Send in the Clowns
Remember when Jerry Seinfeld uttered those famous words “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”? I guess Rajon Rondo missed that episode.
In case you missed it, Rondo was ejected against the Boston Celtics last week after he went on a profanity-laced slur-filled tirade to NBA referee Bill Kennedy regarding Kennedy’s sexuality. Kennedy hadn’t yet come out, but former disgraced referee Tim Donaghy had actually let the cat out of the bag in 2010 so this fact was pretty well-known in NBA circles. Kennedy then came officially came out on Sunday in the wake of Rondo being suspended for one game for his transgression.
The Sacramento Kings, I mean Rondo’s agent, I mean Rondo tweeted out some comments (not an apology) on Monday that stated his outburst was done out of emotion and they don’t reflect his feelings towards the LGBT community. His insincere and forced comments were such a joke that the only thing missing is Rondo proclaiming that he has friends that are gay.
This at a time when Rondo seemed to be rehabilitating his image. He was leading the NBA in assists, four triple doubles, and even stepped into a leadership role for Team Dysfunction. Rondo couldnt afford this professionally or financially. He was forced to take a discounted one year deal after losing several million dollars due to his incidents last year with Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle as it futher cemented his repuation as a malcontent. Previously, Kevin Garnett has told a story where Rondo threw a fan at Doc Rivers in the Celtics locker room and had to be restrained by several teammates before being escorted out of the building by Garnett.
Rondo’s career thrived when he had veteran leadership around him like Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and a former point guard coach in Rivers. Once that went away, so did what little self -control Rondo had. And now he has the polar opposite when surrounded by DeMarcus Cousins. This would be like pairing an alcoholic with Ozzy Osbourne or a sex addict with Charlie Sheen.
Why are we surprised when athletes who have been pampered for most of their lives have little self-control, boundaries or struggle with maturity? When athletes grows up making the rules, choosing what they want, when they want it and how they want it, those previously mentioned personality traits take a back seat.
Could it get worse
You know things have reached rock bottom when the Baltimore Ravens turned to Ryan Mallett. After Joe Flacco went down, they tried Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen and came to terms with the fact that anybody is better than that. So in comes Mallett. After living off his strong arm reputation despite never showing or proving anything (frankly Jimmy Garropolo has shown more at this point) in New England, Houston gave him a golden opportunity as the front runner to land the starting job over Brian Hoyer. Not only did he underperform, but he overslept once and then to add insult to injury missed a team plane before being unceremoniously cut.
Talk about being surrounded by veteran leadership. You’d think Mallett would have learned something from being around the work ethic of Tom Brady or the leadership of Bill Belichick. Mallett says he has learned his lessons and will be different this time, but he joins Texans management and Ravens management to make three clown entries for this blog.
It was good to see this past Sunday that Houston Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney finally started his NFL career. After being selected number one in 2014, Clowney missed virtually all of last season and has been underwhelming this season. But he sure showed us with a big sack dance when he sacked Tom Brady while his team trailed 27-6. Any athlete that has a big celebration while his team is getting annihilated is a clown.
Cash and Carry
Sometimes after watching or listening to John Calipari or Rick Pitino I think I need a shower. They both have been hired guns throughout their career. Pitino has been embroiled in multiple scandals with the most recent being his role in the Louisville basketball player sex escort scandal. But Calipari in some ways makes Pitino look like a choir boy and the UMASS administration has decided to reward him for that by raising his name to the rafters during a halftime ceremony. Calipari put UMASS basketball on the map for the first time since Julius Erving when he led them to the Final Four in 1996.
It was one of the most exciting local college runs you’ll see anchored by center Marcus Camby. There was one slight problem though that Pitino would either have been proud or jealous of. Camby had a few agents and received thosuands of dollars worth of jewelry and prostitution services. These kinds of dishonorable recruiting tactics followed Calipari to the University of Memphis where he had to flee also. UMASS was fined 151K by the NCAA and had their Final Four appearance vacated (the punishment of vacated wins is a great topic for another day). Calipari left the program in ruins and suffice it to say it has never recovered. Calipari will be in good company though in the rafters right alongside his partner in crime Camby.
Minnesota Vikings player Antone Exum came out this morning to say he played through a fractured rib and injured shoulder in a game two weeks ago against Seattle and said he thought he could have died by continuing to play, but knew the Vikings were shorthanded. He said “I was feeling a pain in my chest with every breath and motion.” If you are a professional athlete and are having trouble breathing, stop playing. If you are a professional athlete and have been hit so hard you can’t see straight, stop playing. You might be popular with your teammates because of your toughness, dedication and masculinity, but if you are debilitated for the rest of your life, then the peer appreciation seems somewhat secondary and you fit the profile of being a clown.