Here's the headline in today's New York Daily News: "Bret Lockett and Kim Kardashian? NFL star comes clean: ‘I never met Kim, but we sexted'." This is a report following up on In Touch's headline: "Five-month affair with NFL star Bret Lockett behind fiancé's back."
The gist of this story, if you haven't heard AND have a high pain threshold, is that Bret Lockett, who is allegedly an NFL player, claimed to have had an affair with Kim Kardashian. A physical affair. Then he admitted they were just texting and had never met. (Though she denies that too.) He says, really, "She did tell me that she was touching herself in a physical way, over the phone, towards me. So when I say physical, that's what I mean."
Good lord. This is so stupid for a number of reasons, but there's one that ought to stick out to the NYDN's ink-stained copy-editing wretches: No one has heard of Bret Lockett. He is an NFL star like Jeff Broccoli is an NFL star, which is to say, not, because I just made Jeff Broccoli up. It's not that he's a mediocre but well-known player (say, oh, Jeff Reed) or a player who starred in college but hasn't in the NFL (Brady Quinn, maybe). Instead, Bret Lockett (your "NFL star") played 10 games at strong safety for the 2009 Patriots, with seven tackles. Those are his only NFL statistics, the only dent he's made on the league. Vernon Gholston has six times as many career tackles as this guy. And I suppose it's equally damning to note that Lockett went undrafted from UCLA, where he started 12 games in four years.
We suspect the etymology of this "NFL star" thing is similar to the "porn star" bit—every porn actress is referred to as a "porn star," in the media—but the Daily News has sports editors who could correct their colleagues. (Only at Gawker Media do we have a porn staff.) And, yes, it's punchier to say "NFL star" than "NFL player." But what about "NFL scrub?" Just as punchy, far more accurate.