Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE MONTH! The year is almost over, mercifully. Here are some people who stood out in November for doing dumb things.
2 / 7
5. Kelly Stafford
5. Kelly Stafford
It’s always good to see people learn from their transgressions, but even with that, when a public figure does something outrageous, sometimes ya just gotta hit ’em with a place on IDIOT OF THE MONTH. Kelly Stafford certainly earned her nomination when she hurled her pretzel at a fan as her husband, Matthew Stafford, and the Rams put a 31-10 scraping on the 49ers in Santa Clara.
Kelly acknowledged her poor decision-making on her podcast and gave a halfhearted “apology” at best.
“I’m human, I make mistakes, and I own up to them, I don’t fucking hide from them, that’s not me,” Kelly said on her podcast, The Morning After.
“I’ve always been taught, I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I do stuff probably in a hot second, but I also realize in a hot second, not the best, and I go up and I apologize.”
Take Stafford’s apology however you like. One thing that has come from “pretzelgate” is that Kelly will no longer be attending Rams away games at her husband’s request. Ultimately these actions reflect upon him, since she is his significant other.
Sure, this wasn’t the worst thing we’ve ever seen in an NFL stadium, but as a public figure (and being related to one), you’ve got to know that cameras are everywhere. Anything you say or do publicly is going to be archived and released to the masses immediately. I know it’s tough to keep emotions in check, but you can’t be out here trying to start food fights in stadiums. Knowing how crazy fans can be, I’m sure some have crossed the line with Kelly verbally as well, but it’s always just best to walk away. Reacting never helps in the long run, trust me. But we’ll see how long she can stay away from road games over the last part of this season.
When the playoffs roll around, I’d be shocked to not see Kelly seated somewhere in an opposing team’s stadium since it seems like the Rams won’t be playing too many games in Los Angeles come late January.
3 / 7
4. Thomas Bach
4. Thomas Bach
It’s no surprise that the International Olympic Committee, and specifically the president of said detritus of an organization, are the most naked about what they are. They have the most area to cover, and the most things to deal with, and they’ll tell you they have the highest ideals while also being the quickest to sell out those ideas for a fin. Or to actually sell those ideas.
Thomas Bach couldn’t wait to do what the Chinese government told him, because they just happen to be hosting the next Olympics and are one of the few places that will happily run over their own people to host the damn things. That list dwindles all the time, being basically down to dictatorships that don’t have to answer to anyone (U.S. included).
So there was Bach, video chatting with Peng Shuai in a PR stunt that basically told us nothing, who was happy to report that everything was fine, much like Frank Drebin in front of the exploding house. “Nothing to see here!” We know the IOC is full of shit, and Bach no less so, but with behemoths like the IOC it doesn’t matter. They’re insulated. They’ll parrot whatever propaganda they’re fed to keep the monster moving, and then be surprised it didn’t work given the piousness they’ve fed themselves. If they even know, which they don’t have to, because the money waterfall from the Games will continue to roll on.
4 / 7
3. Trevor Bauer
3. Trevor Bauer
The relative silence coming from alleged rapist and batterer Trevor Bauer lately might lead you to believe that Bauer, after missing half a season of baseball due to the allegations against him, has taken some time away to reflect — if not on the crimes he’s allegedly committed, then the way he treats women in general. Alas, we don’t award people the monthly Trevor Bauer Idiot Trophy for nothing.
Instead of being grateful that his absence, and the presence of bigger fish to fry (hello Omicron and generational racism), had made most of America forget about Bauer and the horrific allegations against him — from not one, but two different women with remarkably similar tales of encounters with the disgraced Dodgers pitcher. But Bauer decided now was a good time to weigh in on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Because if there’s one person we needed to hear from on the issue of the white supremacy baked into our legal system, it was a rich white guy with a persecution complex. Behold:
Like everything else in life, the Rittenhouse verdict was of course all about Trevor Bauer, who seems to not have a great grasp on how the criminal justice system works or the difference between “not guilty” and something not being true. No one is actually debating whether or not Rittenhouse killed two people, but farbeit for facts and logic to prevent Bauer from adding his two cents to any conversation. Blame all those puff pieces that called him “quirky” and “interesting” instead of the moron that he is.
