Welcome to our new weekly feature, Fireside Chats with FauxPa. As you can see, FauxPa bears a striking resemblance to a certain college football coach from a team with the word “State” in their name. We assure you that this is all completely coincidental.
Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there, on account of my eyeglasses have not been changed in the last 40 years. I don’t know what’s up and what’s down anymore. I tell ya. Secretary! Secretary, if you’re there, and don’t bother saying yes or no because you know I can’t hear a damned thing. I can sense vibrations, like an animal on the prairie. That’s about it.
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?:
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.
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.
Haven’t we all bought into the wonderful concept that is cyber monday? Yes, this is the day you and I surf the web from our claustrocubes, searching out the best holiday gift deals that the web has to offer. Fun!
Former USC tailback Anthony Davis’ supposed bleak financial condition is well-known here in Southern California. Davis has been so desperate for attention in the past that he agreed to have his gastric bypass surgery televised. So there Davis was last Saturday, set up at a tailgate area before the USC-UW game, selling his autograph for $10.
(Can’t we save the long knives for another former USC tailback?)
Lucky for Davis that T.J. Simers of the LOS ANGELES TIMES also happened to be there, ready to drop the hammer on his dastardly activities.
When Simers asked Davis, “is it really cool to charge for your autograph?”, everything would’ve been fine is A.D. had just answered, “Hell yeah! Mind your own damn business.”
While the more spiritual among us see the recent O.J. Simpson guilty verdict as just the universe’s way of righting a past wrong, the fact remains that O.J. would still be a free man if he just didn’t have to have that memorabilia of his back. So it’s kind of interesting to finally get the list of exactly what the memorabilia was.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL does the legwork on this one, obtaining the court documents for the viewing pleasure of the O.J.-hating public. So come on, my friends. Let’s all print out the list, meet at the water cooler, and laugh at The Juice, who is no longer on the loose.
The complete list of sports memorabilia, after the jump.
TMZ is reporting that one of their “news gatherers” happened upon the above Michael Vick-featured promotion yesterday while ordering a Happy Meal. And while the promotion is from 2004 - it’s not like they started a whole new campaign after Vick was convicted - it is a bit off-putting. It’s kind of like walking into a Hertz and still seeing an old cutout of O.J. Simpson giving the thumbs up; you’d probably want to take your business elsewhere.
In 1995, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson & friend Ronald Goldman. Exactly 13 years later, the Juice has finally been found guilty of something.
(Hark! Who’ll look for Nicole’s killer now?)
The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Simpson has been found guilty on all 12 counts for his role in an armed robbery of sports memorabilia sellers in a Las Vegas hotel room last year. The verdict was announced late Friday night - as not to interrupt the Red Sox’s exciting Game 2 win over the Angels, we suppose.
So, what awaits O.J. now? A slap on the wrist? 200 hours of community service as a casino greeter? Well, it could be a lot more than that:
Say what you will about memorabilia collector Tom Riccio but the guy definitely is making a killingoff his pal O.J. Simpson.
Riccio, who has used already used his “fame” gained from recording Simpson stealing memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room to publish a book and thoroughly whore himself out to the media, has come up with another way to cash in on the incident.
Norm Clarke, easily the best eye-patch wearing journalist in the business, of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL reports that Riccio will be a “walking, talking sponsorship opportunity during the O.J. trial, which starts September 8.”