Drug-using sports stars ought to sport asterisks

December 05, 2004|By Dan Rodricks

ALL I can say is: If athletes like Jason Giambi want to put steroids and other performance-enhancing substances into their bodies, it's their stupid business. But when they play, they should wear uniforms with big asterisks next to their numbers.

I was tempted to tell Carmelo Anthony that you can't go home again, but apparently he already did.

What "Melo" could do now, to repair damage from his appearance in that Stop Snitching homemade DVD, is come back to Baltimore, hook up with the Rev. Willie Ray and spend some time talking to kids about finishing school and living a drug-free life. Let's get a big, positive message out of this young and popular NBA star. He could have the whole thing taped and produced on DVD for distribution to schools across the country.

One good thing about this: The homemade DVD apparently has helped Baltimore cops locate some evil-doers they've been looking for. My favorite quote of the week comes from one of the city's most impressive cops, Anthony Barksdale, acting - what is this "acting" business? - chief of the Police Department's organized crime division: "I know the city sees it in a bad light, but this is bad guys identifying themselves, telling us where they hang out and who they're hanging with. I want them to keep making these DVDs. Go to volume 50 because we're making cases off these."

With all these sports scandals - steroids, loutish fans and violent players, felons in football - all I can say is: Thank God for the Army-Navy game.

Remember, in Men In Black, when Tommy Lee Jones showed Will Smith all those television screens of aliens who disguise themselves as humans and live in the United States? Next clip: Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! whiz who finally failed after a record-breaking 74 wins. Gotta be one. Come on. That face, those ears, that brain - we're talking extraterrestrial. Plus, guy's from Nevada.

Tom DiBiagio resigned as U.S. attorney, and he finally got what he'd apparently been yearning for in recent months - to make front-page news.

All I can say is: I hope President Bush has more luck giving a big job to a former New York City cop once than Martin O'Mayor did twice. Three questions for O'Mayor's next news conference: Do you really think the city ought to be in the hotel business? Do you think we really out to be tying up $290 million in public financing for this purpose? If it doesn't work out, and the hotel starts to lose money, would you work as a bellhop?

The opening scenes of NBC's Law & Order on Wednesday night showed the bullet-ridden, blood-soaked bodies of seven people murdered in a drug massacre. Great stuff. And apparently, on The Apprentice last week, a young woman named Ivana dropped her skirt on a Manhattan sidewalk numerous times, revealing her undies to men, as a way to get $20 for a candy bar. This from one of the networks (CBS - actually, it's pretty much CSI-TV now - was the other one) that refused to air 30-second television ads promoting the United Church of Christ's acceptance of worshippers of all races, ethnic and social backgrounds, and sexual orientation. All I can say is: The inmates are running the asylum, or at least the television industry.

This press release arrived from Annapolis on Friday, and it heralds something so special one can hardly contain one's excitement: "Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. unveiled an online version of the Governor's Office Photo Gallery effective today. The online gallery will include photos of the Governor, Lt. Governor and First Lady taken at various events around the State of Maryland and will allow Internet users to download and print copies of the photographs. `This is an opportunity for folks to experience the great accomplishments that happen in our State on a daily basis,' said Governor Ehrlich. ... `This gallery is an innovative, fiscally responsible way of managing our State's photo inventory, while at the same time showcasing all Maryland has to offer.'" You like that? Fiscally responsible self-promotion by a politician. Ingenious.

And then there was this urgent e-mail message from the people handling The O'Mayor's affairs: "Time is running out to buy tickets for the [Dec. 7] 2004 inaugural celebration of Mayor Martin O'Malley. We still have tickets available, but ... if you have not already done so - please be sure to purchase your tickets online ASAP!" Sorry, I have a chair-caning class that night.

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