ESPN sent this response, on Berman’s behalf: “Fifty years in sports, there’s only one constant – Ralph Wilson is the owner of the Buffalo Bills. What Mr. Wilson has done for pro football and for the city of Buffalo and Western New York, it’s hard to put into words. He remains in it for the same reasons he got into it in 1959 – he loves the game of football, and that’s apparent in everything he does. It will be an honor to have a bird’s eye view to watch him be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, especially this year, in the 50th year of the old American Football League. He’s a man I admire very much and I’m honored to just be there.”
A simple “yes” would have been sufficient.
The aftermath: As a result, Berman did not act as the mater of ceremony for the event. So, maybe it wasn’t all that bad.
*And finally, those annual list of those whose foot couldn’t avoid their mouths:
== Bob Griese: The ABC college football analyst, during a promo for the network’s NASCAR coverage, said that driver Juan Pablo Montoya was missing from a graphic because “he’s out having a taco.” Griese apologized and was suspended one game.
== Jeff Kingery: The Colorado Rockies radio play-by-play man since their 1993 inception was barred from traveling on the team bus and plane on road trips after he yelled at a bus driver who got lost on his way to taking a group of players and team officials to Dodger Stadium in June. In September, he announced he was leaving his job, but “there’s no connection” to that bus incident.
== David Feherty: The CBS golf analyst wrote in a column for a Dallas magazine: “If you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with (U.S. House speaker) Nancy Pelosi, (U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.” Feherty apologized.
== Scott Van Pelt: In January, the ESPN radio talk-show host said that learning MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s 2007 salary was $18.5 million cause him to “choke on my vomit,” and he then went on to disparage him about his physical appearance and referred to him as a “pimp.” Van Pelt reportedly served a one-day suspension.
== Bill Weber: The TNT motorsports broadcaster was taken off the network’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in July for what was called “a late night incident” at the TNT hotel in Manchester, N.H.
== Gus Johnson: The CBS NFL play-by-play man said on a running play by Tennessee running back Chris Johnson: “First down and 10 … Johnson … gets his shoulders square. Watch out! He’s got getting-away-from-the-cups speed. Touchdown!” Johnson kind of apologized in USA Today: “If there is a perception of racism in this analogy, it is not coming from me. People of all races have run from the law. However, to those who are offended, I apologize.”