Anyone else out there wake up each day, flip (or scan) through the sports section, and wonder if the rest of the world is this crazy?
Now, I realize, craziness swings a very broad brush. My filter for discerning crazy is that of someone who once thought it would be all kinds of cool to own a new, chrome-trimmed Oldsmobile. So, by all means, consider the source. General Motors doesn’t make Oldsmobiles anymore, because, best I can tell, it felt its product line was too cluttered with four doors, two headlights, one steering wheel. I liked the ride, GM thought I was stodgy. Stick that in the tailpipe of my Cutlass Supreme and smoke it, I guess.
For starters, I think we’d all agree Donald Sterling is crazy. The aged, soon-to-be-denuded owner of the Los Angeles Clippers got himself set up, said a whole bunch of wacky, bigoted stuff, and then said more wacky, bigoted stuff last week in a TV interview with Anderson Cooper in which he hoped to ease himself off the hook slightly for his first batch of wacky, bigoted stuff. It was funny. It was sad. At times, I thought it was shtick, but it wasn’t, which made it saddest of all.
Sterling is a buffoon, beyond crazy, and so intrinsically hateful and loathsome that most of us probably can’t, or won’t, summon an ounce of pity for him. His Clippers, as bad as they once were, at least were pitiable.
Then there’s Sterling’s girlfriend. Name: V. Stiviano. Profession: I’ll let you, dear reader, fill in the blank that is this blank of a woman.
After her Sterling sting, Stiviano has been spotted in public sporting some sort of designer, paparazzi-deflecting faceshield. It looks like she clipped it off the front of a Grand Prix racecar driver’s helmet. It’s also reflective, akin to a California Highway patrolman’s sunglasses.
I guess she’s using it as a haute couture witness protection outfit, hiding out in full glam. That must be it. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not even her, but instead a faux V. Stiviano, a body double. Because, as we know, the world doesn’t have enough V. Stivianos in it.
Even Donald Sterling has to think she’s crazy. And he’s pretty much established himself as the No. 1 authority on bull goose loony.
Stiviano is also a deceitful, despicable, opportunistic creep, Sterling’s equal on the loathsome scale, having set him up with a hidden audiotape, presumably around one of their romantic interludes (how fast would the fly die on that wall?). Which is not to pardon Sterling for who he is, or what he is. He’s paying for his words and deeds. Yet that doesn’t justify the means that Stiviano and her faceless accomplices employed in their gutless act of entrapment.
Here’s hoping Stiviano and all her pals get exposed. Maybe they’ll all be forced to run around wearing those designer faceshields, LA’s new-age version of the Scarlet Letter.
Last week also brought us another iteration of the expanding craziness, and horror, of the Aaron Hernandez tale.
The former Patriots pass catcher was indicted Thursday on two more counts of murder, leaving him, at least as of late Saturday night, with no fewer than three alleged homicides on his ever-expanding rap sheet. If proven guilty, Hernandez is the granddaddy of pure, wicked evil.
Thursday’s indictments leave the ex-Patriots star on the hook for three executions. I can’t process it. The vulgarity of it all is made worse each time I see video of him in court, aside legal counsel, Hernandez sometimes smirking, often smiling, even laughing. He is a man who certainly emanates no sense of guilt, seems not to sense the gravitas of the alleged deeds.
He exudes an aura of the defiantly disengaged, as if saying, “Yeah, three dead, big deal . . . what else ya got?’’
By law enforcement’s account, Hernandez barely knew the two alleged victims, Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, he is now accused of dusting following a chance encounter at a downtown nightclub, Cure, in July 2012. The two victims, in their late 20s, worked together at the Quincy YMCA, the cleaning of toilets among their everyday job duties.
Per Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, Hernandez pulled his vehicle aside that of Abreu and Furtado and wiped them out in a riddle of bullets. Days later, he reported to New England’s training camp, played the 2012 season, and then found a new home in the Massachusetts penal system’s multiple listings service after allegedly murdering a pal, Odin Lloyd, a year after the Abreu-Furtado slayings.
If there is a lesson in the Hernandez saga, it escapes me at the moment. We can fault and fingerpoint from now until the eternity that Hernandez will surely serve if he is guilty. But if his hand is indeed on one, two, or all three of these executions, then all the blame beyond Hernandez, and the associated people and parties it would encompass and condemn, is both wasted and unfair.
Aaron Hernandez was a Patriots employee. That’s it. He was neither created nor enabled by the Patriots. Foxborough was where he hung his helmet, apparently hid his secrets — from an employer and a fan base that couldn’t reasonably be expected to suspect the things he’s allegedly done.
If Hernandez is the guy law enforcement tells us he is, then he is a predatory, twisted killer, one brazen and callous enough to pull up to a carload of virtual strangers and snuff out lives with the ease that he once slashed through tacklers. In Lloyd’s case, Hernandez purportedly drove him to an industrial park near the ex-Patriots home and executed him, too.
So, these are our sports stories in 2014. They are just a sample. They are not the only sports stories or even the majority of sports stories. But they inexorably, and vividly, inch their way into what for decades was considered a safe haven from the daily nuttiness that crept into all the other parts of our lives.
We turned to sports for entertainment, to read about home runs and touchdowns, miles run, records broken, trades made, contracts bargained, pennants chased, errors made, managers fired. In that Oldsmobile era, we turned there for cheer, for relief, for escape. And we rode along blissfully.
Much of that good stuff is still here. Truth is, craziness was here all along, too, but we probably weren’t paying as close attention. Maybe we didn’t want to see it. Days like last week remind us that it’s not really whether it’s as crazy out there in the rest of the world, but that the rest of the world brought the crazy with it. We are one. There is no turning the page to find otherwise.