IDIOT OF THE MONTH: Everything is on fire

IDIOT OF THE MONTH: Everything is on fire

Herschel Walker appears (again), Vince McMahon is out, and much more

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Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE MONTH, in which we start to worry that Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker might actually win. It’s a terrifying prospect, especially given that his strategy at the moment consists of “avoiding actual debate at all costs” in addition to his old standby, “say lots of really dumb shit.” It’s the latter strategy that works excruciatingly well in American politics. But, hey, at least he’ll have more opportunities to end up on this list each month. Oh, and Vince McMahon is gone!

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5. Herschel Walker

5. Herschel Walker

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Herschel Walker has exhibited a 360-degree incomprehension of campaign issues since declaring his candidacy for the Georgia Senate race. Despite his ignorance, or perhaps aided by it in the modern GOP, Walker’s name recognition has propelled him into a two-way race in the general election with Senator Raphael Warnock. Walker avoided debates in a scrimmage against his primary opponents and won 68 percent of the vote in the Republican primary as voters ate up his vacuous schtick. Walker becoming unpopular in the state of Georgia is probably an out-of-body experience. As the general election nears, Walker has continued to duck debates against Warnock as well.

When Walker was recently asked by Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade why he wouldn’t commit to a debate against Warnock during an interview in a diner packed with white boomers, he emitted noises that could be perceived as a cogent excuse if you operate on his frequency.

“First of all, Sen. Warnock has nothing else to talk about,” Walker told Kilmeade, who was slobbering over his words like a golden retriever. “I’ve told him many times, I’m ready to debate him anytime, any day, I just want to make it for the fans, not about a political party or some media or about some media and all he’s doing is talking.”

If Warnock has nothing to talk about, then Walker should be eager to contrast himself against a shrinking violet incumbent. Walker also seems to think fandom is central to winning Warnock’s seat, which makes sense. He’s stuck to playing talking-point remixes to his base and staking extreme positions on abortion. Hilariously, Walker ends his thought by opining that all Warnock does is talk. The words rumbling out of Walker’s mouth have no meaning, which is the problem.

Over here, in reality, the truth is that Walker has been derping his way through the campaign. Avoiding Warnock might be the smartest thing he’s done during his entire campaign. Walker has twisted his own brain into a pretzel moonlighting as a political dilettante. His campaign staff doesn’t need Warnock throwing more gears into the gears of Walker’s mental engine. It’s a game of expectations and Walker has lowered them to subterranean levels, which will make it easier for him to surpass those expectations if he musters up the courage for a debate.

When contrasted against Warnock for an extended period of time, Walker’s performance might make robot Kelly Loeffler sound like Margaret Thatcher. Warnock is a reverend and Morehouse Man. Conversely, if Walker’s forced to discuss policy alone during a debate, Warnock might have Walker feeling worse than Papa Doc after B-Rabbit revealed he attended a private school.

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4. Anonymous Lamar Jackson-Hating Defensive Coordinator

4. Anonymous Lamar Jackson-Hating Defensive Coordinator

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Gotta love the strength of saying quiet parts out loud through anonymous statements to show the NFL’s racism. The same bravado of keyboard warriors creating unnecessary drama is truly baffling. Why the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray take unprovoked cheap shots off the field that Josh Allen and Justin Herbert don’t is literally and figuratively black and white, when ebony and ivory should live together in perfect harmony.

Making arbitrary lists ranking the NFL’s quarterbacks is moronic by itself, with The Athletic’s Mike Sando not being the exception in a recent piece. The problem is this story devolves into chaos quickly by factoring in the opinions of 50 people. The secret identities of this group include six general managers, eight head coaches, 10 talent evaluators, 12 coordinators, six quarterback coaches, and seven executives. And all their critiques seemed to move the goalposts based on race.

For example, Patrick Mahomes is ranked No. 2. But his description isn’t so flawlessly flattering. “We love Mahomes because of his unorthodox throws, not because of his natural pocket presence,” one weird opinion stated. “And when that disappears, that is when they lose games. I don’t think that is a 1. I think that is a 2. Nothing against the guy. I love the kid. But take his first read away and what does he do? He runs, he scrambles and he plays streetball.” That word-vomit may induce actual puking for how dumb it is.

Let’s not mention Jackson and Murray being ranked Nos. 10 and 13 on the list, respectively, with Dak Prescott and Derek Carr in between. You’re telling me that Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins are only one and two spots respectively behind Murray? Ok, buddy. Glad to know the list lost any legitimacy it had left. But the takes on the Ravens and Cardinals starters tank this thing even worse.

“I think he is a wide receiver mentality playing quarterback,” an evaluator somehow surmised of Murray. “… Things have to be a certain type of way for him to have success. Being more of a loner or introvert at that position is tough.” It’s consistently blasphemous when one talks without accountability about Jackson: “He’ll be a 1 as a football player, but not as a quarterback. So many games come down to two-minute, and that is why they have a hard time advancing even when they are good on defense.”

