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NO TIME TO THROW STONES.
May 9, 2003

by Bill Hogan

 
 

By a show of hands, let's count how many of you sportswriters out there have ever tossed back a few too many beverages and done something stupid that you now regret? C'mon, you know who you are, raise those arms high.

One, two, three, four… wait a minute, let me get my calculator. OK, you guys and gals with your hands up are no longer permitted to criticize the actions of Iowa State Men's Basketball Coach Larry Eustachy.

 
 


Again, raise 'em up if you've ever slipped a folded dollar bill into a g-string at a strip club. Anybody? No? To paraphrase Sam "Mayday" Malone, "if it weren't for all the people who say they never go to strip clubs, strip clubs would be out of business".

Well, I know you're out there. And here's some advice: lay off Mike Price. He's been duly admonished. Since Alabama fired him as head football coach, he's lost his dream job and his reputation and, at 57, may never coach at a major college football program again.

Now, how many of you esteemed sports journalists have ever stated publicly that you would like to "slap" a woman because, well basically, she rubbed you the wrong way? My guess is, and maybe I'm giving you more credit than you deserve, none.

Bob Ryan, sportswriter for the Boston Globe, said as much about Joumana Kidd, wife of New Jersey Nets All-Star Jason Kidd, on television. According to the Boston Globe, Joumana's desire for "face time" in front of the television camera irked Ryan to the point where he'd "like to smack her".

Face time. A peculiar choice of words coming from a man whose picture appears next to each of his columns at Boston Globe Online. From a man who is a frequent guest on ESPN's The Sports Reporters and is often part of the "expert" panel of sportswriters on ESPN's Around the Horn.

Especially given that the object of Around the Horn is to debate current sports topics with other sportswriters; the overall winner of the daily debate receives the show's "grand prize", 15 seconds of – you got it - face time. Ironic, isn't it?

And while the sports pundits continue to scrutinize, criticize and chastise Eustachy and Price for their egregious behavior, they seem more than willing to give their colleague Ryan a pass.

While Eustachy and Price have been pilloried for weeks, the general sentiment in the media is that Ryan's incredibly insensitive and inflammatory remarks were just – as sports columnist Mike Lupica stated in an article at USATODAY.com – "dumb-guy talk".

Eustachy and Price not only lost their well-paying, high profile jobs, they've been mercilessly lampooned by the major sports news outlets. While Ryan's cronies dwell on the "harshness" of his 30-day suspension.

Ryan himself was surprised that his "punishment" went beyond a week or two. In his statement to the Boston Globe he said "I hyperbolically stated that Mrs. Kidd should be 'smacked' for her general behavior". So, it was just hyperbole, a mere exaggeration, a figure of speech, a tasteless joke advocating violence against women – let's move on. Where are Martha Burk and the NCWO when you need them?

Meanwhile, in typical National Enquirer fashion, Sports Illustrated thought it was appropriate to buy the rights to Destiny's story. Because Mike Price's strip club antics haven't brought him enough humiliation, let's get all the sordid details from the stripper herself.

What a journalistic coup. And it's been a week since he was forced to resign his post at Iowa State, maybe it's time to do another frat-house parody on the drinking escapades of Larry Eustachy. I guess keeping Price and Eustachy in the headlines might keep some of the heat off their crony Ryan.

Enough stones have been "hyperbolically" cast at Eustachy and Price. Both men are – at least for the immediate future – out of sports; and should also be out of the sports pages.

And they still have to explain their actions to a higher authority – their wives. As if there was any rational explanation for being at a college party drinking Natural Light and kissing the coeds. Or dropping a bundle at a Florida strip club. I wish them luck and a word to the wise: duck.

As for Bob Ryan, well he's on – as Around the Horn's Max Kellerman would say – a 720-hour break. Then he'll be back seeking a little more "face time".

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