What would happen if every current or former athlete, head coach, general manager and commissioner were given the most potent truth serum known to man for just one day. Imagine how cool that would be for the ever-probing sports media and curious fans alike?
We, as a law-abiding nation (excluding the city of New Orleans of late), still governed by a Constitution founded on freedom of speech, are rarely treated to good old-fashioned, straight-from-the-heart, honest opinions and bias-free dialogue.
Our governmental and political leaders in Washington and on Capitol Hill engage in double-talk, partisan propaganda, agenda-leaning diatribes and fluff-filled filibusters that have little to no semblance of truth. You’re left wondering, what did he or she just say?
Business leaders and corporate executives proved adept at playing on the fringes of the facts before and well after the financial meltdown and Great Recession of 2008.
Even the fourth estate, my beloved media and journalists, in which the foundation of our democracy is founded on the “freedom of the press,” is accused of less than truthful discourse.
Some believe we are bombarded with “fake news,” and press organizations serving the American public that are cemented either on the liberal left or conservative right are leaving us in a massive sinkhole filled with biased reporting and points of views.
You would think we could turn to our sports stars, coaches, team managers, league commissioners, executives or club owners for a change of verbal pace that would offer us some true insights, point-blank opinions and simple honesty.
But in many, if not all, cases, we hear canned comments, measured responses and clichés about playing one game at a time, never looking ahead and doing the best we can and letting the chips fall where they may.
New England coach Bill Bilichick and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady are the very best at talking and saying absolutely nothing.
Bilichick’s average press conferences last about two and a half minutes, as the press corps grows tired and gives up on Bill’s monosyllabic answers to just about every question. A few years ago, after a rare embarrassing Monday night loss, Bilichick, with a straight face and monotone voice, answered every question about the Patriots’ poor performance with “we’re on to Cincinnati.”
Brady has learned from his head coach to not give the media or his adoring public anything. Tom Terrific will command the press podium for 20 minutes and say the same thing over and over again, just rephrasing a few words here and there.
This got me thinking about what would happen if every current or former athlete, head coach, general manager and commissioner were given the most potent truth serum known to man for just one day. Imagine how cool that would be for the ever-probing sports media and curious fans alike?
Here’s a sampling of what I think we would hear.
Let’s start with SEC football, where the recent conference media days gathering in Hoover, Ala., was more like an Ambien convention. How different it would have been in my pretend 24 hours if everyone dared to speak freely …
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron: “I’m sick and tired of Alabama this, Alabama that. I don’t care what Nick Saban is doing, thinking or saying. F@#!* the Process. He’s kicking everyone’s ass in the SEC right now. But if it wasn’t for that one damn quarterback scramble on a busted defensive play, we would have had them dead to rights last year. Go Tigers!”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban: “Look, you know, I’m great. I know I’m great, and the rest of these Bozo head coaches in the SEC know I’m great, and they can’t do a damn thing about it. I don’t have a whole lot of respect for any other teams besides LSU, Florida and maybe Georgia. And that’s because I trained their head coach Kirby Smart. Ole Miss got lucky a couple of times, and now we know why — those rule-breaking SOBs. I invented the Process. I am the Process. And the Process will make me the greatest college coach of all time.”
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze: “I swear on my mother’s Bible it’s all Houston Nutt’s fault. This whole thing with the NCAA started when that knucklehead Laremy Tunsil was videoed smoking pot using a gas mask. Are you kidding me?”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart: “I know I got the Bulldogs’ job because of coach Saban, but he is really a royal pain in the ass to work for.”
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin: “Are you telling me my job is in jeopardy? I gave the Aggies Johnny Football. I lured defensive guru John Chavis away from LSU. These guys haven’t won a championship since friggin’ 1939. No one has really won here, except maybe R.C. Slocum. Hell, everyone should be satisfied with three straight 8-5 records. Gig that.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees: “Truth be told, I’m really just 5 feet, 9 inches without cleats. Every time I throw a pass, I’m on my tip toes, and I can still barely see my receivers. To this day, every time I see Nick Saban I tell him he shouldn’t have listened to his expert doctors and should have signed me in Miami. He would still be coaching the Dolphins with me at quarterback.”
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton: “The best head coach named Bill is not Belichick or Walsh. It’s my mentor Parcells. By the way, I wanted to start that Super Bowl against the Colts with an onside kick, but Brees talked me out of it.”
Saints owner Tom Benson: “I really can’t remember why I disinherited my grandkids or my daughter. My wife Gayle told me to do it, so I did. Heck, I’m 90. I don’t remember why I bought the Pelicans either.”
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis: “I’m one of the Top 10 best players in the NBA right now, and I should be in L.A., New York, Miami, Chicago or even Cleveland, winning rings with LeBron. But damn, I couldn’t turn down over $100 million bucks. I’m one of the most recognized guys in the city, but I’m too scared to walk the streets at night. It’s crazy down here, dawg. Mayor Mitch needs to forget about those statues and get more cops on the streets and get control of the guns.”
