Like Ben Roethlisberger, I pounded this out.
I preface what I’m about to say with the following anecdote.
Upon my arrival in the 305 Saturday night, I go to stock the fridge at a local Publix that doubles as a sort of who’s who gathering for Coral Gables’ finest shopping talent. This place is just down the street from the University of Miami, and… let’s just say it’s not lacking in the melon department.
Think Ugg Boots, sweats, aviators. You know the crowd. You love the crowd. This crowd may or may not have you seriously considering a job in the bag boy industry.
I pull into the parking lot. Pull right up next to this freighter of a pristine black Bentley that could feed half the Third World on the proceeds from its rims alone. I check out the Bentley, stroll past the Salvation Army volunteer jangling his bucket of spare change in a vain attempt to guilt the oldster in front of me into a dollar or two.
I make it to the sliding glass doors without severe neck strain. A miracle. Walk through the automatic open and… boom.
Right on cue stands in front of me a stunning brunette fresh out of the melting pot. She’s wrapped in a tight, ride-up skirt and rocking four-inch stilettos. She looks like she doesn’t care about anything. She’s fidgeting with her extensions.
This is a freaking Publix.
Now give me money. Give me a foot of height. Give me two Super Bowl rings. Give me a famous face. Give me a railed-off club booth. Give me a posse. Have that posse egg me on. Make it rain.
Phenomenal… Granted you can keep your Big Ben to yourself.
If this most basic function – self-control of the lowest order – is the type of basic function that so eludes you, you’re screwed.
In the past week, two stories have added to the growing body of evidence that there does in fact exist a correlation between the downfall of pants and the downfall of careers. Right around the time former Charger corner Antonio Cromartie was traded to the Jets Thursday, reports surfaced that the Pro Bowler was dealing with a full docket of legal trouble – $800 in unpaid traffic fines (no problem), a couple of court no-shows for said traffic fines (no problem), a backlog of unpaid child support (problem).
When asked about his baby mama issues, Cromartie told New York media, “I have seven kids that live in five different states. I made some wrong decisions my first two years.”
This line made me laugh at first – Shawn Kemp Quotes for a thousand, Alex – and then it just made me sad. To be precise, Cromartie has “at least” seven children with six different women, as reported by Gregg Rosenthal of NBC Sports.
Not a good sign when there’s an “at least” in the answer to the got kids? question.
Cromartie is only 25. He’s got years of legal battles, angry phone calls, endless headaches and sleepless nights in front of him. He’s four years removed from a day job as Tallahassee’s big man on campus. Now he’s bordering on Travis Henry territory.
We know only one thing about this border: it’s more dangerous than India-Pakistan.
Speaking-of-places-you-don’t-wanna-be brings us to breaking story No. 2. I’m speaking specifically of one Milledgeville, Ga.
Saying that Milledgeville nightlife can’t hold its own with Miami nightlife is like saying A.C. Green can’t hold his own with Magic Johnson and James Worthy (take this in whichever direction you’d like).
And yet Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger managed to get himself into a pickle. Another big pickle.
Apparently he was not scared off by the Cromartie reports, or didn’t see them. Because hours later he found himself in a little kerfuffle with an attractive young lady at Buffington’s nightclub. By “kerfuffle” I mean, of course, that he forced himself on her, assaulted her sexually, sent her for treatment at a local hospital. Allegedly.
My rule for the single woman-star athlete encounter: the star athlete gets two strikes. With the first, we grit our teeth, suck down the sick feeling in our stomachs and chalk a crazy night up to gold digging or a-drink-too-many gone awry.
For this see Exhbit A, ex-Cowboys lineman Erik Williams, who was lured into a grotesque faux-sex scandal that was in fact 100 percent fabricated by a loon opportunist.
Fine. She’s a liar. We buy it. You learn your lesson. You never let it happen again, because now you know without a shadow of a doubt that your Armani suits, gold medallions, and three-lettered Shield are a big red bullseye.
As you, reader, are probably already aware, though, this is strike two for Roethlisberger, who’s always been out in the open – like Vegas strip open – about his post-sunset endeavors. He’s under legal fire from Andrea McNulty, a woman who’s suing the hell out him for alleged rape in 2008.
Roethlisberger denies both claims – as opposed to when big shot celebs play the Hell-yeah-it-was-me card.
Maybe I’m being naïve. Maybe when you have fame and money and more fame, this kind of stuff is inevitable. Maybe if you grow up in a poor ‘hood without parents, you just have no way of knowing better.
But 7 kids, 6 women, 5 states? Damn, that looks more like a box score than a family.
So if you’re Cromartie, if you’re Big Ben, if you’re Tiger, if you’re Kobe, if you’re Shawn Kemp, if you’re Michael Irvin, or if you’re anybody stupid enough to go down the same road… a word of advice from a nobody who will never truly understand what you’ve been through: don’t talk to strangers.
Especially the ones that wave the free candy. Ask Ben or Antonio. They’ll tell you that nothing’s free.