New year, new issues for Mr. Manners

Originally Published: January 5, 2012
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

Santonio HolmesAP Photo/Lynne SladkyIs it wrong for a team captain to show his frustration with losing? Mr. Manners is here to help.

The new year is upon us. I trust your resolution was to always behave with the utmost decorum. It's time for another edition of Mr. Manners!

Dear Mr. Manners,

I am the captain and No. 1 wide receiver of a professional football team. We thought we were going to be really good, but we ended up 8-8. During the last week of the season I argued with my quarterback (who has been terrible) and ended up getting pulled from the game. I am so frustrated with losing, but I am being ripped for it. Am I in the wrong?

-- Santonio H. (New Jersey)

Mr. Manners

Dear Jersey Blues,

Right or wrong, sports are about winning. As the captain of the team, the pressure is on you to lead the team to victory. When things aren't going well, tensions can rise. Don't beat yourself up about it. You are just lucky that this happened in the last week of the season. Had you been pulled from a game earlier, it would have impacted the fantasy teams of millions of people. There would be no excuse for that heinous sin.

-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

I am a college football coach who just took a new job in Tempe, Arizona. The players on my previous team got all upset because I promised them I would be there for a long time, then just up and left with zero warning and without even saying goodbye or explaining myself. (However, in my defense, I did have a guy forward them a farewell text message while I was flying to my new job.) I'm confused here. Did I do something wrong? I had been at my previous job for nearly a year! I mean, I'm a college football coach. Since when am I expected to act honorably?

-- Todd G. (Tempe)

Dear Ticked Todd,

It's a difficult situation. On one hand, you have one of the scummiest professions in the sports world. A certain lack of ethics is expected just to survive. It's the culture -- a culture that you did not create. On the other, you are also a grown man and have certain expectations that come with that, such as not being really cowardly. It's a tough spot. However, at the end of the day, all a man has is his reputation and dignity. Nothing else matters, unless a man also has a sizable bank account. So you should probably be fine.

-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

I coach a hockey team in New York. Following a recent outdoor game we played in Philadelphia, I suggested that the refs were in collusion with the league and the network broadcasting the game to make it go into overtime. I later apologized for saying that publicly, but I was still fined $30,000. How can I better express my regrets to the league?

-- John T. (New York)

Dear Jawing John,

The fine of $30,000 is significant. Suspiciously significant, especially since you apologized -- which is all a man of refined manners can be expected to do. If you truly believe the league is rigging things, I suggest that you hold a press conference to find out what they are doing with this 30 grand. Are they using it to hire more writers to punch up the script for the remainder of the season? Have they budgeted for some CGI wizards to add Sidney Crosby to the action? A well-mannered man is polite ... unless there is a truth that must be exposed. Go for it! Speak truth to power!

-- Mr. Manners

P.S. -- Mr. Manners and this website may not be held liable for the future fines of much greater amounts that you will most definitely be given by following this course of action. Please sign this portion of my letter and return it to my legal counsel (self-addressed, stamped envelope enclosed) before proceeding. Thank you.

Dear Mr. Manners,

I am a 21-year-old basketball player in my second year in the NBA. I don't think my coach likes me. In fact, he recently sent me home before a game. I think I want to be traded. What should I do?

-- DeMarcus C. (Sacramento)

Dear DeMarcus in DeSpair,

I am an expert on human behavior -- specifically, manners -- and board certified by the Sports Manners Institute on Manners in Sports and founder of the sports manners think tank Mr. Manners Sports Manners Think Tank for America. However, there are some sports manners issues that require me to step aside for a higher power. If I am not mistaken, the one known as "The Jimmer" plays basketball in your same town. Have a meeting with your coach and The Jimmer. Ask The Jimmer for advice. The Jimmer's wisdom is surpassed by no man. At the very least, it will lighten the mood with your coach by having a laugh over the fact that a grown man is named "Jimmer."

-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

I am a tennis player. Perhaps the most dominant of my generation. I recently said that while I am addicted to tennis, I don't really like playing ... or exercising ... or doing anything physical. For some reason, this upset a lot of people. Why? I was just being honest.

-- Serena W. (Milan)

Dear Sleepy Serena,

The idea of a great athlete not loving what she does is very hard for many sports fans to comprehend. Most sports fans feel that if they had been blessed with physical gifts, not only would they be professionals, but they would work hard, take nothing for granted, go 100 percent every day, et cetera, et cetera, on to infinity with scrappy cliches.

Of course, that is not the case. A person's reality is his reality. For many people, a job eventually becomes just another job, even if it is a high-profile or glamorous job. Fans envy you, while you envy fans. You might dream of laying on your couch, covered in chip crumbs and queso dip, watching your 11th consecutive hour of television. It seems like an amazing life. But, trust us -- it's not. Especially when you can't find the remote.

-- Mr. Manners

DJ Gallo is the founder of He has written a book and written for Comedy Central, The Onion and ESPN The Magazine. He co-hosts the Page 2 Podcast and has appeared on ESPNews. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.

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