You know, it has become an accepted verity that modern athletes are a bright bunch. And why not? Many have loitered in classrooms between practice sessions, have read magazines available in airplanes on road trips and have generally proved themselves to be gentlemen of cerebration. Indeed, many of the most notable intellects in the athletic world have, you know, written books, visiting upon the literate the most profound of what President Ford calls "judgaments."
Naturally, people ask: Do these tomes generally approximate the way the athlete in question really talks? My answer invariably is: no.
Years ago I remember reading a war novel—it was The Caine Mutiny—in which the author wrote a foreword saying that he had made an effort to be factual historically in every respect except the language used. Servicemen, he said, employ so many obscenities so regularly that it would be pointless to duplicate them. We have come to that pass with athletes today, although not with the usual run-of-the-mill indelicacies. You know, I would welcome the day when athletes were vulgar again. Oh, what a joy to hear some *¢'!+s and a bleep and even an (expletive deleted) or an old-fashioned———.
Instead, there is really only one obscenity that overwhelms every athlete's conversation, that becomes increasingly offensive, truly more vulgar, than, you know, all the dirty words that have ever been coined. Today, you know, virtually all athletes are, you know, functionally incapable of using an English sentence, you know, without this special abasement of our, you know, tongue.
March 8, 1976
It is time that we in the business of reporting on athletes began to portray the way these masterminds really talk. For starters, there are the true versions of some of the most common things that our scholar-athletes say: "We're going to, you know, play them one at a time.... I was trying to get a, you know, piece of it.... He never, you know, laid a glove on me.... I geev my horse, you know, the wheep.... I, you know, got it.... Ready, set. One you know, two you know, three you know...."
And to make everything properly up-to-date, let's not forget: "I should have, you know, stood in bed.... Winning is, you know, everything.... Nice guys, you know, finish, you know, last...."
They don't, you know, make 'em like, you know, they used to.