Oh, and he and his #GirlBoss agent, Rachel Luba (who keeps trying to parlay representing two men accused of sexual assault into being a badass feminist) also wants credit for Max Scherzer’s deal.
See you next month, Trev.
5 / 7
2. NFL Referees
2. NFL Referees
The NBA was absolutely correct this offseason. James Harden doesn’t need to shoot 11 free throws per game. We don’t watch to see if Scott Foster is going to call a foul when Harden backs up into a defender he already dribbled past. Unlike the financial industry, sports need less regulation, not more.
Unfortunately, the NFL has decided the opposite is true. It has decided that the Hamburglar shirts need to be more a part of a show in which games are frequently decided by which team has less people in concussion protocol and air casts. If that isn’t arbitrary enough, NFL referees have decided to stick their beaks into situations where they don’t belong and are costing teams games.
Penalties have to be called, but the point of the rules are for safety and competitive balance. However, if we’re going to have people instead of robots referee games:
- Exercise some judgement. They’re selective on when they call holding on the offensive line, use that logic elsewhere
- Don’t make several ghastly calls in the same game
There were 28 penalties called in the Dallas Cowboys-Las Vegas Raiders Thanksgiving game, 14 on each team, and four on Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown. On that final pass interference penalty, it could be argued that Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones made enough contact to prevent Brown from turning his head to look for the ball and not faceguard. A play with that type of mutual contact is not a tie goes to the runner situation on 3rd and 18 in overtime. Those are the types of calls that decide games, and the referees need to stop making them.
The most egregious display of that is the Chicago Bears’ Monday Night Football loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. There was the touchdown pass that was taken away because Bears guard James Daniels got called for a low block on play where he didn’t make contact with anyone. There was also a roughing the passer called in defense of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and a play with much more egregious contact after the pass went uncalled for Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Then, possibly the most legendary taunting penalty of all time. Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh causes a 4th and 15 with a sack, and celebrates. He then receives a taunting flag for taunting… absolutely no one. There is no one near him, how else would he have space for a spinning roundhouse kick, straight out of a martial arts movie. This is taunting — on Thanksgiving New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata puts his facemask in Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s ear hole to talk trash while in front of a referee, and no flag.
These are just a handful of examples, we won’t even get to the phantom helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill or some questionable pass interference calls when the Indianapolis Colts took on the NFL’s favorite son, Tom Brady. The NFL even going in the complete opposite direction of the NBA on rewarding players who cause contact, and allowing receivers to draw penalties by running into defensive backs on underthrown balls.
This is the most wide open NFL season in a long time. We should spend Thursday-Monday enjoying the NFL, instead of wanting to roundhouse kick a referee Chuck Norris/Cassius Marsh style. NFL, you’re already following the NBA’s lead in making symbolic gestures against racism, why not follow their lead in something that will at least make the product better?
6 / 7
1. Aaron Rodgers
1. Aaron Rodgers
We had the great privilege of covering Aaron Rodgers throughout this past month — and what a ride he has taken us all on. If nothing else, we can appreciate some truly incredible content. To take you back to where it all began, it came out that Rodgers had lied to the media about his vaccination status (we can debate semantics all you want, but come on now), and instead of making a half-hearted apology and just riding out the 24-hour news cycle, Rodgers decided it was time to — unprompted, mind you — double down on his insane anti-vaxx rhetoric and go on a half-hour rant about cancel culture, doing his own research, NFL protocols, Martin Luther King, Jr., and everything in between. What a day that was, especially when it turned out that he had not, in fact, been following several public-facing protocols for unvaccinated players because he deemed them stupid and unnecessary.
After laying himself down at the altar of alternative medicine, Rodgers sat out for the allotted amount of time and returned to the field, only to sustain a toe injury and have a joke about COVID toe misinterpreted (don’t quit your day job, Aaron) which — again, unprompted — drove him to show his bare foot up close on a press conference camera to prove to the media that it was simply a fracture. Really a banner month for the Green Bay QB, in what might be an all-time attempt at winning IDIOT OF THE MONTH. He really tested the bounds of how much idiocy you can fit into a 30-day period. Gotta hand it to him.
7 / 7