We've had Hacksaw, Fridge and Bullet Bob. We've had the Snake,
the Hogs and the Mad Stork. We've been from Hollywood to Broadway
Joe. We've gone through Too Tall and the Smurfs, Sweetness and
But nobody ever arrived at a Super Bowl with a better handle than
Carolina Panthers kick returner Rod Smart, a.k.a. He Hate Me.
It's the best because it means somewhere, some loving couple will
have the following Sunday conversation.
Him: Hey, Cuddles, there's Rod Smart--He Hate Me. Remember, from
February 2, 2004
Her: He hates you, Moon Pie?
Him: No, He Hate Me, Precious.
Her: Isn't that what I just said, Muffin?
Him: No, Lambkins.
Her: Wait. Tell me something: Who, exactly, hates you?
Him: Nobody hates me.
Her: But you just said, "He hate me." Who exactly are you
referring to with the word He?
Him: Nobody really knows. It's like he says, "He is whoever He
Her: Are you still mad about the snow tires?
Him: No! You're just being slightly thick, Petunia! He is the guy
he beats. He got the idea one day watching game tape of one of
his touchdown runs as a running back at Western Kentucky. They
slowed the tape, and he ran to the screen and pointed to every
guy on the opposite sideline and said, "Look! He hate me. And he
hate me. And he hate me. And...." So he decided to use it.
Her: Are you saying the word He refers to that XFL guy?
Him: No, He is the hater.
Her: I thought you just called him He!
Him: Lots of people do! Though some people call him Me for short.
Her: They call him you?
Him: Well, the Panthers' mail guy says some people address their
letters to He Hate You.
Her: Now just a damn second. One more time: He hates who?
Him: No, He Hate Me, you pea brain! If you're going to use it,
get it right!
Her: Don't yell at me, Baldy! Where's this hate coming from!?!
Him: Lakeland, Florida. Tough neighborhood. His best friend is in
prison right now, and his brother Boca, too. He's got another
brother who's named Jad because his mom was in prison for drug
trafficking when she had him and couldn't keep him and was sad,
so she just combined "jail" and "sad" and came up with Jad. Then
there's his brother Bone-Bone and sisters Fat Girl and Mom Mom
Her: [Sarcastically.] Must be a fun Christmas card to get.
Him: One night his mom tried to burn down a police monitoring
station on her block. Except she forgot to drop the gas can
before she lit the match and burned a third of her body. She
wound up doing a month in the hospital and three years on
Her: And because of that, this guy hates you?
Him: Oh, jeez! Nobody hates me, and nobody really hates him! As
he says, "If somebody hate me, I don't know about it. I'm always
happy." He's actually a damn good player. He was second in the
XFL in rushing, and now he's one of the better kickoff returners
in the league. This year he returned one 100 yards.
Her: [Icily.] Thrilling.
Him: Plus, he's a character like the Super Bowl hasn't seen in
years. He purposely dresses like a '70s pimp--big platform shoes,
big collars, plaid bell-bottom jumpsuits, mink hats. Gets a lot
of it at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. He says he's going for
that Huggy Bear, Andre 3000, Isley Brothers thing. And he's got a
foot-high Afro that would make Dr. J misty. He hasn't cut his
hair in almost two years.
Her: I thought he was a player.
Him: Well, yeah, to excess. Got five kids by five women.
Him: Who do you think I've been talking about? Anyway, he's
trademarked his nickname and had it woven into the headrests of
his car. Now he's thinking about making it his legal name so he
can wear it on his NFL jersey. If he gets married, he says his
wife will be She Hate Me. Personally, I think he should call his
girlfriend She Date Me and print on his dinner plates He Ate Me.
Her: Ohhhh! I get it! His nickname is He Hate Me! They're the
same person! He Hate Me is Rod Smart! I'm sorry I got short with
Him: Actually, Love Bug, his real first name is Torrold. [Pause.]
Uh, Lamb Chop, be careful, you're about to spill the cheese dip
down my pants! Snuggles!!!
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