Maybe the nonstop adulation they receive on social media has made them lazy when spinning their tales, because they think everyone will just snap up the explanation, smile and beg for a retweet.
Or maybe it’s just us growing cynical, weary of all those times we’ve been hoodwinked.
Regardless, I know this: Athletes just don’t seem to lie like they used to.
When was the last time you were actually fooled by a fib?
For me, it was falling for the following statement: “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
That was Rafael Palmeiro — complete with infamous finger wag — in front of Congress in 2005. I bought it. All of it. Maybe it was the Frank Beamer-esque preamble he used (“I’ll say this, gang…) Maybe it was that pinstriped suit and polka-dotted tie. Maybe it was that dashing mustache Raffy wore. Or maybe it was just that Raffy didn’t look as big as those other guys who had hit all those home runs.
Whatever the reason, his explanation was good enough for me…until five months later, when he failed a PED test.
Man, did I feel betrayed. I fired off a sanctimonious column for the next day’s paper. It was angry. It was mournful. It was melodramatic.
And in hindsight, it was silly, because I never should have bought the lie in the first place. At least not 100 percent.
All this leads us to the latest story spun by an athlete on the hot seat. This one may or may not be as important as the one I fell for. Raffy had the Congress element, but this one involves a defending Heisman Trophy winner’s eligibility.
Here is SI’s Andy Staples describing Johnny Manziel’s explanation for how all those autographs got to the convention:
Manziel talked about his meeting with the autograph broker in Alabama during our July 26 interview. Manziel said it happened shortly after the team arrived at its hotel on Nov. 9, as he and teammate [Ryan] Swope were getting settled into their room.
“Alabama game, a guy walks into my hotel room with me,” Manziel said. “I opened the door. I had a big bag on my shoulder. I opened the door real wide — he kind of sticks his foot in the door. He kind of comes in with me. ‘Hey man, will you sign this bag of stuff?’ Swope is in the bathroom. He walks in and sees me mid-signing this guy’s stuff.”
I asked Manziel if Swope chased off the broker.
“Swope was like, ‘Hey, man. What are you doing in here?’” Manziel said. “He said ‘Oh, he said he would sign some stuff for me.’ I’m like, ‘I mean, I didn’t really say I would sign it for you. But I’ll do it for you. Get the hell out and it won’t be too big of a deal.’”
So that’s how it went down, eh? Stranger with a big sack o’ stuff barged into your room, and you just started signing?
Come on, Johnny Football. Hope you at least wagged your finger when talking to Staples.
QUESTION FOR THE BLOG CROWD: You’ve heard my story. Let’s hear yours. Who was the last athlete to successfully pull the wool over your eyes?
Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum gave it all he had, but it won’t be enough to get him on the field for the Aug. 31 opener against Alabama. Exum, who has embraced the nickname “Centaur” bestowed upon him by our own Andy Bitter, needs a few more weeks to recover from his multiple knee injuries suffered in a pickup basketball game in January.
Look for Exum to return sometime around the start of ACC play in late September.
-Andy has a bunch of notes from the first day of Tech practice.
-Doughty has a feature on UVa redshirt freshman quarterback Greyson Lambert.
-Christiansburg’s Matt Hagan nabs his fourth NHRA Funny Car win of the season.
-Northside defensive lineman DeAnthony Muse has committed to Richmond.
-A-Rod will continue to play while appealing his suspension that runs through the end of 2014.
-David Chester clubs two homers to lead Salem past Wilmington.
DUMB JOKE O’ THE DAY
Courtesy of this site:
Three pieces of string walk into the bar, but the bartender says, “sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.” Angrily they leave, but outside, one of the strings has an idea. They twist together and tie themselves and reenter the bar.
“Hey,” says the bartender. “Aren’t you those pieces of string?”
“No, I’m a frayed knot.”
Chief Wiggum: I’d like to help you ma’am, but, heh heh, I’m afraid there’s no law against threatening letters.
Marge: [indignantly] I’m pretty sure there is.
Wiggum: Hah! The day I take cop lessons from Ma Kettle…
Lou: Hey, she’s right, Chief. [shows Chief Wiggum a book called "Springfield Law"]
Chief Wiggum: Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to [FILL IN THE BLANK].