Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sports' Deepest Throats

Late last week, W. Mark Felt, better known as Watergate snitch "Deep Throat," died at the age of 95. Felt was responsible for Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's biggest leads in taking down President Nixon.

In his honor, and in honor of whistleblowers everywhere, we present sports' top ten historical snitches.

Dis-Honorable Mention

Brett Favre: Rumor has it he used his Packer-issued cell phone to call Vikes coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell while on his way out of Green Bay. Of course, he denied any inappropriateness and Favre is a man to take at his word.

10. J.P. Hayes

You know you are a real rat when you can't even help but out yourself, even at the expense of your own livilhood.

Hayes inadvertently played a non-conforming golf ball - one not on the list approved for competition by the United States Golf Association - for one hole of a second-stage qualifier in McKinney, Texas.

The 43-year-old Appleton native disqualified himself from the second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament last week. The first DQ of his career was especially harsh because it left him ineligible to play fulltime on the PGA Tour in 2009.

9. Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea

Over the years we have seen Hulk Hogan's reputation, family life and ego more and more reflect the world of professional wrestling in which he made his bones. If not for the vison of Vincent K. McMahon, Hogan's career may very well have gone the way of, say, a Barry Horowitz.

In the 90's, years after Hollywood made his millions, he was the star witness against his boss, first scratching the All-American surface of the self-serving egomaniac that we know today:

In 1993, he was indicted after a steroid controversy engulfed the promotion. McMahon was put on trial in 1994, accused of distributing steroids to his wrestlers. As a legal move, his wife Linda was made CEO of the WWF during the trial. He was acquitted of all charges though he admitted to taking steroids himself in the 1980s. The prosecution made Hulk Hogan its star witness, and his testimony in the trial severely damaged the two's friendship, even though Hogan's testimony defended McMahon. After Hogan's testimony, McMahon went before the media declaring that he wished that Hogan had not lied about him on the witness stand.
8. Billy Wagner

Not a snitch, per se, but in the words of World Champion Pat Burrell, a "rat."

A club house cancer if there ever was one, Wagner, a perennial over-paid underachiever who crumbles in big moments, has never had any qualms calling out teammates in the media.

7. Paul LoDuca

Speaking of outspoken Mets hell-bent on destroying team chemistry...if not for Paul LoDuca, we'd have never known that New York's Latin ballplayers spoke a lick of English:

“I’ll do this, but you need to start talking to other players. It’s the same three or four people every day. Nobody else wants to talk...Some of these guys have got to start talking. They speak English, believe me.”

6. Kobe Bryant

Leave it to an adulterous, accused rapist to bring down those around him.

In his now-famous freestyle, Shaquille O'Neal explaned: "I'm a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced," in reference to Kobe's comment to Colorado police during his 2003 rape trial: "Shaq would pay his women not to say anything."

5. Anonymous 911 Caller

A woman police around 9:20 p.m. on Oct. 6 "to report some men had gotten out of a vehicle and urinated in her yard."

The caller told the dispatcher, "There was a big shuttle bus limousine that pulled up alongside of my house, and there was like seven black men who got out and stopped and peed all over my yard. There was like six or seven. There was a whole busload of them. But the bus driver stopped right alongside my house, and there was six or seven black men that got out, probably, I'd maybe say 19, 18, 19, maybe even 20."

The organizer, Viking Fred Smoot, put on quite a party for his Minnesota teammates.

Police described the Vikings sex boat incident as: "Masturbation, oral sex, woman on man, woman on woman, toys, middle of the floor, middle of the couches, middle of the room...Members of the entourage that were on both boats took enormously detailed photographs of a variety of sexual acts."

4. Jim Haslett

In 2005 the NFL player-turned coach outed one of the NFL's premier franchises (Steelers), coaches (Noll) and ownerships (Rooney) by saying that the "team's use of steroids during its Super Bowl championship seasons in the 1970s popularized the drug in the NFL."

Haslett later clarified: "It wasn't against the rules in those days, it wasn't illegal...I have a lot of respect for this league, but it's naive to think people weren't using enhancing drugs before they were illegal. The difference is that the NFL recognized that steroids would hurt the league and took steps to stop their use. That's what I was trying to show."

3. Brian McNamee

McNamee's ceremonious throwing of his former boss and baseball legend Roger Clemens under the bus in the heat of the Mitchell hearings was the ultimate sign of ungratefulness. Whether or not the Rocket was guilty of the accusations McNamee presented is besides the point. He ultimately betrayed his meal ticket and apparent friend and confidant, and continues to be a thorn in the would be Hall of Famer's side.

2. Jim Bouton

I wrote last year about Bouton's Ball Four, his "masterpiece that got his ass blacklisted from pro ball": Ball Four is a raw, unadulterated and no-holds barred piece written in a diary format by a witty, honest intellectual amongst his more physically focused contemporaries.

His references to player-team labor relations, "beaver shooting," amphetamine use and Mickey Mantle's skirt chasing were unprecedented at the time when sportswriters still held athletes on a pedestal for idol-worshiping fans to, well...worship.

1. Jose Canseco

What can be said about the Bash Brother-turned-reality star-turned author that hasn't already been said.

Bouton's book was viewed as getting him blacklisted, Canseco's was in essence a response to his perceived impression that he was already blacklisted. Consequently, it did little to help his cause. Bouton shed light on things we didn't know, Canseco's shed light on things we already assumed.


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Scott said...

Brian McNamee chose not the lie udner oath. The fact that you have him on this list is dispicable.

Lee said...

Scott, I think the point of the article was not to write about who "lied" but who made the biggest waves with the things they said. McNamee did not lie, and his testimony will more then likely be a big part of why Clemens may not make the HoF.

This article has some less than desirable people listed, which is why it can seem to be labeling dirt bags.

Billy said...

Clemens will eventually get popped for perjury not growth hormone. That's the story.

xavier said...

of course, the point of this is to point some people who make things really bad...
maybe canseco should use more buy viagra instead of bad drugs!!

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