IDIOT OF THE MONTH: We're surrounded by idiots

IDIOT OF THE MONTH: We're surrounded by idiots

Summer might be ending but the sports world idiocy keeps on going

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“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Football coaches are thought to be bright minds. Clearly, that’s not the case when it comes to some of the “geniuses” manning the sidelines at the college level. But that stupidity is also prevalent in NFL front offices and... players’ parents?

This month’s idiocy couldn’t be contained to just five selections, as we’d be remiss not to include an honorable mention: “Punt God” apologists, Mr. and Mrs. Araiza, who made their case after our distinguished panel of voters turned in their ballots.

Read on to see who August’s top knucklehead was.

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The World Wide Leader

The World Wide Leader

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ESPN and the Little League World Series have a long history of working together to televise the hopes and dreams of children from across the world who aspire to be the next generation of baseball players.

But this month, that relationship landed them on this list for willingly taking part in some racist shit, and then giving us a useless apology for it.

Sunday Night Baseball’s Karl Ravech made light of a flagrantly racist incident by saying “That’s just Little Leaguers being Little Leaguers,” after the worldwide leader showed a Black member of the team having cotton put in his hair by his white teammates.

“We understand the sensitivities and are in touch with Little League organizers about the situation,” ESPN said in a useless statement. That was followed up by an even more pathetic statement from LLWS as a spokesperson wrote that while they believe that the incident “could be perceived as racially insensitive,” they feel assured that “there was no ill-intent behind the action shown during the broadcast.” And according to the team — full of white players — they had “absolutely no ill-intent or racial motivations.”

The non-oppressed love telling the oppressed what’s oppressive, as, in the end, it was yet another example of why baseball has such a low number of African-Americans that play it.

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Scott Frost

Scott Frost

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Here’s the current state of Nebraska football: Head coach Scott Frost, who was sanctioned and suspended for holding illegal practices stemming from the COVID season, recently bragged about practicing his players to the point of vomiting on some sort of macho “We’re the best-conditioned football team” shit right before succumbing late to Northwestern, and getting out-coached by Pat Fitzgerald — AGAIN.

Frost was inducted into the September Idiot of the Month slideshow before going over to Ireland and getting bullied off the field for his second consecutive season opener, but he got lucky he wasn’t THE Idiot of the Month because the embattled (embarrassing?) coach invented another way to lose a game.

Up 28-17 in the third quarter after playing alright football for most of the game, Frost tried his best Sean Payton impression, went for a surprise onside kick, and Charlie Browned his pants. The Wildcats recovered, immediately cut the deficit to 28-24 with a quick score, and then took the lead 31-28 while Texas transfer Casey Thompson fired off a couple of late interceptions to stamp out any hopes of a comeback Huskers fans had while drinking bloody Marys before a wedding with a bunch of college football fans eager for their team to start the season.

Before the year, Frost said his offensive linemen were puking 15 to 20 per practice under new O-line coach Dominic Raiola “not because they’re not in shape — he’s just working them hard.”

“I think they love it,” the Big Red buffoon said. “He’s kind of freed them up to go be aggressive, and I love the way they’re coming off the ball.”

Yet it was Northwestern who was the more physical team, with running backs Evan Hull and Cam Porter rushing for a combined 223 yards and two scores to Nebraska’s 128 yards (110 if you factor in Thompson’s -18) on the ground.

After the game, Northwestern offensive line coach Kurt Anderson hopped on Twitter, and fired off a stray he had been saving for such an occasion.

The idiom is “Work smarter, not harder,” but for the Idiot, it’s just “Work harder.”

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Golfweek Magazine

Golfweek Magazine

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The pithy headline is an essential part of print/online media. Alliteration, irony, double entendres, whatever it takes to get a person’s eyes to focus just long enough to make a decision to read the entire story.

Those who don’t understand this business think that it’s all just clickbait, and sometimes it is. No judgment to any outlets trying to make money in 2022, it’s a business, not a hobby. The best headlines are eye-popping because they’re creative. Maybe a little bit of wordplay to make a reader chuckle and take some time out of their day to finish the story.

A bit of advice though, don’t ever do it the way that the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Golfweek did earlier this month.

