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J-HO, ERIN, MAGIC & CUBAN'S 'RULE OF 3' Print E-mail
by Mike Fisher    Mon, Aug 4, 2008, 07:32 AM

Today we multi-task: Riding in Josh Howard’s car, listening to Mark Cuban’s advice, and looking up Erin Andrews’ skirt, all while remembering the long-ago days of both Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement and the feel of Jimmy Johnson’s shriveled calf muscle in the palm of my powerful hand. …

J-HO, MAGIC, PHILLS AND THE HART FAMILY: It’s high on my “Do You Remember Where You Were When. …’’ list: Nov. 7, 1991, in the Cowboys players’ lounge at Valley Ranch, watching TV in stunned silence alongside numerous members of the future NFL champions as Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV-positive.

In the aftermath, those in the room discussed the issue, and it was ostensibly a life-altering moment because to a man, there was a universal pledge: Safe sex. Always. Forever.

In the days that followed Magic’s historic announcement, men and women in sports, in America, all over the world, made themselves the same promise: Safe sex. Always. Forever.

And about three weeks later, it was all forgotten. Athletes – and most of the rest of us – plunged right back into illicit affairs and unwanted pregnancies and random sex and unwise decisions.

“Always’’ and “Forever’’ lasted three weeks.

Which brings me to Josh Howard and his drag-racing arrest. 

Forgetting for a moment basketball and trade value and the like, J-Ho’s decision to play Fast And Furious reveals him to be an intellectually immature man with a dangerously shallow memory. (You’d like to argue that once upon a time, you also drag-raced down a public street, and that we’ve all done it? Well, I haven’t. And if you have, you too are/were an intellectually immature man.)

Howard simply must be aware of the drag-racing death of fellow North Carolinian Bobby Phills. Or, at least, Howard simply must be capable of reading a newspaper, right?

PLANO, Texas -- Plano police say the driver of a car that ran a red light and caused a five-fatality accident was traveling at nearly 100 mph.

Services were held Friday for three members of a Plano family and for two foster children who died when their minivan was struck shortly after the five left church Sunday.

The Plano Star-Courier, in its online editions, reported data collected from an internal vehicle component indicated 46-year-old David Calhoun Jones of Metairie, La., was driving 98 mph.

Jones, hospitalized with serious injuries after the collision, has been charged with five counts of manslaughter, a second degree felony. Each count carried a maximum 20-year prison term.

Bond is $500,000 for Jones, who was being treated at Medical Center of Plano.

The victims were Geoff and Christy Hart, their 12-year-old daughter Rebekah, and two girls in foster care, 5-year-old Raven Lucas and 6-year-old Kavinnesha Palmer.

But Phills’ death was more than three weeks ago. So it’s somehow forgettable. The three-week clock on the Hart family’s death is ticking. … though maybe there is a way to help Josh (and the rest of us) remember.

Josh Howard cares deeply about community, about family, about children. Josh, look at the photos of the family, look into the faces of the parents who took in at-risk foster kids, look into the faces of the babies who were murdered by someone who decided his desire to drive 98 was more important than their right to live.

Seventeen years ago, countless numbers of people watched that Magic Johnson press conference, made a solemn vow. … and then three weeks later, broke their vow. And now they are dead.

“Always’’ and “Forever’’ should last more than three weeks.


MARK CUBAN’S THREE-WEEK RULE: Tony Cubes has a piece up at BlogMaverick that reads very much like his public response to the Howard arrest. In the column, Cuban says that in today’s news cycle, bad news only lasts three weeks before the media and the audience allow it to fade. (He also writes that good news seems to come with only a three-day cycle, which says something sad about all of us.)

Cuban never mentions Josh in the column. But again, reading between the lines, I think this posting serves as the owner’s response to the news of more J-Ho misbehavior.

ERIN ANDREWS IS HOPING CUBAN IS RIGHT: ESPN’s lovely Erin Andrews – despite performing sports’ least-necessary job, “sideline reporter’’ – is a star in every sense of the word. She is actress-pretty, model-tall-and-lean, J-School-smart and from blogger to athlete and everybody in between, quite well-liked.

But a recent incident in Milwaukee, and one newspaper reporter’s decision to give us a peek behind the Erin Andrews Curtain (titillating, eh?)  has pointed the spotlight at her in the way Lorenzo Lamas once pointed that red flashlight at people’s body parts on“Are You Hot.’’

The columnist, taking notes on Erin’s pregame behavior in the Cubs’ clubhouse, crams the following phrases into the article:“Blonde bombshell.’’ … “It babe.’’ … “Knows how to flaunt it.’’ … “Sauntered around.’’ …  “Flitting from one Cubs player to another.’’ … “Her skimpy outfit -- designed to accentuate her, um, positives -- had players leering at her.’’

