When I got a subscription to ESPN Magazine, I was doing it for all the right reasons. I wanted to help out a Catholic high school that my sister happens to attend. Fine. All that goodwill just went out the window. After starting at the back and working my way towards the front, I was almost finished with what I considered to be a strongly-written, well-done issue when I stumbled upon the mental pile of shit that is Stuart Scott's "Two-Way" column. In the past, this has been an opportunity for Scott to do one or more of the following things:
--Use fawning e-mails from people that truly love everything ESPN does to sexually pleasure himself.
--Increase his "street cred" by trying to be real about what athletes really think despite the fact that he has never actually been a professional athlete.
--Give horrid, banal answers that never, ever step outside the bounds of what the higher-ups would want him to say.
Scott fielded what might be termed a hostile question from a reader a few issues ago, one that was nothing more than a diss on the WNBA. Scott rushed to the WNBA's defense and buried the reader with harsh, tough-talking invective. Of course, his reaction couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that ESPN/ABC/FUCKING DISNEY are locked into a TV contract with the WNBA through 2016. I'd like to think that Scott is toeing the company line here, and that he realizes that, fair or not, a majority of the men that make up the majority of ESPN's audience could give a huge bag of goat shit about the WNBA--Bill Simmons readily acknowledges that fact all that time. Sadly though, I think Scott actually believes some of the nonsense he spouts, and really thinks he's taking on all the haters out there.
Whatever though. I dismissed his answer as typical annoying garbage. Annoying but not maddening.
Maddening just happened tonight.
For your benefit, I'll retype his column verbatim, and add in a little commentary. It'll be formatted all pretty-like, so you won't have to struggle to guess who said what. Though I think the fact that my analysis will include the word "fuck" about 254 times should tip you off. Let's dive right in.
Creel from "_____" (I like to think of it as "Parts Unknown" writes:
"Who's been the dirtiest player in this year's NBA playoffs, Stuart?"
A valid question, if you ask me. Creel was probably referring to this guy and his lovely running forearm shiver, which earned him a suspension and probably saved the Lakers from an upset loss in the series, as the team was forced to use a competent player in his place in Game 3. Surely, Creel has a valid point that there've been some very dirty, chippy plays in this year's playoffs, right Stu?
"Creel, tough, aggressive hoops isn't dirty; it's old school. Some say Derek Fisher made a dirty play against Luis Scola. But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to send a message. Bird, Jordan, Magic, J, Wilt, Russell...they all did it. I call it manning up for your teammates. If you get suspended, that's the cost. If I'd been the ref, I would've called a flagrant on Derek too. But as a teammate and a coach, I'd appreciate what you did."
Yeah, I'm sure his teammates were feeling threatened by Luis Scola and the Rockets, who were massive underdogs all series. If you want to man up for your teammates, Derek Fisher, you should've tried the same play against Ron Artest, who would've probably stabbed you in the heart with his shoelace. I'm sure Fisher's teammates and coaches did appreciate his actions though, as his suspension saved them from having to tell him how awful of a player he is and how he's killing the team with his barrage of missed 3-pointers. Christ, saying something is "old school" is a tidy way of saying "completely uncalled for and cheap."
Ty Cobb, now there was an old school baseball player. Look at his slides, how he tried to impale those vaguely black-looking players with his extra-sharp cleats. Guy knew how to man up for his teammates.
Matt from Dallas chimes in with the following:
"Guys like Manny, Barry, A-Rod and Clemens don't care about the Hall of Fame/tainted records/public scrutiny, Stu. When will the media start painting them as the thieves they are?"
Again, some valid points. I can't get totally behind the thieves thing, but I can understand the philosophy behind it. They were cheating to put up better numbers and in turn command better salaries. If you cheat at your desk job, and you get paid better for it, that could certainly be construed as a type of cheating. Stu, your thoughts?
"Matt, you clearly do not understand what being an athlete is about. These guys are world class, and it's impossible to get there without loving what you do, without pouring your heart and soul into what you do. Even if you assume they all cheated (though Clemens and Bonds still deny using), it came from desire, a need to be the best. Making a mistake like taking steroids doesn't mean you're a thief."
