Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE MONTH, where we laugh at people and organizations around the sports world because otherwise we would cry. An honorable mention for March goes out to none other than You, the reader! That’s right — You, most dearest sports media consumer, honestly believed your March Madness bracket picks were solid this year. Well that went out the window real quick, huh? Enjoy this consolation prize.
5. Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell was at it again with another horrible, outdated and disgusting take. A few weeks ago, a Buick commercial featuring Arike Ogunbowale’s national-championship-winning buzzer-beater for Notre Dame in 2018 triggered him to the point where he hit rewind on his television. He tried to line up his phone to record the ad, mentioning how uncomfortable he was with the fact that about 40 percent of women are athletes, but get less than 10 percent of media coverage.
You can see Rovell holding his phone with one hand while the commercial plays through the reflection on the television. What a sad use of time and a poor showing, adding to a growing list of shortcomings, for Rovell. He’s called Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette dumb because of their Wonderlic scores, told someone their recently deceased father’s baseball card collection was shitty and laughed at SEC football fans for being fat.
As it pertains to women’s sports and specifically college basketball, it was the perfect time for Rovell to try to incorrectly and grossly degrade women’s sports because in his head, it was a day of the week that ended in Y. It was about as well executed as his 4.04-second 20-yard dash.
“Women get less coverage during March Madness because there’s less madness, fewer upsets and the bracket is predictable,” Rovell yelled at digital clouds. “That’s all. It’s not the same product.” Oh, but it is the same product, conveniently. This was the first year the March Madness moniker wasn’t exclusive to the men’s tournament. The women got to use it too. But back to Rovell’s goalpost-moving incorrect statement about women’s college basketball.
There was no Saint Peter’s as a No. 15 seed to the Elite Eight, but how about No. 10 seed South Dakota taking down national-championship contender Baylor in Waco? Or fellow No. 10 seed Creightion taking down Iowa and Iowa State in consecutive games to reach the Elite Eight? Yes, the dominance from UConn, South Carolina and others at the top of the polls has made the boat race to a national championship tougher for everyone else. There have also been no repeat champions since the 2016 tournament, something the men can’t say because of Villanova.
Did he wipe his gross ass after taking an unsolicited crap on women’s basketball for no reason? Just say you’re not personally interested and move on. Actually, don’t hit send on that tweet. It was better rejected before wasting everyone’s time with your putrid view of women’s sports. Just enjoy March Madness like everyone else. There are plenty of options to watch the games you choose. No reason to talk down on players and coaches who likely don’t care about your opinion of them, but will be affected by your actions.
4. The Hue Jackson Foundation
Hue Jackson is both a real-life Mr. Magoo and one of the most unscrupulous figures in the sports world. In the last five years, Jackson has coached himself out of the NFL, due in part to his underdeveloped leadership ability. Then, he turned around and sullied his reputation by becoming one of the most despised figures in college football before he could even coach his first spring practice.
Jackson’s attempt to justify hiring Art Briles as Grambling State’s offensive coordinator was a bumbling mess. Worst of all, the statement he released to defend Briles amid public fury and opposition from its most prominent alumni placed him into legal hot water.
On Feb. 28, Jackson released a letter through his foundation touting the Jackson hire, prompting ESPN’s Dan Murphy to do digging into its structure and uncovered a potential tax evasion scheme.
It’s not clear whether Murphy has uncovered actual illegality within the Hue Jackson Foundation or just the appearance of it. However, something fishy is definitely going on with the Hue Jackson Foundation. Later that day Briles announced his resignation, but the genie can’t be stuffed in the bottle.
This is also the same foundation that posted a series of tweets alleging Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam paid Jackson a bonus to lose games, only for him to walk it back days later.
We’ve seen how Mr. Mag-Hue runs organizations he’s placed in charge of. He went 1-31 as the Browns’ head coach, but we didn’t place too much of the blame on him because that was the Browns’ status quo. He’s already struggling as CEO of a college football program. Is he incompetent enough to actually tweet his way into an IRS investigation? The answer is “probably.”
3. Urban Meyer
NFL head coaches are supposed to understand the game better than anyone else in the world. They should know the league inside and out. At the very least, they should know who No. 99 on the Los Angeles Rams is. Former Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer couldn’t even do that.
