DJ Gallo's Offseason Pigskinpalooza
Brian Cushing rewon The Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Some are saying this is a tragedy, for: WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN?!? THAT IT'S OK TO TAKE PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS?!?
Umm no? But what do I know? Perhaps most American households are very different from what I'm used to. Perhaps they are something like this:
Father: "I want you to hear this from me: Brian Cushing tested positive for PEDs."
Kid: "PEZ? I love PEZ! Where is my SpongeBob one? I want PEZ now!"
Father: "No, not PEZ. PEDs. Performance-enhancing drugs. I thought you should know."
Father: "Do you want to talk about this?"
Father: "Brian Cushing testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs."
Kid: "Brian Cushing? That's a funny name. 'Cushing' sounds like 'tushing.'"
Father: "But it's not funny. He's a linebacker for the Houston Texans, and he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs."
Kid: "I never heard of him."
Father: "Well, I'm afraid you will. He did a bad thing. And I don't want you going to school and taking PEDs with your friends just because Brian Cushing got away with it."
Kid: "He got away with it?"
Father: "Well, no. Not really. He got caught. And his reputation is ruined. And that's a good thing. That's what he deserves. But, you see, they let him keep his rookie of the year award, as voted on by The Associated Press."
Kid: "My friend is on steroids because he has asthma. Is he going to get in trouble?"
Father: "No, that's different. This is much more serious."
Kid: "Can I have PEZ now?"
Father: "Look, you're not understanding the gravity of the situation. This is just what I feared. And you are only an 8-year-old girl. Where is your older brother? He's at even greater risk."
Kid: "I think he's in his room. Gimme PEZ, please!"
The father gives her PEZ, goes upstairs and enters his 15-year-old son's room.
Father: "Tell me, son -- what are the kids saying at school about Brian Cushing?"
Father: "My God. Is it that bad? Tell me the truth, son. Have you already taken steroids? Has Brian Cushing's keeping the defensive rookie of the year award led you to illegal drugs? I won't be mad at you. It's the fault of Cushing and the AP. But we need to get you help."
Father: "Son. Speak to me. This can still be fixed. I am your father."
Son: "Oh! Hey, Dad. Didn't see you there. I was listening to my iPod. What's up?"
Father: "Whew! There may still be time to save you. Son, I need to know: What are the kids at school saying about Brian Cushing?"
Son: "Oh. You mean the Texans player who got busted for performance-enhancing drugs?"
Father: "Yes, son. Brian Cushing. That's the one."
Son: "Nothing really. I don't know. He plays for the Texans. I don't think too many people care."
Father: "But what about the fact that he's been allowed to keep The Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year award? Surely that has led some of your friends on the team to take performance-enhancing drugs so that they may also one day win The Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year award, yes? It's the top award for rookies on the defensive side of the ball."
Son: "Well, there is one thing we've been talking about."
Father: "Yes. Go on. You can tell me."
Son: "The stuff he got busted for?"
Father: "Yes, yes. They sell it in the school parking lot? It's cheap? You're taking it, too?! You can get it for free by trading sex?! What?! WHAT IS IT?! TELL ME, SON!"
Son: "It's like some kind of chick drug. That you take to get pregnant. It's so funny. He was on a women's fertility drug! Ha! He's never going to live that down. He's like Womanny Ramirez. They're calling him Brianna Cushing. It's not that clever, but I can't think of anything better. Anyway a women's fertility drug. Man, what an idiot."
Father: "So you're not on steroids?"
Son: "No. Not on steroids."
Father: "Thank God. It's good that I had this conversation with you. And, remember, if there's anything you ever need to talk to me about -- especially about how athletes are tempting you to do wrong -- you can always tell me."
Son: "OK. Oh, that reminds me -- about Ben Roethlisberger? He was suspended by the NFL, right?"
Father: "Yes. For four to six games."
Son: "So that means I shouldn't do anything to get accused of sexually assaulting women, right?"
Father: "You got it."
Son: "OK, because I couldn't remember."
DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is available from only the finest bargain book retailers. His next book project will be released soon. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.