Yo, Please Pass The Truth Serum

February 01, 1999

I'm 6'5" with blue eyes, bench 425 and often win prizes for my
coq au vin. I was valedictorian at Yale, can barrel roll an
F/A-18 Hornet and dumped Elle Macpherson for hogging the covers.

True, I'm lying like Sam Donaldson's rug, but I don't care
anymore. Lying is in. Lying is sweeping the nation. Everybody in
America lied last week. Twice.

Take Gary Barnett, who has told enough white lies lately to frost
a 10-tier wedding cake. As Northwestern football coach, Barnett
kept insisting he'd never leave Chicago--usually after flirting
with a job somewhere else. He talked to UCLA, Texas, Notre Dame
and even got caught on the Georgia campus. He said he was there
"to see the facilities."

"I'm here, and I will be here for the next 10 years of my
contract," he said of Northwestern in December 1997. "I stand by
my promises."

After that, he took a gander at Oklahoma, followed by Colorado.
Two weeks ago he even went so far as to E-mail his players, "I
will be back to take us to Pasadena!" Within days he accepted the
job at Colorado.

"He gave us his word," said Wildcats sophomore running back Brian
Marshall last week. "When anybody goes back on his word, you lose
respect for him. How can you trust him?"

Is it any wonder that four of Backdoor Barnett's former players
were indicted in December on perjury charges in connection with a
gambling investigation?

Prosecutor: Young man, would you care to tell the court exactly
what you were doing in the basement of noted gambling figure
Double-Up Dougherty?

Northwestern athlete: I was just there to see the facilities!

Barnett lied as much as the guy he replaced at Colorado, Rick
Neuheisel, who had been romanticizing during the season about
"spending my career in one place" and modeling his career after
Joe Paterno's at Penn State. "I'm anxious to be on board for the
long ride," Neuheisel said after the Aloha Bowl in December. "I
truly love working at Colorado." Two weeks later he took the job
at Washington, jilting a room full of Colorado recruits waiting
to have dinner with him. Joe Paterno? No. Joe Isuzu? Yes.

Even Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan got caught up in
Lie-a-Palooza recently. When rumors started that Colorado was
trying to hire Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to
replace Neuheisel, Shanahan issued a written statement, saying,
"There has been no contact between Gary and CU."

Only one little problem: Kubiak later admitted he and Colorado
athletic director Dick Tharp had met for almost three hours the
night before Shanahan issued his statement.

Ohhhh, you meant our Gary Kubiak?

Then there's Rocco DiLorenzo, the athletic director of Boston's
schools, who admitted last week that some coaches and other
athletic representatives in his system were guilty of phoning in
bogus hockey scores to Boston newspapers for years to keep teams
from being humiliated. For instance, a 15-1 game might get
called in as 3-1. "It's not good for a team to get beat that
way," DiLorenzo told The Boston Globe, one of the papers that
was duped into printing the false scores. That's true, Rocco,
except the team did get beat that way. That's the way the world
works. Nearsighted goalies get embarrassed by 12 goals, give up
their dream of joining the San Jose Sharks and enroll in medical
school.

If it were up to us, Rocco, you'd be fired. (Not to worry,
though. In the papers, it'll say you're just out for a long
lunch.)

Two months ago Karl Malone said, "I have played my last
basketball game in a Jazz uniform in Utah." Last week he
reported to Jazz camp. Oops.

Over the last few years Madison Square Garden president and CEO
Dave Checketts has said the Knicks had no interest in signing
players of low integrity. Last week Checketts approved a trade
for Latrell Sprewell, a player of no integrity.

It's all so greasy, it makes you want to take a long hot shower,
say, until Easter. Nobody's word is worth a warm pitcher of spit
anymore. Nobody's signature is worth the invisible ink it's
written in. Everybody lies like Baghdad Realtors.

Except me. I can honestly say I've only told one lie my whole
life, and it was that first paragraph. I bench 450.

COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA [Rick Reilly]

Lying is in. Lying is sweeping the nation. Everybody in America
lied last week. Twice.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)