Oh FUCKING CHRIST ALMIGHTY IN HEAVEN. WHERE THE FUCK DO I START? First off, how the fuck does Stu Scott know what being an athlete is about any more than Matt? Matt's subscription to a sports magazine and the fact that he cares enough about sports to write in to fucking "Two-way" are certainly indicators of a zest for athletic competition that might have manifested itself in active participation in athletics. Stuart Scott "gets" what being an athlete "is all about" like I "get" what being a hermaphroditic hooker is "all about." For fuck's sake Stu, you never played a down of organized professional anything, AND you got hit in the eye by a ball from a JUGS machine, so SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP ACTING LIKE YOU'RE ON THE INSIDE.
The statement from Scott that casts doubt about whether Clemens and Bonds actually cheated? Another fucking gag-inducing example of a never-was trying to act like he's in the fraternal society of shrunken-testicle anti-heroes. Guess what Stu, they might not have admitted it, but then again, O.J. is still out there looking for the real killer and so forth. OPEN YOUR EYES AND TAKE OFF THE BLINDERS, YOU ARE DUMBER THAN A FUCKING RACEHORSE.
Oh, and I desire to be the best in my profession too. The easiest way to do that would be to kill everyone I work with and appoint myself ruler and master. But that would be cheating. In Stu's mind, though, that's okay. Because I love what I do, and I'm pouring my soul into it--while gallons of blood are pouring out of my adversaries.
Jon from Flagstaff writes:
"Will the Dodgers make it to the post-season without Manny in the lineup for two months?"
"Well, they had him for only the final two months of the season last year and made it, so yes."
Finally, a fucking breather.
Zach from Des Moines chimes in with this:
Magic seems like a great guy, Stuart. Is he fun to work with? What about Jon Barry? And Mike Wilbon?
I'm sure Magic's a child molestor, Barry is a closet racist who rapes sheep, and Wilbon drinks the blood of virgins and eats cat poop during commercials.
"Zach, Magic doesn't talk to me, I don't talk to Barry, and Barry doesn't talk to Wilbon. Very dysfunctional group. I'm just kidding! It's a blast. But as much fun as we have on the set, we have about five times more fun in the greenroom. Watching the games and eating pizza, along with the TV crew, it's like a little family. We have a large-screen for the basketball game and several smaller sets so Wilbon can keep up with his Cubs and we can watch the PGA. Truth be told, on Masters Sunday, we moved the ABC game to the small monitor and watched Tiger and Phil chase Perry and Cabrera on the big-screen HD. Keep that to yourself."
Yes Zach, keep that to yourself, because, like it or not, you've just been invited into Stu's special club, the "I wish I was a pro athlete so I could hang like them but I'll settle for telling stories about hanging with retired pro athletes instead," club. Club population is 1. Chummy insider shit like this makes me sick, along with the heaviest-handed, dumbest attempt at humor ever in the first few lines. The vomit is rising...
...and now it's about to spew:
Frank from Bemidji, Minn. writes:
"If Brett Favre ends up playing for the Vikings, how would you rate their Super Bowl chances?"
When Brett Favre eventually signs with the Vikings, he will be a mild improvement over the horrendous, pants-shittingly awful guy they have now in Tarvaris Jackson. He will also be a significant downgrade from Sage Rosenfels, who is actually decent. He will also suck all positive vibes coming from the team into a dark vortex made of Wrangler Five Star Premium denim jeans. With that in mind, they have no chance at the Super Bowl and will go 5-11.
"Frank, let go. Just let go. He's not coming back. You're like Pavlov's dog. Cut it out, it ain't pretty."
When Favre comes back, Stu, I'll have my own e-mail for you. Here's a sneak peek:
Hey Stu, FLS from Parts Unknown here:
Die. Or stop writing. Or both.
Hopefully they'll let me Holla at Him--if I make the cut.