The best reason for seemingly archaic magazines like Sports Illustrated to exist is to humanize our athletes, to take them off the stat pages and bring them to life through real, vivid prose. (That, these days, runs about 1,100 words.) We can think of no other example than this week's profile of Steelers nutjob Joey Porter.
The public perception of Porter is one of, oh, mental instability, but through SI abbreviated prose, we can see him for who he actually is, in everyday life. Take, for example, his wedding day.
"He showed up late for their wedding in 1999. According to Porter, his best man was being cited for parking illegally on an east Bakersfield street, and the groom-to-be bristled when the officers called for a search of Ross's tricked-out Chevy Impala. One cop ordered Porter to cross the street and keep quiet; predictably, he refused.
"Typical Bakersfield cops, doing what they do — harassing and intimidating," Porter says. "They threw me in handcuffs for asking questions and left me in the back of the police car in 110 heat with the engine turned off. I'd pissed them off so much, they drove me all the way downtown and then let me go. We were so damn mad, we all went back to my house and started drinking." When he finally arrived at his wedding, he says, "we were drunk and almost three hours late. My wife probably thought I wasn't coming."
It is in this way that Porter reveals that he is, ultimately, not so different than you or us. Clearly.
Joey Porter Will Scorn A Bitch [Mr. Irrelevant]