Gump was right

Athletes' transgressions prove Forrest's adage

On stupidity

May 06, 2008|By PETER SCHMUCK

I'm pretty sure that if you got yourself a big federal grant and did a study, you'd find that professional athletes are not - on average - any less intelligent than the general population, but you'd never know that by the headlines.

On almost any given day, somebody in sports is proving the timeless wisdom of fictional philosopher Forrest Gump, who was fond of pointing out that "stupid is as stupid does."

Case in point: Former Orioles pitcher John Bale, who fractured his hand punching a door Friday in Cleveland.

Mind you, there are better examples from the past few days - and I will get to them - but I'm starting with Bale because he proved my original thesis when he decided to go mano a mano with a hard, stationary object that had a lot less to lose in the fight.

It was a really dumb thing to do, but it could happen to anyone, and by anyone I mean even a highly intelligent, good-looking newspaper reporter who also needs healthy hands to make a living.

I really don't know why I'm telling you this, but I once broke my right hand punching an oak coffee table after losing a game of Intellivision baseball.

If you don't remember Intellivision, it was a video game system several technological generations before XBox 360, which means I was probably about the same age as Bale at the time. The best part was having the emergency room doctor tell me it was the stupidest injury he had ever seen.

So, I'm not being some kind of ivory-tower, intellectual elitist when I point out that we're coming off another bumper week of idiocy in big-money pro sports.

On Saturday, Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson was charged with boating while intoxicated and resisting arrest after an incident in Texas that ended with his being pepper-sprayed. He insists he was not drunk, did not resist and is the victim of police misconduct.

In Philadelphia, police are investigating whether Indianapolis Colts receiver Marvin Harrison was involved in a shooting incident last Tuesday night near the bar he owns. Harrison, through his attorney, has denied he was involved in the incident or is a subject of the investigation.

In Los Angeles, former NBA star and world-class weirdo Dennis Rodman was arrested on a domestic violence charge Wednesday night after getting into a drunken dispute with a woman at a hotel.

In Brazil, international soccer star Ronaldo is trying to salvage his public image after a group of prostitutes he met in a motel room last week turned out to be transvestites. I suppose that could happen to anyone, too, but I'm pretty sure I would remember.

Of course, you're wondering why it's taking so long to get to Roger Clemens, and it's a fair question. The Rocket was in the headlines again yesterday (it was one of the days that ends in "y," after all) with the rather odd public apology he issued to the Houston Chronicle.

The statement is odd because Clemens denies the two major elements of the scandal that has enveloped him - using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and having an improper relationship with country singer Mindy McCready - but apologizes to his fans and family for unspecified "mistakes I have made in my personal life."

Say what?

It's gotten to the point where you have to wonder whether Clemens is doing this stuff to himself on purpose. Why not just send a letter to the New York Daily News informing the investigative staffers that they missed a few things and might want to keep digging?

Nobody ever accused the Rocket of being a rocket scientist, but you'd think he'd eventually make a right call by accident. He has either gotten six months of the world's worst advice or - more likely - just stubbornly ignored his high-priced advisers in favor of an all-or-nothing attempt to save his reputation.

Maybe Roger thought - like Forrest Gump - he had magic shoes that could take him anywhere. Instead, he keeps learning the same lesson the hard way, just like the rest of us:

Stupid is as stupid does.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.

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