Mark Giannotto wrote a lovely story about the FedEx St. Jude Championship. It centers around a woman who was diagnosed with pediatric leukemia and doctors thought that she might not live long enough to graduate high school. She’s now 23 years old, about to get married, and one of the 10 survivors that have FedEx planes named after them that are being honored at the tournament. The story is about how we should focus on them and the golf, and not the players who joined LIV and are suing to get back into the PGA.

Golfweek picked up the story on their site — both outlets are owned by Gannett – but the original headline was: “Controversy is alive and well at FedEx St. Jude Championship, and so are the kids.”

Let this be a lesson that sometimes creativity does need to be restrained. Just because something is clever, does not make it appropriate. It is reasonable to assume that no one involved with that headline wanted to make light of 10 people surviving a horrific disease, but words mean what they mean, not what the person using the words intends for them to mean. That’s how communication works. That headline — which has been changed – compared cancer survivors to professionals attempting to maximize their earnings, and it was approved by multiple members of two different editorial staffs.

No need to get cute. That’s not good.

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Cale Gundy

Cale Gundy

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It’s part of becoming a college football coach to help sculpt young minds, teach them what you’ve learned, and help them do better in the world. While former Oklahoma assistant coach Cale Gundy was likely doing that as a longtime Sooners’ employee, he opened his mouth and said something “racially charged” off a player’s iPad, ruining any goodwill he’s built in four decades in Norman.

And “racially charged” is code for the N-word. Any trigger a normal person’s brain would have to not say the disgustingly insensitive and racist six-letter word, didn’t register with Gundy, who’s coached black players throughout his time at Oklahoma. Although considering he’s Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy’s brother, maybe him blurting inflammatory things — I’M A MAN, I’M 40! — isn’t so shocking?

In the days after saying the N-word in a team meeting, Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables accepted Gundy’s resignation in part because there was no other move to hold him accountable, other than outright firing him. Venables went on to say “He chose to read aloud to his players, not once but multiple times, a racially charged word that is objectionable to everyone, and does not reflect the attitude and values of our university or our football program. This is not acceptable. Period.”

Gundy outed himself, as not a blatant racist with this incident, but as jaded at the very least. Most would steer clear of ever saying one-tenth of actually dropping the N-word, much less doing so multiple times without fear. You have to try really hard to be that clairvoyant. Gundy might not get a job in college coaching again. But as shown through other examples, the ability to purely coach football takes precedence over acting like an imbecile.

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Jimmy Haslam and Cleveland Browns fans

Jimmy Haslam and Cleveland Browns fans

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The Cleveland Browns have been a stain on the league for two decades. However, their previous issues have pertained to them stinking it up in their porta-potty stadium. Trading for Deshaun Watson might be the most prominent spot they’ve left on the NFL carpet. Of course, Watson wouldn’t be there without the approval of Browns owner Jimmy Haslem. Rather than actually hold Watson to the fire, Haslam stroked his ego and made excuses for his quarterback after he was suspended for the first 11 games of 2022.

“Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be a part of society? Does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? That’s what we’re gonna do.

“We strongly believe [Deshaun Watson] deserves a second chance,” the Cleveland Browns owner said last week. “We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and that worked out pretty well.”

Haslem’s excuses included a series of strawman assumptions that attempted to justify handing Watson a contract that was almost fully guaranteed, to mitigate any financial losses Watson would have incurred by being suspended for any portion of the season. There’s also nothing in Watson’s NFL conduct policy that precludes him from being a part of society. Thanks to Haslem he’s a celebrated martyr in the city of Cleveland.

Haslam might be projecting. He knows a little something about being under serious investigation. As the CEO of Pilot Flying J, a Tennessee-based truck stop company, Haslam endured a multi-year FBI investigation into a fraud scheme. Ultimately, 17 former employees plead guilty and the company paid a $92 million fine, but the damage to Haslam’s reputation was done.

A large portion of the fanbase heard Haslam loud and clear. At the Browns’ second preseason game a few days after Watson’s suspension was handed down, a contingent of supporters hoisted signs with derogatory messages aimed at women in support of Watson.

And what exactly is Watson rehabilitating? His image? Watson has never even acknowledged the women he’s hurt substantially. To this day, he claims his innocence while simultaneously apologizing for “all the women [he] has hurt in this situation.”

The NFL’s senior adviser on domestic violence and sexual assault even went on record to opine that any remorse Watson has shown is a charade and that he’s likely to continue offending at some point. “I feel like he’s playing us,” Smith told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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