Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE MONTH, the world-renowned monthly series where we direct sophomoric insults and, occasionally, pointed commentary at those sports figures most deserving of the smoke. We are but a day removed from Halloween, yet those listed after the jump have been cosplaying as morons far longer than that. The world in which we live is truly a nightmare!
T-5. Sage Steele
We’ve all seen the pull quotes from Sage Steele’s appearance on Jay Cutler’s podcast. She thinks it’s “interesting” that former President Barack Obama is biracial and identifies as Black even though he was raised by his white mom and grandmother while his Black father was “nowhere to be found.” She’s adamant that vaccine mandates are “sick” and “scary,” and completed her trifecta of idiocy by blaming women for the sexual harassment they receive, claiming that females “know what we’re doing when we put certain things on.”
However, we’re going to focus on something else that she said during that interview. She told Cutler that “diversity of thought is the most important than any kind of diversity,” and invited anyone to tell her that she is wrong.
Sage, you’re very wrong.
Diversity in school is more important. Diversity in corporate executive positions is more important. Diversity in grocery store locations is more important. Diversity in the judicial system is more important. Diversity in neighborhoods is more important. Diversity in local, state, and federal government is more important.
These are the ideas that literally cost Americans their lives on a daily basis. That lack of diversity is why kids get shot on street corners in this country every day. It’s why the distribution of wealth is abhorrently unequal. America is in desperate need of diversity in power to address its multi-century systemic inequality, not the “diversity of thought” required to make the baffling claim that you respect Candace Owens for talking out of her ass.
Also, if you feel judged because many people find your opinions problematic, that doesn’t suggest a lack of diversity. That just means when discussing harassment in the workplace, don’t laugh off your experience with it in one breath, only to chastise women in the next for how they dress. That’s a dangerous comment, not a diverse opinion.
T-5. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is not vaccinated, which means that he cannot play home games for the Brooklyn Nets due to New York City’s mandates. And since Irving could only be a part-time player, the Nets have told him not to bother showing up at all until he gets the jab.
Kevin Durant’s urging has not been enough to change Irving’s mind and get him back to basketball.
Nor has being lionized by prominent goofs like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr. been enough to convince Irving that he is on the wrong side of this issue.
Now the Nets have started the season looking mediocre, with James Harden struggling to adapt to the NBA’s crackdown on exaggerated and unnatural shooting motions to draw fouls (it’s a pillar of his game!), and still, there’s no sign Irving will take the necessary and easy step to return to the court.
Instead, anti-vaxxers just keep trumpeting Irving as a hero, rallying around him with methods reminiscent of the Black Lives Matter protests that Irving did support — only, in this case, the protestors don’t get arrested, pepper sprayed, or beaten by the cops, because so many of them are cops. At least for now they are, because the vaccine mandate is going to cost a lot of the worst cops their jobs.
It’s clear from all this. It’s clear from his own abysmal attempts to explain his logic for bypassing the vaccine, and clear from his reckless behavior: Irving only cares about himself.
If he cared about his teammates, or about the people he’s around, or about the community at large, Irving would get the vaccine. But he doesn’t. He cares about being aggrieved. Sometimes, as with the BLM movement, that means Irving is absolutely right. There is, after all, a lot to be righteously angry about. Irving either can’t tell when he’s wrong, can’t admit when he’s wrong, or both.
So, even with every reason to get the vaccine, Irving won’t, because he’s making a stand for the selfish. Which, at least, does make some sense, because Irving has proven himself to be just that: a huge selfish idiot.
4. Cal McNair
If the Cowboys are America’s Team (they’re not, but let’s go with it for this), then Houston clearly wants to be Texas’s team. Which means they have be backward while being bellicose, self-destructive while naive. The Texans have to be cartoonish, with either no self-awareness or far too much.
Cal McNair got caught using an anti-Asian term at a team golf outing, which on the already-overloaded Texans scale is actually probably more orange than blinking red. It’s certainly perfectly on-brand for the team, and for Texas overall, where the shithead fail-son of the original shithead owner turns out to be the same kind of shithead. The whole state is built on a bunch of morons going, “Mah boy!” and “Mah daddy!”
