Nancy Kerrigan has very little to say about ‘I, Tonya’
Picked-up pieces while wondering whether “bomb cyclone” and “survive the ground” have ever been used in the same sentence . . .
■ For the record, Nancy Kerrigan has not seen “I, Tonya” and doesn’t care to discuss the cinematic softening of Tonya Harding.
“I, Tonya” is a terrific film, perhaps Oscar-worthy, and Harding is on a redemption tour 24 years after her goons kneecapped Kerrigan before the Lillehammer Olympics. Tonya was a guest of honor at the recent Golden Globes and the subject of a TV special that aired on ABC Thursday night. Dollars to doughnuts she’ll be at the Oscars.
This had me wondering what Kerrigan thinks about the whole thing. Kerrigan, after all, was a victim of Harding’s dysfunctional life. The only daughter in a working-class Stoneham family (her father, the late Dan Kerrigan, was a welder who worked three jobs so Nancy would have ice time), Kerrigan delivered one of the clutch performances of all time at Lillehammer in 1994, winning a silver medal just a few weeks after she was attacked by Harding’s gang of nitwits.
I gave her a call this week. (I had a 20-year-old at-a-glance phone book and hoped my “Kerrigan” number was not for Joe Kerrigan.) Incredibly, Nancy answered my call on the first try.
I congratulated her on raising three children with her husband/agent, Jerry Solomon, and maintaining her dignity during this pop-culture-driven redemption of Harding. I asked if Kerrigan wanted to comment on it.
“Not right now,’’ she said. “I really have nothing to say about it. I haven’t seen anything. I haven’t watched anything.
“I’ve been busy. I was at the national [figure skating] championships this week so I didn’t watch the Golden Globes. I haven’t seen the movie. I’m just busy living my life.’’
At the US championships in San Jose, she said, she did some gigs for a corporate sponsor.
“It was really fun,’’ she said. “It was like a reunion. They were celebrating the 1988 Olympic team. That was a team I should have been part of, not because I was good enough then, but I just got along with them so well.
“We were good friends competing internationally together and we got along so well, so it was good to be there and be part of all that and catch up with everyone. Like any sport. Reunion time.’’
I commented that figure skating is not as big now as it was 25 years ago and asked if she had any theories on this.
“I don’t know,’’ she said with a sigh. “I’m sure there’s more than one reason. Who knows?’’
What about Tonya, I wondered. Is Nancy bothered by Hollywood’s portrayal of Tonya? Any comment?
“I don’t know,’’ said Kerrigan. “At this point, it’s so much easier and better to just be . . . it’s not really part of my life. As you say, I was the victim. Like, that’s my role in this whole thing. That’s it.
“It is weird, that’s for sure. A bizarre thing. The whole thing was crazy, being that it’s a story. I mean, come on.’’
Later in the day, Solomon called and said, “Our position at this point is to say nothing. When we collectively, or Nancy individually, decide what to do, when we are ready to say something, we will.
“But until that time, we’ve been very consistent — and as you can imagine I’m getting calls from everybody under the sun from all around the world — so just to be consistent we’re really not saying anything at this point.’’
■ Now that Bill, Tom, and Bob have all denied everything, I guess everything is swell in Foxborough. Amazing. In most cities, the media read a story like the one in ESPN and try to advance the narrative. In Boston, we have the Patriots Media Cartel shift into overdrive to tell us that there’s nothing to see here. Meanwhile, Seth Wickersham becomes the Salman Rushdie of Patriot Nation. Football Fatwa.
■ I would have traded Jackie Bradley Jr. for Yasiel Puig in a New York Yankee minute.
■ Love Rick Carlisle, Steve Kerr, and Stan Van Gundy, but they are dead wrong with their bullying attempt to dictate what ESPN can and cannot do regarding coverage of lunatic LaVar Ball. Luke Walton can handle himself just fine without this misguided attempt at censorship by the consortium of NBA coaches.
■ Sorry to hear of the passing of Yale football coaching legend Carm Cozza at the age of 87 last week. He coached Yale from 1965-96. In 1993, Cozza survived the gratuitous rips of young Theo Epstein, a reporter for the Yale Daily News. In a column headlined “Is It Time For Carm To Go?” young Theo ripped the coach before the Harvard-Yale game.
“Cozza isn’t the man to bring the program out of its problems,’’ wrote Epstein, who learned the craft while reading Boston Globe columns when he was growing up in Brookline.
Cozza survived Epstein’s critique and coached Yale for another three seasons before retiring. Young Theo, meanwhile, foolishly abandoned the fame and fortune of sportswriting and commenced chasing a half-baked dream that he could get a job in a big league baseball front office. Wonder whatever became of the kid.
■ I have memories of watching Jackie MacMullan’s daughter play basketball for the Westford Academy Grey Ghosts against Steve Burton’s daughter at Newton South High School a few years back. I remember a little girl who could not have been 10 years old dribbling two basketballs (one with each hand) up and down a practice court while her big sister played in the varsity game.
That little girl was Veronica Burton, who recently signed a letter-of-intent to play at Northwestern.
