AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
Poor Vince Carter. Even though he wasn't specifically outed as a semi-flaming bisexual, there was enough of a not-so-blind item implication that the forward is a man who likes to possibly ride the dirty turkey highway ever now and again. (Sorry Vince, I searched for photos of Mikki Moore with Tyson Beckford but couldn't find any.)
But plenty of people are victims of rumors. This girl I went to junior high with had this awful, awful story spread about her taking it doggy style on somebody's parents bed while she painted her nails and, er, making a mess of the comforter. This was in 1988 in the Bucks County suburbs, so it was somewhat scandalous. Poor girl spent the majority of her freshman year of high school with the nickname "Pooper," which, you know, is not very flattering. Years later the truth came out, and it turned out the girl was just actually painting her nails in provocative position on the bed. Kids.
But rumors about high profile athletes are inevitable and, thanks to the internet, can be tossed out there without any credibility or shards of truth. But they still become so rampant that it'll inevitably result in an awkward press conference that just makes the person even look more foolish. (See: Piazza, Mike).
So, I'll extend a heartfelt welcome, Vince, to the world of Poopers and Piazzas. You won't be the last. And that's why on this week's Cultural Oddsmaker, I'm laying odds on the next sports figures to victimized by such carelessness. Mmmhmm.
Paint your nails with me, after this jump.
Rex Grossman's A Transsexual: 2/1
Wow, raise your hand if Grossman screwed up your fantasy team four times this year? Thank you. So, not only does Grossman have the entire Midwest muttering about Brian Griese, but there's about a million foolish Fantasy Footballers who got duped into thinking this guy was an easy 20 points every weekend only to end up with -12. Given that, don't be surprised if rumors about him growing up as a small girl in Bloomington, Ind. named "Rita" start to trickle out in the next few weeks. Have you seen his hands? They're the size of kitten paws.
Samuel Dalembert Practices Voodoo: 7/1
The 76ers' mercurial big man is one of the only NBA players born in Haiti. And those in Philly know that this guy had these mysterious injuries his first two years that had him sitting on the bench in an ill-fitting suit, seemingly destined for a Sharone Wright/Christian Welp-like career. But, he bounced back. Thanks, of course, to sacrificing a goat in the middle of the locker room. Soon after, the goat's carcass mysteriously disappeared, reportedly stolen by Pat Croce's brother.
Pedro Martinez Killed A Midget: 5/1
Sure, he was thimble-sized and probably lived longer than he was supposed to, but tiny Nelson de la Rosa's death last October should be investigated. At that time, de la Rosa and Pedro had a pretty heavy falling out without accusations of "exploitation" and some such being thrown around. Then, the little guy up and dies from "heart failure" when, in fact, it was more likely the Dominican temper of a pitcher who didn't like getting badmouthed in the papers by a dwarf.
Joe Paterno Has Been Dead For Four Months: 25/1
Such a beloved coach, the PSU alumni association knows that appearances mean everything, and they need to maintain interest in the program this season before finding a significant replacement for Paterno. Hence, they've known that Paterno's been dead from dysentery after he crapped himself during the Ohio State game. But, they've been doing this "Weekend at Bernie's"-style cover up ever since. Honestly, what other 95-year-old man could survive being cracked in the knees by a lineman and not die? Not a one. That's because, since October, Joe Paterno's been a giant expensive puppet built by one of Jim Henson's sons.
Jose Uribe Killed in Car Crash: 40/1
Please. Not falling for that one again!