By David Mullen
Thanksgiving is the time for sharing a great meal and spicy conversation with friends and family. It is also time for our annual “Turkeys of the Year Awards” in sports. The turkey buffet could be endless, but we will stop at the “raspberrys.”
Conor McGregor. Every time the popular Irish UFC fighter hints that he is going to clean up his act, he gets in more trouble. Maybe he has too much testosterone and not enough Guinness in his 5-foot-8-inch and 154-pound frame. As they say on the Emerald Isle, he’s a “Scaldy.”
Sports stars who take to Twitter. As a rule, Twitter feeds from professional players lead to no good. They tweet almost as often as they end up having to retract. Athletes could learn a thing or two from the U.S. President. Oh, wait a minute …
Athletes who get arrested. This year, the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL in arrests (tied by a late charge from the Arizona Cardinals) with Daniel Ross facing weapons and drug charges in Frisco and Tyrone Crawford settling an unlawful assembly accusation in Florida. A case can be made that Jason Garrett could be charged with impersonating a head coach.
Josh Hamilton. Just months after being inducted to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and giving a speech on how religion had changed his life, Hamilton was arrested on Oct. 30 and charged with felony injury to a child after being accused of physically assaulting his oldest daughter.
Jim Farmer. The first round pick (20th overall) of the Dallas Mavericks in the 1987 NBA draft, Farmer was an unqualified bust. Out of pro basketball since 1994, he was arrested in Tennessee in a sting operation for soliciting sex from an underage female officer, which is considered felony human trafficking.
“Monday Night Football.” How the mighty have fallen. Once a top rated network TV show, ESPN has employed unknowns Joe Tessitore and Anthony “Booger” McFarland to broadcast a tremendously flawed broadcast. According to McFarland, every player is the “best in the league.” Never trust a man named Booger.
Bryce Harper. Upon signing with the Philadelphia Phillies in the offseason after playing his entire career with the Washington Nationals, Harper had an uninspired season with an average team and the Nationals won the World Series. At his press conference to announce his signing with the Phillies, Harper misspoke and said, “I am excited about bringing a championship to Washington.” Turns out, he was right.
Fair weather fans. See “Washington Nationals.”
Agent Scott Boros. Arguably, no single person has led to escalating baseball salaries, with the possible exception of owners who continue to pay exorbitant salaries. Coming off of the lowest season attendance figures since 2003, Boros, who represents Harper, made sure that the rich get richer at all costs. This offseason, he represents ace pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg and star Anthony Rendon. To owners of the chosen few teams who can compete in the free agency, “Open your wallets.”
Myles Garrett. Provoked or not, on Nov. 14 Cleveland Brown and former Texas A&M defensive end Garrett removed his helmet, wound-up and hit Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph on the top of his exposed head on a nationally televised game. It looks like the Oakland Raiders no longer have a lock on dirty players.
Tennis player Daniil Medvedev. Thinking that men’s tennis is missing a bad boy, like John McEnroe, the Russian has committed to going “full villain” as Medvedev puts it. He is obnoxious to the media, yells and curses on the court and slowly waltzes to the net after matches. He needs a civility lesson from women’s tennis, save an occasional outburst from Serena Williams.
Robert Kraft. The New England Patriots owner was caught with his pants down … literally. Kraft was charged twice this year with soliciting a prostitute at a Florida massage parlor. Not surprisingly, the NFL has yet to take action.
The Houston Astros. They had already been guilty of tampering with other teams’ data. They fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after a joint investigation with MLB that he made insensitive comments in front of female reporters. They couldn’t win a home game in the World Series. They fired Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan from the front office and demoted his son Reid Ryan. Now, Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers said when he was with the Astros, the team used a camera to steal opposing catchers’ signs.
Fiers. Nobody likes a rat.
And the “2019 Turkey of the Year Award” goes to Antonio Brown. No player gained more headlines for doing less this season. Disgruntled with his original Steelers team, the talented wide receiver was traded to the Raiders and signed a contract in excess of $50 million. He was a total disruption in training camp. Brown never played a down with the Silver and Black, suffering from frostbite on his feet caused by not wearing the proper slippers during a cryotherapy session in Paris, complained about his new helmet design and had a loud confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock. The Raiders released Brown and he was immediately picked up by the Patriots. He played in one game, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in a 43–0 rout of the lowly Miami Dolphins. When allegations of sexual assault surfaced, Brown was released by New England. He has made a reported $83 million playing football. Prior to a meeting with NFL brass, he said he would never play in the NFL again. He hasn’t. Good riddance. Have a “Happy Thanksgiving” and tell Uncle Bill to stay out of the cooking sherry.