Rape, Scandal, Greed and Cockfighting -- The 2011 Sports Year In Review
You know how, in the series 24, the way a season unfolds? How just when you think there has been some sort of resolution to the bad guys being bottled up, right then and there a new (often worse) layer is introduced, and ultimately in like Hour 22 Jack Bauer winds up face to face with some nemesis who is the axis of all evil in the universe?
2011: Penn State's horrible year
Well that was 2011 in sports. Jim Tressel, Will Lyles, Nevin Shapiro -- they came and went, and it felt like they were under control or even put to bed at some point during the year.
Then came the nuclear bomb -- Jerry Sandusky.
The worst story of the year was the worst story in my lifetime, and tragically, just like a season of 24, where the end of the season foreshadows future evil, the door closes on 2011 with far more unanswered questions and many sordid twists and turns to go.
In short, Sandusky may wind up being the story of 2012 as well.
Let's take a trip back through the stories that made up one of the most unsavory calendar years in sports history....
January 5, 2011 -- Wade Phillips's Job Interview: Snickers, Crayons and Battlefighting
This fictional script of the Wade Phillips job interview with the Texans paints Wade as a lovable, affable, happy-go-lucky fat man. All of those things are true, but I probably should have painted his coaching acumen in a more favorable light. That's on me.
January 19, 2011 -- The Longhorn Network -- The $300 Million Mystery
It's not the size of the bird in the fight...
Never has a virtually invisible entity been the source for so much ill will and shortsighted decision making. This piece outlines the biggest issues that the birth of the LHN raised, and as it turned out there was good reason to be worried about things like high school sports being shown on the network.
February 8, 2011 -- From Bad to Worse: Dallas Gives Michael Vick a Key to the City
This story broke right after Dallas had just finished putting on the worst Super Bowl in the history of the event, some of that not their fault (ice storms), and much of it somebody's fault (sheets of ice landing on stadium workers, seats improperly installed or not installed at all, Christina Aguilera butchering anthem lyrics). I would say giving the key to the city to a convicted felon who sadistically killed dozens of innocent animals was not the way to make everyone forget Super Bowl week.
March 8, 2011 -- Kareem Jackson, Cockfighting and Perception
After his rookie year, Kareem Jackson's best bet would have been to disappear from everyone's radar until August, come back to camp, and show a renewed maturity and sense of purpose. So naturally, the first we heard of him in the off season was when he tweeted pictures from a Dominican Republic cockfight in March.