One man’s annual countdown of the biggest miscreants, jerks, psychos, losers, mental defectives, morons, habitual criminal offenders, dirtbags and nitwits of the year:
10. The Miami Heat
Not that anyone noticed, but the NBA had a lockout this year. And if you’d been paying attention (note: I wasn’t) you’d know that no one personified the cause of the thing as much as LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It’s funny, but it turns out that guys who shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a business don’t feel like having their millionaire employees dictate who they will and will not play alongside. Apparently they’d like to pick their rosters, and they were willing to stay out of business to keep that right. Go figure. Not that NBA owners are all the most sympathetic figures to begin with, but even Mark Cuban (a guy I happen to like; a self-made billionaire who likes to be the turd in the NBA’s punchbowl can drink from my canteen anytime) was America’s Sweetheart in the NBA finals compared to these insufferable jerks. Hell, Kim Jong Il could’ve owned the Mavs and we would’ve been rooting them. The Heat’s gag job in the series was mourned nowhere outside of South Beach.
9. Stevie Williams
After 12 years on Tiger Woods’ bag (get your mind out of the gutter), Williams was fired back in July. He did not take it well, ripping Woods in interviews with everyone from the Golf Channel to the New Zealand press to Dr. Oz to complain about the unfairness of it all. The fact that he pocketed 10 percent of Tiger’s winnings all those years for saying “Hit the 3-wood” apparently not raining on his Pity Party. When his new boss, Adam Scott, won the prestigious and historic Bridgestone, Williams called it the best win of his career, then capped off the year with some racist comments. To quote the great Lou Loomis from "Caddyshack," “You want to be out a job, you want to be replaced by golf carts … keep it up.”
8. The college bowls
Sports Illustrated did a billion-word expose on the is college football bowl system and told us what we already knew: It’s a traveshamockery that’s keeping the American sports fan from having something we all want. But the piece threw open the shower curtain and exposed what an abomination it really is. The CEOs of these things make upwards of $500,000 to run these things. That is, to put on one football game a year. Between two teams that are playing virtually for nothing. In fact, that lose money on the deal in almost every case. The rest of the year these one percent of one-percenters schmooze sponsors, go on junkets and golf. Or in the case of Fiesta Bowl robber baron John Junker, blow their expense account at strip bars. Talk about good work if you can get it. Enjoy the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl everybody!
7. Kardashian husbands
If there’s one thing I hate about American civilization in the 21st century it’s the Kardashians. I’m not exaggerating. Riddle me this: What do they put on their tax returns in the box marked “Occupation?” What? What is it they do exactly? I mean, at least when cameras followed Ozzy Osbourne around it was because he had once held a job of note. The Kardashians are famous because Kim once released a sex tape. Oops! I meant to say it was “leaked.” Not a celebrity sex tape mind you, because no one had ever heard of her, but within hours she was more famous than Tom Brady. Or Beef O’ Brady. Then it was the whole rotten, useless, contributing-nothing-to-society clan. Now they’ve found our most bland, uninteresting professional athletes and dragged them into the cult. Kris Humphries took part in a sham “celebrity wedding” to Kim that was as authentic as the Stu-Jade nuptials in "The Hangover." Lamar Odom married … one of the other ones. Then when he got traded from LA to Dallas, made a public spectacle of himself, crying and whining about it. Not because he wouldn’t want to play for the world champs, but because he knew his days as a cuckolded “reality” show “star” were over.
6. Albert Haynesworth
I’ve put him on this list before for the crimes of quitting on his team and comparing his situation to “slavery” days after cashing a $20 million bonus check. This year his offenses aren’t nearly that bad, but what he did, he did to the Patriots so they’re 100 times worse. After saying and doing all the right things, he made minimal effort on the field and in practice. Given every opportunity to contribute, he finished his six-game Pats career with three tackles, which ties him with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and zero sacks, which puts him a tie with me, you and 7 billion other people. If you can’t be redeemed by Bill Belichick, you’re unredeemable. Warren Sapp summed him up best: “Turd.”
