January 31, 2002

Get Your Nuts

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Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and nominees, to the Biggest Nutcases in Sports Awards, held right here in Cleveland Browns Stadium, home of the Dawg Pound. Your host tonight will be none other than Nate Newton, whose probation officer was kind enough to let him be here.

Let’s get right to the action. The envelopes, please…

We’ll start with football, Nate’s sport of choice before he entered the wonderful world of drug smuggling. Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn takes the honors after a season of whining, exaggerating, and not helping the Pats on their road to New Orleans.

Glenn was suspended for four games at the beginning of the season for missing an NFL-mandated drug test. Then Glenn went AWOL after the NFL suspension. Coach Bill Belichick and the team shelved him for the whole season for that shenanigan. But an arbitrator overturned New England’s suspension, and Glenn returned to play in a game. He missed the next six games with a possibly exaggerated knee injury, and then a game after that due to another suspension. The Patriots suspended him for the playoffs due to “multiple unexcused absences,” which sounds like something a high schooler does. So, now that his team is in the Super Bowl without him, Glenn decided to sue the NFL yesterday. What a team player.

Moving on to basketball. We’ll give this year’s award to the master of the perennial outburst, the legendary Bob Knight. New team, same red sweater, same old incidents.

He’s coaching Texas Tech now, after Indiana couldn’t take his antics anymore. While his team puts together a good season, Knight has still lashed out at the media and others surrounding the Red Raiders. Earlier this year, after a Texas Tech win over Houston in the Compaq Center, Knight complained to the media that their locker room would have been cramped “for four midgets.” Then Knight allegedly challenged the Compaq Center’s manager, Jerry McDonald, to a fight. Knight has also stopped talking to a local beat writer, apparently because the writer wrote something displeasing to Knight. He’s 61 years old, and he’s piling up the Nutcase Awards. Way to go, coach.

On to the frozen pond. Marty McSorley hasn’t been heard from in the NHL since he bludgeoned Donald Brashear with his stick, and so we’ll have to give this year’s hockey Nutcase Award to another goon: the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tie Domi.

Domi, whose name is an anagram of “me idiot,” got into an altercation last season with a fan — during a game. I can see this happening in other sports, where the fans and players aren’t separated by much. But in hockey, there’s an eight-foot high barrier between the players and the stands. Domi, who was in his usual place in the penalty box, had heard enough from a Flyers fan who was heckling him. So he turned around and squirted the fan with his water bottle. Next thing you know, the fan was leaning over the glass, falling through the glass, and Domi was giving him a beating right there in the box. Domi described the whole fiasco as “old-time hockey.” Even before this incident, which seemed to come right out of “Slap Shot,” Domi has had his brushes with craziness. He sucker-punched Ulf Samuelsson once and knocked him out cold, and he also has been accused of calling Sandy McCarthy, who is part Native American, various racial slurs. He’s obviously not the best ambassador for the game, and so this Nutcase Award is for you, Mr. Domi.

Rounding out the four major sports is baseball, where this year’s award recipient is Carl Everett, Texas Ranger.

While he was in Boston, Everett was a Rich Garces-sized distraction to the team. His feuds with GM Dan Duquette (who isn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, either) were constantly in the media. Did I mention Everett is a former wife-beater? Serious Nutcase Award points there. The guy also refuses to believe that dinosaurs ever existed, because the Bible doesn’t mention them. Hey Carl, the Bible doesn’t mention the fact that the Red Sox haven’t won a World Series in the past 80 years either, but I bet you believe that. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Everett and his new teammate, John Rocker, to get in some sort of altercation in the Rangers’ clubhouse. The over-under is four weeks into the season.

We can’t forget the rest of the sports world in this show, so we’ll hand out awards in some other athletic endeavors. First off, bowling. Pete Weber, PBA Hall of Famer, can take a Nutcase Award back to the lanes. He’s never been selected as PBA Player of the Year, “a fact that many attribute to his ‘bad boy’ persona,” according to the official PBA web site. He’s been suspended numerous times, most notably for an incident in 2000 when he attacked a fan. Weber was suspended from the pro tour for 10 months.

This next award may well be the weirdest one we give out. In the soccer world, outlandish goal celebrations are common. But this one is just too bizarre. In a game in November, Francisco Gallardo, a midfielder for Spanish team Sevilla, celebrated a goal by teammate Jose Antonio Reyes by — get this — putting his head between Reyes’s legs and biting his genitals. This really happened. I saw a picture and cringed. And apparently, Gallardo considered this act normal. “It was something between friends that I thought would have no importance until this morning when I got up and saw all the commotion in the news,” he said the day after the chomp. While you think about what constitutes “something between friends,” you can take home this Nutcase Award, Francisco.

Of course, we have to save the best (or worst) for last. The boxing award is a complete no-brainer, and we’ll give it to the incomparable Mike Tyson. This guy has a rap sheet longer than Lennox Lewis’s wingspan, and it never stops growing. Let’s see: From juvenile delinquent to wife-beater to convicted rapist to ear biter, and now, he brawls with Lewis at a press conference. In the brawl, he supposedly bit Lewis’s leg. I could write a whole column on Iron Mike’s spotted history, but for now, we’ll let the award speak for itself.

I guess you don’t congratulate these award winners. Some of them are bad people, some of them just aren’t running on all eight cylinders. Some of them have stories that entertain, others have stories that just disappoint. Whatever the case, this concludes this year’s edition of the Nutcase Awards. See you next year.

Archived article by Alex Fineman