It seems safe to say that Newton’s Steve and Ginni Burton are parents of the most star-studded quartet of scholarship athletes in Massachusetts high school history. Daughters Kendall and Kayla went from Newton South to careers at Villanova and Lehigh. Son Austin played quarterback at South for three years and is now at UCLA. South senior Veronica will play at Northwestern, where her dad played quarterback and her mom was an All-America swimmer.
Oh, and Veronica’s granddad, the late Ron Burton, was the first player ever drafted by the Boston Patriots. He wore No. 22.
■ Quiz: Name the major league player who hit at least one World Series homer in three different decades with three different teams (answer below).
■ The Patriots should have General Zod on their helmets instead of Flying Elvis. Zod is the comic book general of the Kryptonian Army who says, “I win. I always win. Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?’’
■ It’s not like letting go of Jimmy Garoppolo or anything, but goalie Malcolm Subban is having a pretty good year for first-place Vegas.
■ Hope the Red Sox are careful regarding plans for the Doug Fister video tribute that no doubt will be aired on the big video board in center field when the Texas Rangers make their only trip to Fenway in July. It’s important that the homage be done on a day when Fister’s entire family is in the stands. If the Sox don’t re-sign Eduardo Nunez, maybe they can plan a whole weekend of Nunez tributes, like they did for David Ortiz at the end of the 2016 season.
■ Boston University connections: Drederick Irving, father of Kyrie Irving, was a Terrier basketball star at the same time Sybil Smith, mother of US Open tennis champ Sloane Stephens, was an All-America swimmer there in 1988. Sloane’s father was the late John Stephens, a star running back with the Patriots in 1988.
■ Josh McDaniels needs to get it right this time. He was only 33 when he became head coach of the Broncos and lost 17 of his final 22 games in Denver. Of course, Bill Belichick was 42-58 as an NFL head coach before Tom Brady took over as his starting quarterback on Sept. 30, 2001.
■ Are 2-point conversions supposed to be as easy as the Patriots make them look? Take a scan back at the two the Patriots ran at the Falcons at the end of Super Bowl LI, then look at the quickie they pulled off against the on-their-heels Steelers last month. Zero resistance each time.
■ Underrated story that is likely to gather much steam in 2018 is the pending free agency of Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. How’s he going to feel about coming out for a high-leverage situation in the seventh or eighth instead of an easy, cheesy, ninth-inning, three-out, phony save with a 5-2 lead? It’s never good when a guy is looking for numbers in his walk year.
■ Honk if you think Central Florida (13-0) should be recognized as college football’s national champion.
■ More than the other big sports, football is harder to quantify and therefore less ruined by skull-imploding analytics.
■ Laugh all you want at Mark Sanchez; he still has more career road playoff wins (four) than Brady (three).
■ Get your hands on a copy of Lesley Visser’s new book, “Sometimes You Have to Cross When It Says Don’t Walk: A Memoir of Breaking Barriers.’’ Visser, the first woman to be honored with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Radio-Television Award, made her bones as a Globe pro football scribe before moving to television.
■ Now that the Bills have made the NFL playoffs for the first time this century, the longest playoff drought in sports belongs to the Seattle Mariners, who last made the baseball tournament when they won 116 games in 2001.
■ Sorry to hear that former Channel 5 sports reporter Clark Booth has written his last column for The Pilot. The estimable Booth, now retired in Florida, penned his sports pieces once a week for 43 years before deciding “I had run out of things to rant about.’’
A shame. I knew Jewish folks who subscribed to the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston just to read Clark Booth.
■ We lost a great one in Bob Crane last week. The 91-year-old former State Treasurer was a great friend of Bobby Orr and Luis Tiant and was married to Mary Alberts for 67 years. Also sorry to hear of the passing of Marsha Cook, the 96-year-old mother of Alice Cook, former Olympic skater and longtime Channel 4 sports reporter.
■ Quiz answer: Matt Williams, with the 1989 Giants, 1997 Indians, and 2001 Diamondbacks.
■ Local baseball fans have a hardball smorgasbord next Thursday when Boston College baseball hosts “Baseball Night in Boston’’ on the same evening as the 79th Boston Baseball Writers dinner at the Copley Marriott.
Pedro Martinez is the big draw at the BC event, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. at Fenway Park.
Those interested in tickets can call 617-552-1336 or e-mail Danielle.Gaynor@bc.edu.
Meanwhile, over at the Copley, Tim Wakefield, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, Christian Vazquez, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch (among others) will be honored at the writers’ dinner, which starts at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 617-624-1231 or e-mail SportsMuseum.org.
Jimmy Fund “play lady” Lisa Scherber, a legitimate saint in our midst, will be a special honoree at the writers’ dinner.
■ If you are a Hockey Krishna, there’s an event for you, also next Thursday, when you can attend the “State of the Bruins” with John Bucyk, cohosted by the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont and sports editor Joe Sullivan at the Bell In Hand Tavern on Union Street from 5-7 p.m. Go to eventbrite.com to register for the event.