According to a report by Jayson Jenks and Mike Sando of The Athletic, Meyer was unaware who several of the best players around the NFL were, claiming that prior to the team’s Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Meyer has one of his assistants “Who’s this 99 guy on the Rams? I’m hearing he might be a problem for us.” YOU THINK?! He’s only an 8-time Pro Bowler, 7-time 1st team All-Pro, 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, and member of the Hall of Fame’s All-2010's decade team. Yeah! He might be a problem!
It wasn’t just Donald either. According to the report, Meyer didn’t know who All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel or former All-Pro safety Jamal Adams was either. In all fairness, both of those players play in the NFC whereas Meyer’s Jaguars play in the AFC. They are players that Meyer wasn’t going to face very often, but still. Donald, Samuel, and Adams are three of the biggest names in football. If Meyer had watched any film on any of their teams prior to their games, he’d know who each of those players were. Even if he didn’t know who they were at the start of the week, he more than likely should’ve taken the time to study his upcoming opponents and figure out who their best players were before the game. That’s the bare minimum that an NFL head coach should do.
Obviously, Meyer was no stranger to these idiot lists during his tenure with the Jaguars but it takes a whole different breed of stupid to be an NFL head coach who doesn’t know the NFL as much as a casual fan of the league. You don’t even have to watch football to know who these guys are. Your average fantasy football player probably knows who Samuel is after last year. Even if you only casually follow the NFL, you’ve more than likely heard of Donald. Sure, Adams hasn’t been as great in Seattle as he was in New York, but he’s only two years removed from being arguably the best safety in the NFL.
What makes this statement even more startling is the fact that when Meyer was first brought on to be Jacksonville’s head coach, he claimed he “conducted a six-month deep dive on the NFL that included interviews with his former Florida and Ohio State players, as well as a study of the salary cap.” That clearly wasn’t the case. I feel bad for Jacksonville fans. They duped, bamboozled, humiliated, and drug through the dirt throughout 2021. On the bright side, at least Urban Meyer was so bad that the Jaguars once again have the first pick in the NFL draft.
2. Herschel Walker
I guess, in a way, you could argue that Herschel Walker is smart. Or at least someone around him is. There is a very fillable vacuum on the unhinged right of the country, and anyone can fill it as long as they fill in the blanks that Walker does.
He’s still a name to old Georgians, taking on “The Distinguished Gentlemen” corollary that as long as you can get a name on the ballot that people recognize, they’ll vote for it. They’re not going to put any more thought into it than that. Sure, Walker’s Georgia fame is only applicable to old people by this point. But that’s the exact crowd that will lap it up as long as you can put together some combination of the words “trans, CRT (even if you can’t align those letters correctly), faith, Trump, America, and then can hold up a Bible and Heisman trophy, you’re practically halfway to being elected. 70 percent if you’re Black and give your voters a perceived shield against being labeled racist for supporting someone with clearly racist policies too. Any grasping of getting to “own the libs” is chum to this crowd.
All Walker has to do in the Georgia senate race he’s in is remain upright, which he can just about manage. It doesn’t matter that his views on evolution are Carl Everett level of thinking (The “Carl Everett for Congress” campaign is probably one we can all get behind though). Or that he somehow can’t spell “CRT” even though he’s been provided all the letters. None of this really matters. He just has to stand behind a podium, and let some aide program those words above into him like a parrot and then wind him up and let him go until he needs to be rewound 20 minutes later. And when that doesn’t work, just play his Georgia highlights. The people they’re after will clap like seals no matter what. They just need someone to stand there so they know what direction to face when they do. Walker can manage that. For now.
1. Cleveland Browns
Putting out a statement saying that you completed a thorough investigation into your new quarterback does not cover all manner of sins, as the Browns’ leadership quickly learned during Deshaun Watson’s official introductory press conference last week.
It’s not exactly clear what Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski thought was going to happen, but it became evident about two questions into the press conference that telling the public that they were confident in “Deshaun as a person” would not cover up the existing 22 civil lawsuits against the QB for sexual misconduct — and it certainly did not cover up the fact that the franchise did not reach out to a single woman who accused Watson of misconduct. “Extensive and comprehensive” — yeah, right.
Not only did they take on a guy who may face NFL suspension in the next year, they offered him a record-breaking $230 million guaranteed contract, despite the fact that the guy hasn’t played on an NFL field in well over a year. Sure, Baker Mayfield may not have been the answer, but are we sure the answer is a guy who kept saying that he wanted to be “hands-on” in the Cleveland community while answering questions about 22 counts of sexual misconduct?
It’s a bad look all-around for the Browns, which no amount of PR seems to be able to fix at this point.