And that is just the lead paragraph!

Fish’s Top 10 Hairy-Chested Takes on the above:

10. “Moments later,’’ Nadel writes, “the blonde reporter was chatting with Alfonso Soriano. At one point, she placed her hand suggestively on Soriano's left bicep.’’

And it is at this point in Nadel’s article that I’m starting to wonder who is really the sexually-twisted person in that locker room that day. Mike, what difference does it make if she’s a “blonde reporter’’? Does that add to your story? Does it add to her crime? Did she really touch Soriano “suggestively’’? What, like quarterback Jamie Foxx talked to Miami Sharks owner Cameron Diaz “suggestively’’? Because that’s a movie fantasy; it ain’t real life, and I refuse to believe a reporter “came on to’’ a player right there in front of everybody. So “suggestively’’ as to suggest what?

9. Furthermore, that sentence makes every other accusatory line in the story seem dubious. Isn’t it sexist to call somebody a “blonde bombshell’’? It is certainly sexist to refer to an adult woman as a “babe,’’ right? How does Nadel know she “knows how to flaunt it’’? Did she really … “saunter around,’’ or did she mill about, as all other reporters do?  “Flitting from one Cubs player to another’’ makes her sound like a busy tramp. Didn’t Nadel himself, and other reporters, also “flit’’ that day?  Should her outfit not “accentuate her, um, positives’’? And if “players leered at her,’’ isn’t that the players’ problem?

(Damn thing reads like one of them "bodice-ripper'' books that your mom buys while waiting in line at Kroger's.)

8. Having said all that, there is something to be said for pantsuits. But you know, Erin wears those all the time, too. … and that does nothing to stop bloggers from salivating all over their mouses.

7. This is the sexiest thing to happen in Milwaukee since Laverne & Shirley’s secret orgy with Lenny, Squiggy and “The Big Ragoo.’’

6. Ms. Andrews is absolutely right about one thing:  With her standing right there in the clubhouse, and writer Mike Nadel standing a few feet away and reacting negatively while “reporting’’ on her, he probably should’ve gone ahead and interviewed her.

5. Ms. Andrews is fibbing about something else, though. She has no reason to be surprised or “sad’’ and cannot be so ignorant as to believe that “ESPN puts me on the best games not because of the way I look, but because they trust me,’’ as she said.

That’s inaccurate. It’s TV. I know literally hundreds of men that are qualified, more qualified than Erin, to be the lead reporter at a sporting event. (With all due respect to Ms. Andrews, if she and I were working against each other, covering a story as beat reporters, I would send her crying back to the University of Florida Dazzlers dance team. Hey, I did it to Rick Gosselin; I can do it to her.) But those hundreds of otherwise-qualified men? They are all ugly.

4. Mr. Nadel is absolutely wrong about one thing: His suggestion that Andrews shouldn’t use her attractiveness isn’t just naïve – it’s hypocritical. In order to make connections, to get stories reporters use whatever weapons they have at their disposal. If an athlete is originally from Minnesota or Colorado or San Francisco, I try to bond with him by telling him that I used to live there. If he is a certain religion or race or height, or likes to cook or watch “Are You Hot,’’ I try to make that relate as well.

Should Erin Andrews be squeezing an athlete’s biceps? I don’t know; would it be OK if Brad Sham did that? (Answer: Yes. And nobody would think anything of it. I once felt Jimmy Johnson’s calf. Gave the shriveled old thing three or four good squeezes. True story. I’ll tell you about it sometime.)

3. P.S.: I also use my attractiveness. It rarely works. Maybe I need to shorten my skirts?

2. I do think Andrews’ rebuttal is quite sound. She insists she doesn’t know the nickname for a player that Nadel says she used, she swears she wasn’t feeling Soriano’s muscle but rather checking out a bone he’d broken in his hand, she promises manager Lou Pinella’s flattering comment about her appearance is due to him thinking of her like a “daughter.’’

Nadel’s ensuing visit with Deadspin  reveals him to be a seemingly balanced chap with a good sense of humor. But his initial piece reads like a salacious hunk of wishful thinking. I’m half-picturing him doing a Carl Spackler as he eyes Erin’s “sauntering’’ from behind the safety of his notepad.

“Bark like a dog, Ms. Andrews. … I will teach you the meaning of the word ‘respect.’’’

But in the same breath, she says she does not think of herself as a “sex object.’’ So maybe she’s not the best judge of what people “think of her as.’’

1 Good thing for Erin: This can all go away in three weeks if she’ll let it. (And maybe start wearing a snowmobile suit to games. Good thing for Josh: This can all go away in three weeks, too. … but maybe it shouldn’t.

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