5. The New York Jets
Admittedly, the competition for NFL Team Guilty of Most Buffoonery is a fierce one. And call me a shameless Patriots partisan, but I’ve given the edge to the Jests. No team has ever been more hypersensitive to shows of disrespect (I’m really start to hate that word) while showing any less respect for others than Shrex Ryan’s mouthy minions. In January they were mortally offended by Wes Welker’s goofy puns about their coach’s bizarre foot fetish. Then in the playoff game did more posing and dancing than the complete series DVD boxed set of Glee. Afterwards Bart Scott ran to the first microphone he could find to spit on the Pats’ grave. The rest of the year was the usual incessant Jets yappin’ about (altogether now) “going to two straight AFC Championship games,” like that’s now the gold standard for excellence. When Stevie Johnson of the Bills imitated Plaxico Burress shooting himself plaxidentally, the Jets railed about how classless it was. Including wideout Santonio Holmes who got flagged for an excessive celebration just last week. With his team down by 18 points. You might say I’m still bitter about the playoff loss. And you’d be right. But that doesn’t make them any less buffoony.
4. Red Sox “team sources”
You’d think two championships and the undisputed title of Best Manager in team history … or even basic human decency… would’ve earned Terry Francona a nice pat on the ass on his way out the door. Instead he got a kick. Or better yet, a poison dart to the neck from an anonymous assassin. See, “according to team sources” he wasn’t an intelligent, hard-working, articulate guy who treated everyone with dignity. In reality, he was a philandering, pill-popping nutjob who spent the whole year hopped up on goofballs. Yup, the collapse was all his fault, so come back to Fenway next year and don’t forget to order your $300 commemorative 100th anniversary brick. Good thing no one from management was involved in planting this story though. Best of luck, Bobby Valentine. You’re next.
The team and the city. The Canucks and the canucks. The team didn’t wrap itself in any glory. Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron's finger. Roberto Luongo whined about Tim Thomas not “pumping his tires.” The Sedins proved to be the most loathsome, creepy Ginger twins this side of those two ghosts on “American Horror Story.” Oh, and while Boston celebrated victory with like seven arrests (which is probably 10 percent of an average night in the city), Vancouverians damn near burned their place to the ground. Seriously, they did dozens of dollars worth of damage (in Canadian money). Oh, wait. It was all done by “outsiders.” Of course. Nevermind.
2. The Red Sox “Biggest Losers”
My whole life I’ve locked horns with older guys who take a sick, perverse pleasure in rooting against the Sox. I’ve never understood it, but I chalk it up to them growing up when the Sox truly were the unlikable, lazy, overpaid fat cats they love to talk about. Still, I never understood how you can be so jaded you root against your hometown team. Until about the third week of September, this year. Then I became one of them. The 2011 Sox pushed me over to the Dark Side. Biggest Losers in that they blew the biggest September playoff lead ever. Biggest Losers in that by the end they looked like weight loss game show contestants. John Lackey introduced them to the joys of shotgunning Popeye’s chicken gravy with a beer chaser. Every time Josh Beckett went into the stretch he had to decide whether to place his hands above or below his frum.* Even poor beloved Jon Lester joined them, and together the top of the Sox rotation looked like The Klumps. I can forgive them for many things, but not making me hate them like I’m a cranky 80-year-old.
1. Penn State
Not “some at Penn State.” Not just Jerry Sandusky. Everyone. The whole university, from the president down to those ridiculous, misguided nitwits who rioted over Joe Paterno’s firing. And mainly the symbol of this whole sordid, outrageous mess, JoePa. He isn’t a lovable old grandpa. He’s an enabling, duplicitous co-conspirator, worried about his own image over the well-being of needy kids. Let the dirtbag Sandusky run wild like a Libertine. The Marquis de Pa. Not one person mentioned in all these reports ever once stood up and said “You were doing WHAT to boys in the shower?! What the hell is wrong with you?! I’m calling the cops this instant you sick bleep!!!” If one did, I’d spare him/ her. Instead the whole twisted bunch takes this year’s top spot in a walk away.
So there you have it. It was not an easy list to pare down this year. But to all the usual suspects who didn’t make it -- A-Rod, Kobe, Dwight Howard, James Harrison, Bill Polian, the Montreal Canadiwns -- the balloting for 2012 begins in two weeks. Get busy.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @JerryThornton1
* ”Frum” is short for “frontal bum.”