Rodman doesn't even stand out for his antics, and that's sad

Media Watch

April 30, 1996|By Milton Kent

In support of his upcoming memoirs, Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman is hitting the tube this week, appearing on an episode of "The Tonight Show" and tonight's "Dateline NBC," in what should be a "probing" interview with Stone Phillips, as the two hit the town.

Whatever.

Actually, a big tip of the cap goes to ESPN and reporter Bonnie Bernstein, who sat down with Rodman for the network's "Sunday Conversation" and grilled him on just what it would take to achieve whatever might pass for happiness in that multi-hued head.

"The Worm" attempted to wiggle out of Bernstein's question about how much money he wants in his next contract, but to her credit, Bernstein persisted and got the information out.

Rodman advanced the figure of $7 million to $10 million per year for the next two years, saying anything less would drive him into retirement, because he couldn't "sit there and take a back seat" to people he has deemed to be of inferior talent.

(By the way, Dennis, before that book comes out, you might want to run the sentence, "I've gave everything that needed to be gived [sic]," which actually came out during the interview, past an editor. You wouldn't want incorrect grammar in your life story, or would you?)

What exactly is Rodman's talent, anyway? Sure, he can rebound and defend, but as the Bulls, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs can attest, Rodman has a demonstrated talent for doing the absolute wrong thing at the absolute wrong time for no other reason than he feels like it -- the consequences be damned.

Have you forgotten the time he sat outside the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan and hinted at suicide? Or the instance when he refused to play in a playoff game last spring for the Spurs? Or this year's head-butt of an official and the numerous technical fouls for less-than-sportsmanlike, on-court conduct?

But why should Rodman worry? He lives in an era when cretin-like behavior is not only celebrated, but rewarded.

Hey, Albert Belle, want to throw some baseballs into the stands and at a photographer, cuss out a reporter and stand up two businesses that want to employ you to endorse their products? No problem, and take $43 million for your troubles, if that's enough.

How about you, Deion Sanders? Why don't you toss some ice water on a commentator because he dares to criticize you? While you're at it, try leaving some team officials wondering if you're going to show up for the World Series and, to top it off, stage a rather public auction for your overrated services to the highest bidder. Will $35 million be enough? If not, Jerry Jones, a prince in his own right, can get some more.

The Bulls can hardly display clean hands to Rodman.

One of his teammates, Scottie Pippen, once got caught with a gun in his car and refused to play at the end of a playoff game in a fit of pique involving coach Phil Jackson. Another teammate, Michael Jordan, stands up the press and took a little gambling sojourn to Atlantic City during a playoff series.

And the owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, is widely believed to be the biggest hindrance to labor peace in baseball, and challenged the NBA's authority to make rules governing broadcast rights.

Once upon a time, people like Dennis Rodman would have been ostracized. These days, they're in the middle of the crowd.

"And I say to myself, 'What a wonderful world.' "

You won't miss a thing

Contrary to what you may have heard or read recently, the Dallas-San Francisco NFL game on Nov. 10 should be available for Baltimore viewers, despite the presence of a Ravens game at the same 4 p.m. kickoff time.

That particular Sunday is a Fox doubleheader day, meaning its local affiliate -- in this case, Channel 45 -- is entitled to carry two games as long as the Ravens aren't playing at home.

And since the Ravens are in Jacksonville, not Baltimore, on that date, you can bet that Fox will beam in a matchup that has produced some of the highest regular-season ratings ever, even if that game goes head-to-head with the hometown team.

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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