Cleveland Cavs star LeBron James: “Seriously … is there still an argument about whether I’m the best player on the planet? They called Kong King because he was the biggest and baddest. Elvis was called the King because he was the best. I am called King James for the same reason. And what’s the deal with some fool painting the N word outside my crib in L.A.? Get real and get a life. Keep that up, and I may just forget about coming to the Lakers before I retire.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: “There is nothing I can do about this super team in Golden State. Look, they scouted and drafted well; showed patience; and developed stars like Curry, Thompson and Green. And they went out and sold their culture to KD. Houston and Boston are trying to do the same thing. Cleveland will too. Other teams need to step it up if they intend to compete over the next five to six years.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “The owners run the league. I just pull a few levers. The owners are not billionaires by luck. They intend to hold as much power and leverage over the players as they can. I don’t know what the players union was thinking when they signed that last collective bargaining agreement. I think the union leadership had a brain fart. We are doing all we can about concussions, but don’t be naïve. When very fast, very strong and very big men continually hit each other, there will be physical damage. And they are paid well to endure it.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred: “We’ve got a serious problem for the future of baseball. I see the statistics. Our consistent fan base going to see the game at the ballpark and watching it on TV is too old. The pace of play is too slow for the 21- to 27-year-olds looking for instant gratification. I don’t have the answer right now, but we can’t be fooled about what we saw with the demographics last year with the Chicago Cubs World Series run. Outside of maybe Chicago, Boston, New York and probably Houston, we have a league-wide problem.”
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman: “Hey people, don’t forget about me. I run a national sports league too.”
Tiger Woods: “Ok, I admit it. I got stupid and sloppy with all those other women. I wasn’t thinking. I had Jack’s record 18 majors in my cross hairs. You swing as hard and fast as I did for that long, your back and knees would have exploded. This last D.U.I. thing in Florida was silly on my part, OK. But damn, who can remember the alphabet at 3 am?”
Phil Mickleson: “It’s pretty obvious I don’t really like Tiger all that much. Never have. He had a great run. But if I could have just won a few of those damn U.S. Opens and a British a time or two instead of finishing in second like a gillion times, I would be right up there with Woods in major championships.”
NY Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.: “I didn’t think I would be this good this fast. I figured the wild hair would get me some attention. But that one-handed catch against Dallas and playing in New York did the trick. Hey, I kept making SportsCenter highlights, and it led to the biggest shoe deal with Nike in NFL history.”
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh: “The 49ers were idiots in letting me walk. They would probably have one or two Super Bowls by now if I was still there. I don’t think the SEC is all that. Saban keeps winning because he has a lock on all those stud players in the South. Simple as that. I’m gonna keep getting down there to recruit, so get ready.”
Former NBA and LSU star Shaquille O’Neal: “I’m telling you, the next time Charles (Barkely) says something stupid on TV or mocks me, I’m gonna reach over and slap his bald head.”
Former NBA great Charles Barkley: “I’m telling you, the next time Shaq (O’Neal) says something stupid on TV or mocks me, I’m gonna reach over and slap his bald head.”
Golden State star forward Kevin Durant: “I love LeBron like a big brother, but he couldn’t stop me during the finals. I could have toyed with him at any time.”
Golden State All Star Guard Stephen Curry: “I’ll admit it — sometimes I make shots I can’t believe went in. I can’t help it if other guys are jealous of me because of my beautiful wife, kids, life off the court, endorsements, contract and popularity. Work as hard as I do, make better decisions and put in the effort and see what happens. Just stop whining and hating.”
Tainted former Yankees, Rangers and Marlins star Alex Rodriguez: “If I knew that doing network TV and dating J-Lo would give me this much attention and the spotlight I so deserve, I would have retired years ago. Check out my self-serving music video online. You’ll love it.”
LSU baseball coach Paul Maninieri: “I’m still trying to figure out what the hell Kramer Robertson and Jake Slaughter were thinking on those two running plays against Florida in the Series.”
Former 49ers quarterback and unsigned free agent Colin Kaepernick: “I’m not apologizing for my protest, but I should have known it was going to come back and bite me with owners and GMs. This free agent stuff sucks. I’ve only had one official visit — with Seattle — and no one is showing a peep of interest. I should have stayed in San Francisco and sucked up to Shanahan (new head coach Kyle Shanahan). You’ve got to be kidding me — Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniels get free agent contracts and I’m still unsigned.”
Boxing champ Floyd “Money” Mayweather: “Dawg, that four-city media tour to make fun of and curse out McGregor, calling him a b–ch and a quitter, was just for show to sell the fight. I kinda like the dude, and hell, he’s gonna make me $300 million if we keep pointin’ fingers and cursin’ each other.”
UFC star champion Conor McGregor: “Hey, I was just kiddin around calling Floyd a b—h and a punk and a runner scared to get hit. I’m new at this boxing gig, but I can curse and trash talk with the best of them. I kinda like the fella, and hell, he’s gonna put probably $75 million in my pocket come fight night in Vegas.”