They truly are the Texans, in every sense.
3. Rob Manfred and the Atlanta Braves
In Webster’s dictionary, or at least in Urban Dictionary, there ought to be a picture of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in an Atlanta Braves uniform next to the word “idiot”. The brazen stance Atlanta continues to hold in favor of the “Tomahawk Chop,” which Manfred continues to support, is long past the point of ridiculousness. But the team’s reluctance to drop the chop, and baseball’s unwillingness to pressure them about it, isn’t surprising.
Money is always what gets those in power to pay attention to these matters. And it just so happens that the people with the most power in professional sports are the cartels of wealthy old white dudes who own these teams. As commissioner, Manfred is just the head lackey of team owners, the same way other professional sports commissioners exist to be fixers for their respective leagues.
Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder had stated on the record that the team’s name would never be changed while he owned the franchise. He’d even doubled down on this over the years, and Snyder held this defiant stance until Nike pulled the team’s merchandise and FedEx threatened to pull its sponsorship last summer. When a letter was sent to Snyder on July 2, 2020, the ball was finally rolling, and a name change happened almost immediately.
Like most things in this country, this will come down to money for the Atlanta Baseball Team. Manfred’s weenie ass isn’t willing to do anything in helping the removal of the chop or changing the “Braves” name. Once a major sponsor steps up and threatens to pull out, that’s when this ball will get rolling in the same way the WFT ball did last year.
2. Jon Gruden
Jon Gruden said he “didn’t have a blade of racism in him.”
That’s what he said when an email surfaced in which he described NFL Players Association President DeMaurice Smith as having “lips the size of michellin [sic] tires.”
A blade? It was like a perfectly manicured lawn of racism. A shed of chainsaws in a slasher flick of racism.
Other emails he sent included disparaging women as referees, disparaging the Rams’ decision to draft openly gay prospect Michael Sam, disparaging Roger Goodell for being soft on CTE and player safety, and disparaging the peaceful protests by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid.
Imagine coaching the league’s first openly gay player, Carl Nassib, and being homophobic. Imagine being responsible for the well-being of so many men whose jobs put them at extreme risk of developing CTE. Imagine being racist and taking over the Raiders, who had more Black players than any other team in the league, according to 538. The Raiders’ roster had been as much as 82 percent Black, but by 2021, that number was down to 67 percent.
Gruden resigned in disgrace and is out about $50 million of Mark Davis’ money.
What an idiot.
The Raiders? They’re 2-0 without his racist ass.
1. Urban Meyer
With so many idiots to choose from this month, Urban Meyer might be thanking his lucky stars that his transgressions seem to have been swept under the rug by mounting NFL controversies. Compared to the Gruden email leak and rising demands to see the rest of the WFT investigation, a married man sticking his finger up a 20-something’s butt at a bar looks like child’s play.
But don’t worry, Urban, we didn’t forget about you!
The viral video of the Jaguars’ head coach caught in a compromising position seems like centuries ago — waaaay back in the first week of October — before Jacksonville traveled across the Atlantic to play a team from their same state and gain their single win so far of the season. Anonymous players were already telling the press that Meyer had zero credibility in the locker room and that his coaching methods were not going over too smoothly, and this incident made him the laughingstock of the Jags’ locker room and the general American population.
We’ve already gotten into the many questionable decisions Meyer has made during his first year with the Jaguars, but since this is IDIOT OF THE MONTH, after all, we’ll try to keep it focused on October. Far be it from us to forget that the getting-handsy incident happened right after he didn’t get on the plane back to Jacksonville with the team after their fourth loss in a row. In a later statement, he said that he wanted to spend time with his family. That viral video was shot right after dinner with the grandkids, apparently. The women he was photographed with, incidentally, looked young enough to be his grandkids.
Urban did ride this one out through the NFL news cycle, never devoid of one scandal or another, to some degree of success. But we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have another chuckle at his mishaps.