Wednesday was the 15th anniversary of the O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco chase, perhaps the most riveting low-speed pursuit of all time until James Harrison’s fumble return in this year’s Super Bowl. I wonder if someone baked O.J. a cake in jail? (I point this out basically so I can remind everyone that’s where he is right now - in jail. No matter how down or depressed I might get in life, I can now always remind myself of this and smile.)
Of course, someone reminded me that O.J. Simpson spent more time in jail over the double murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman than Donte Stallworth will for his DUI manslaughter conviction - and O.J. was found not guilty. Which, of course, is another reminder of just how screwed up the criminal justice system is, causing me to start grinding my teeth again. But then I think: “O.J.’s in jail, trying to fend off the advances of Stickpin Bubba,” and I start to feel better again.
It’s amazing to me that, in a pre-9/11 world, the question of “where were you when O.J. ran?” was basically my generation’s version of the JFK assassination. How gloriously naive we were back then. I was home on summer break from college, having just returned from playing some basketball with my friends and sitting slack-jawed with my Mom as the whole thing unfolded. Now the whole thing seems like some dated bit of pop trivia - except for when Fred Goldman pops up to remind you that real people died, and he’d really like to see O.J.’s stuff get sold so he can get some of his money.
Matt Millen’s reputation isn’t as far in the gutter as O.J.’s, but after destroying any shred of hope that the Detroit Lions might have had for winning in the next 20 years, it isn’t good. Which makes you wonder how much credibility he’ll have working as an analyst for the NFL Network this season. But don’t worry, Matt: Don Banks from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is here to help, with what I assume was meant to be a puff piece on Millen but turns out to be a master class in unintentional comedy.
First off, Banks’ main premise is that the stage is set for Millen to have a huge comeback - like Richard Nixon. Yeah, Nixon. Not Frank Sinatra or John Travolta or even Anvil, but Richard Nixon. A good rule of thumb: if you are comparing your interview subject to Richard Nixon in any way, you probably aren’t doing yourself any favors. At least he didn’t compare him to Hitler (that only happens in Detroit).
But it turns out that Matt Millen “admits to being something of a Nixon buff.” Of course he is. And much like Tricky Dick, Millen seems to see himself as the perpetual victim:
“I don’t go backwards,” Millen said. “I just don’t think like that. There’s nothing I can do about [Detroit]. All I can do is from here on out. I understand. In Detroit, they need a bad guy. I was a bad guy. I was to blame for the fall of the auto industry and the housing market. Somehow, I had something to do with [Detroit mayor] Kwame Kilpatrick [resigning], although I’m not sure what. But that’s what happens when you lose in this game. You give everyone a cheap and easy story to jump on.”
Right, because your gross incompetence in leading the Lions to the worst eight-year record in modern NFL history was “cheap and easy” and not at all deserved. Come on. I liked Millen a lot as an analyst, but to try and whitewash his awful tenure in Detroit is simply insane. But Banks seems to think that Millen’s career as an executive might not be over:
I’m intrigued with the idea that Millen, in this era of ultra-short attention spans and a 24/7 news cycle, can put his head down, go back to work at the TV and radio gigs he once excelled at, and re-emerge some day soon with a different reputation and image than he engenders today. I not only think it could happen, I’m convinced it will happen.
Don Banks is clearly off of his meds. Just hang tight there, Don: the men with the white jackets will be there soon to take you back to the funny farm. The idea that a team would be stupid enough to let Matt Millen anywhere near their personnel department is nuts. But then again, as long as Cincinnati is still in the league, anything is possible.
Finally, the Day of the Lakers wrapped up in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant appearing on the “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” to discuss winning his fourth NBA title. Nothing earth-shattering happened (no Triumph the Insult Comic Dog coming on to ask about Colorado), but there were a few decent moments. And seriously, Kobe couldn’t be bothered to get out of his tracksuit for the interview?:
More sports news to consider whether it’s OK to laugh at this window washer’s Wile E. Coyote-like tumble as he fell six stories before bouncing off a lower roof since somehow he lived to tell the tale:
- Congratulations to Ivan Rodriguez for breaking Carlton Fisk’s record with his 2,227th game caught on Wednesday night for the Houston Astros as they lost to his old team the Texas Rangers. Fisk was even nice enough to send a congratulatory note, although calling Rodriguez “the other Pudge” seems a bit like a backhanded swipe.
- The Marines have been called to Bethpage Black to help with the U.S. Open. No, they aren’t there to take down anyone who shouts “You Da Man!” on sight (too bad): they are there to help keep track of wayward golfers as they leave the course during practice rounds.
- Are you ready for some Canadian football? A 110-yard party? The CFL exhibition season opened up today, giving Adrian McPherson time to shake the off-season rust. TSN has a season preview, in case your newsstand doesn’t carry the slate of CFL preview magazines.
- In the world of silly PR stunts, Cash4Gold put out a press release offering to melt the Stanley Cup down for the Pittsburgh Penguins if they want some extra money. Don’t let the NHL get wind of this idea: they might take it seriously.
- There’s a new fighting style - supposedly gleaned from prison brawls and street fights - called “52 Blocks” that is on the verge of becoming the next big thing in martial arts. Here’s a training video from one of the guys mentioned in the NEW YORK TIMES story:
- Arkansas used a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning to send their College World Series elimination game against Virginia to extra innings, and then won it with a double in the 12th. Their reward? A date with unbeaten LSU.
- Your latest contender for Mugshot of the Year: George Dirgo, who was arrested for allegedly threatening a high school football player in Arizona. 1989 called and it wants its hair back:
- An update on former Yankee and world class sleaze Mel Hall: after being convicted of the sexual assault of a 12-year-old, he’s now been sentenced to 45 years in prison, ending what a prosecutor called a “reign of terror.”
- The New York Giants will now be taking “Timex Timeouts” as part of a $35 million sponsorship deal signed in the off-season. Also on tap: Timex logos on their practice jerseys.
- Finally, some pretty cool news for all you tech geeks: MLB will soon be streaming games to iPhones through their “At-Bat” application.