Among big-time athletes, the least excusable sin is stupidity. Balls get dropped, old guys lose sprints to the sticks, babies get kissed, but fans forgive and forget if the effort’s there. When it comes to donning the stupid helmet like Kelso, though, wounds don’t heal.
Three recent examples:
*Rashard Mendenhall was nailed to the Steelers’ bench Sunday because HE DOESN’T KNOW THE PLAYS. That’s the basis of Mendenhall’s job. If you haven’t memorized your section of the playbook after 17 months, you’re lazy, illiterate, drug-addled or just plain stupid. Mendenhall was once robbed at gunpoint. The perps either stole his brain or playbook, possibly both.
*Santonio Holmes didn’t read blitz, didn’t break his route properly and Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick-six. This is Holmes’ fourth NFL season. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP. He can’t be asleep at the wheel. Hines Ward is a career overachiever partly because he always thinks. Between this and multiple drops, you wonder what Holmes is thinking, if he’s thinking at all, or if he’s stoned.
*Pitt QB Bill Stull, while under pressure at North Carolina State, threw a ball out of the end zone. Sometimes this isn’t a bad move. But it’s always a bad move ON FOURTH DOWN. I’m convinced Stull panicked, forgot what down it was, and threw the pass away. You’ve got to at least put the ball in play. That wasn’t anywhere close. Stull won’t play in the NFL like Mendenhall and Holmes. But Mt. Lebanon’s Most Wanted might star in a remake of “Simple Jack.”
Even more offensive than being moronical is treating the general public like they’re moronical. Which they are, but I digress.
*MLB commissioner Bud Selig says the Pirates don’t put profit over winning. Yo, Bud…do you think we’re idiots? Every year the Pirates get huge revenue-sharing, luxury-tax and TV cash. Every year they slash payroll. Every year they lose. Evidence strongly suggests the Pirates DO put profit over winning. Selig presents ZERO evidence to the contrary, yet still spouts nonsense. The Pirates got $40 milliion in revenue sharing last year. Their payroll right now is $20m. Like Jethro Bodine, I can do sixth-grade math. I can add and subtract.
*Then there’s Pirates manager John Russell. Zach Duke was one out away from a complete-game victory at the Bucs’ final home game, but Russell yanked him. Russell said he wanted to milk an ovation for Duke from the 15-20 fans present, and he wanted to get reliever Donnie Veal some work. But the “crowd” lustily booed Duke’s removal and Veal threw exactly three pitches. The Pirates have so few nice moments, and Russell ruined one.
Rashard Mendenhall (swear to God) is said to write poetry in his spare time. In tribute, I offer a poem of my own:
I am the Super Genius
And yes, that means a lot
For while I cannot prove I am
You can’t prove I’m not
Nor can you prove that I stole that poem from The Genius, Lanny Poffo, unless you have WWE videotapes from 20 years ago.
My advice to Mendenhall: Less poems, more playbook.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p,m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).