The identity of that defensive coordinator who spoke about Jackson isn’t clear, but it rings like a certain guy who likened the Capitol insurrection to a “dustup” and actually hasn’t actually played against Jackson that much. I get that this is how many in the NFL talk behind closed doors. To see it printed is startling. The difference between the quarterback evaluations of Black passers compared to their white counterparts is slanted, no matter how it was intended.

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3. Andrew Wiggins

3. Andrew Wiggins

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In the last 12 months, Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has been named an NBA All-Star, served as a reliable No. 2 to Steph Curry, gone on an incredible playoff run, solidifying himself as a valuable asset for any team moving forward, earned himself a massive contract when he becomes a free agent following next season, and become an NBA champion. After a career of being labeled an underachiever in Minnesota, Wiggins shut his haters down. Is there any way this year could’ve been even better for him?

Huh? So, you’re telling me that Wiggins regrets getting a shot...a shot that allowed him to become an All-Star, earn massive respect from around the league, and win an NBA title? Make it make sense. Wiggins claims in the video that he “didn’t like that it was either get this or don’t play.” Well, Mr. Wiggins, in reality, it’s more than just “get this or don’t play.” It’s “get this, or don’t come back to the country you were born in.” It’s “get this, or keep putting people at risk.” It’s “get this, or miss out on the opportunity to earn millions of dollars.” How dreadful!

In case you didn’t realize, nothing happened to you. All the risks that you were presumably worried you’d be incurring by getting the vaccine didn’t happen. You were fine all year. In fact, you were arguably better than you’ve ever been before. Yet you regret getting the thing that let you play consistently? You regret not getting torn apart online by Golden State Warriors fans every time you’d have to sit out a game for lack of vaccination? It makes zero sense. You’re in good health and in a position to make much more money following the 2023 season all because you opted to get a shot that fights a deadly virus. But boo hoo, you kind of didn’t want to. We’ll be sure to play several sad songs for you on our microscopic violin.

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2. Jim Harbaugh

2. Jim Harbaugh

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Jim Harbaugh is ready to open up a daycare at the Michigan athletic facilities. Last week, he was the keynote speaker at a Plymouth Right to Life event, and said that “I believe in having the courage to let the unborn be born.” Great, glad that you believe in that courage, Jim, as someone who will never have to carry a baby to term or give birth or take on any of the medical risks related to reproduction.

Perhaps it wouldn’t have been as inflammatory if we weren’t operating under the context of millions of American women getting their reproductive rights ripped from them in the past month. That’s nice that he respects both sides and wants to have a discussion, but placing himself in the center of that discussion at a time like this is, to put it accurately, idiotic.

The anti-choice head coach has now offered to raise the children of any Michigan football player who gets a woman pregnant, saying, “we’ve got a big house.” (No, not that Big House). Again, very nice that you have the resources to do so, but that comment makes him feel more out of touch than ever — even more so than when he told his players not to eat chicken because it’s a “nervous bird.” Also, as several before us have pointed out, there are currently over 10,000 kids in the foster system in the state of Michigan. Why wait for a player to knock someone up, Jim?

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1. Vince McMahon

1. Vince McMahon

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The problem with these monthly idiot awards is that rarely does anything happen to these clods when they fuck up badly. Herschel Walker may get this award named after him one day, and he’ll still probably be elected a goddamn senator because he played foo’baw for the Dawgs. Rob Manfred still gets paid an ungodly sum because he hates baseball so much, as his real job of making as much as he can for every owner is still his real strength.

You can’t get any dumber than Vince McMahon has been. Or more evil. People have died because of Vince. Lives have been ruined. Even more have been greatly altered. But he’ll “retire” a billionaire, and it’s fair to wonder if his company or even his name will be tarnished a few years down the line. He’ll probably just be referred to as the creator of the industry, not the guy who used company money to keep a host of women quiet about illicit relationships or alleged rapes.

The details since his retirement haven’t made things any better. The fact that he couldn’t actually remember what had run before, which is why there were so many of the same matches on TV. Or that he talked to people around him in a way he would never let be on TV, dropping epithets and insults like they simply spilled out of a glass. And yet there wasn’t anyone around to tell him any different, he was that insulated and powerful. One can’t help but picture Homelander just behind the curtain at this point.

As I said before, it is fitting that attaining such power kept Vince from learning anything or thinking anything he was doing was wrong, even if he couldn’t remember most of it. That anything would go, simply because it was him who was doing it. Easy parallel with anyone screaming “America is the greatest country in the world!”

Vince jumped before he got pushed, which is seemingly how this always goes. It’s the one non-idiotic thing he’s done in years and years.

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