Listed by themselves, without context or comment, the two transgressions can be easily ranked in order of severity.
1. Snorting cocaine.
2. Behaving like an absolute anus.
The long, oft-sorry saga of American professional sports is filled with high-profile figures who have stumbled over both societal trip wires with great aplomb. Cocaine was the drug of the 1970s and '80s, choking in its white dust such superstars as
So, with druggies and jerks running amok, what should we make of the recent plights of two so-called sports "leaders" -- Texas Rangers manager
Simply, it is this: Nice guys finish first.
I know ... I know -- such blather flies in the face of real-world logic; of every greedy Wall Street executive cashing a $20 million bonus check and every bully quarterback who scores the hot cheerleader. Yet just as Bonds' staggering downfall was as attributable to a sour demeanor as it was a questionable blood stream, Washington and Gonzalez's divergent plights are odes to sweet vs. sour.
When the news came out that Washington -- entering his fourth year as the Rangers' skipper -- had failed a drug test last season, he was embraced in a way that few others ever have been. After the manager addressed his team in a private mea culpa,
Gonzalez was straight up, too. Straight-up annoying. Straight-up obnoxious. Straight-up degrading. Straight-up belittling. In his four years at Seton Hall, the man known un-affectionately as "Gonzo" proved himself to be an ordinary coach (a 63-56 record) and a monumental jerk. Akin to far too many of today's sideline-strutting, Armani-wearing, larger-than-life college hoop saviors, Gonzalez fancied himself as above the rules and beyond the norm. Arrogance oozed from his pores; a I'm-more-important-than-you'll-ever-be swagger demeaning to anyone forced to work a regular 9-to-5 job. According to a recent piece in the New York
This year's underachieving Pirates faced myriad off-the-court problems, including one player being arrested for driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and another being arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery, burglary and weapons counts. By all accounts, however, what truly did in Gonzalez was the exact opposite of what truly saved Washington.
He was a bad guy.
And bad guys finish last.