HOLLYWOOD -- Bode Miller isn't still stewing about his medal-less performance at the Winter Olympics, but he is still upset about the media. While practicing his putting before taking part in Tuesday's ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, Miller chided reporters and felt sorry for fans.
"If the media did a more responsible job it would be easier for the fans," says Miller. "It's just hard for the fans to get a straight answer on anything when they are relying on a media that is trying to sell its story. There is a conflict of interest there. Fans want the truth but the truth doesn't always sell."
The truth in question was no doubt Miller's perceived reputation as a party animal after a "60 Minutes" feature showed Miller talking about celebrating and drinking the night before a World Cup race. The ensuing media coverage about Miller thrust him into the spotlight for what he believes is all the wrong reasons.
"I was out with my whole family and crew and we were all celebrating because there was so much to celebrate," explained Miller. "Everybody was leaving the next night so we went out and killed it. When I apologized I was apologizing to my family and friends. I didn't give a s---. I'm not going to apologize to my team because they were all out drinking with me. My sponsors knew what they were getting when they signed up. If not, they should do more research before they sign the contracts. That's something I've been clear about."
Miller thinks reporters should be more conscious about how their employers use the information they gather. He just doesn't see it happening.
"I hear journalists all the time say, 'Oh, I'm not that way' but when the s--- hits the fan, your responsibility to is to not put that s--- in the interview. Just cut it out or make an issue of it when they try to use it. But I've never seen a journalist stand up, put his job on the line, and say the integrity of a piece is being compromised because they are trying to sell it. It's bulls---."
One of the best things about moving the ESPN The Magazine pre-ESPY party from the Playboy Mansion to the historic Roosevelt Hotel's swanky Tropicana Bar was that at least it was a little more contained than Hef's sprawling Bel-Air estate.
There was more to be seen and overheard.
The evening started off with a boxing match with fighters who actually had to make their way through fans throwing back all those gratis Skyy Vodka martinis.
It's rough out there for a pugilist.
Among the first to arrive were Dwyane Wade, who left early with his posse of five to attend another event; Tracy Morgan ("Little Man"); and New York Giants DB Will Demps, who said he has already gotten into the habit of arriving five minutes early after playing a year for coach Tom Coughlin.
"Sometimes I think I'm five minutes early and somehow I'm still running late!" Demps said.
It was a good thing he did come early. From his vantage point in the Roosevelt lobby he got to see who was coming and going.
"This party is a 91/2," Demps said. "Not only do you have athletes, you got movie stars, ESPN stars -- everything!"
Other early arrivals were IRL racer Danica Patrick in an outfit that could best be described as Sears meets Frederick's of Hollywood. Patrick, who is rumored to be considering a switch from IRL to NASCAR, wore a turquoise top over some zebra-striped shorts.
ESPN loves Ms. Patrick, but this outfit needed to go ... fast.
Patrick, however, looked considerably better on ESPY day, wearing a form-fitting red and black silk dress from Dolce & Gabbana.
It's a good thing McConaughey is so good-looking. He was sporting a gray shirt that looked like it just came out of the laundry bin and a pair of jeans as he raced past reporters into the Kodak Theatre. In fact, it may have been the same outfit he wore at the pre-ESPY party!
The usually dapper Andre Benjamin looked good in his seersucker slacks and green shirt, but was sporting an unusual accessory. He was wearing a bandage on his right index finger, the result of an accident en route to the airport.
"I slammed my finger in the car door," Benjamin said. "It's pretty ugly."
Spotted by the boxing ring having a good laugh were "Lost" star Harold Perrineau and Taye Diggs, star of a new ABC drama called "Day Break"; Sergio Mora, winner of the inaugural "Contender" series on NBC that is now on ESPN, chatting it up with ESPN's Stuart Scott; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones, who confessed that "Garfield Part 2" was his favorite of the summer so far; Danny Clark of the Oakland Raiders on his celly trying to find a suit to wear to the ESPY Awards; and actor Kevin Sorbo, looking as though he wanted to climb into the ring and get his punch on.
After the boxing, guests filed into the pool area, which has become one of the most seen and be seen spots in Hollywood.
Who did we see?
Well, there was actor Haley Joel Osment, who didn't see any dead people, but did see an opportunity to squeeze in on a summit meeting with some up-and-coming NFL stars who faced each other in this year's Rose Bowl, a boy band convert and People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."
Osment, who never stopped smiling all night, was joined by cover boy Matthew McConaughey, former Texas quarterback Vince Young, former USC quarterback Matt Leinart and singer Nick Lachey, who managed to break away from new squeeze Vanessa Minnillo of "Entertainment Tonight" just long enough to bond with his boyz.
ESPY winner Shaun Alexander had the largest posse of the night. According to a member of his group, Alexander met some of the guys in Las Vegas en route to L.A.
Behind the Scenes
Movie mogul Jerry Bruckheimer flew in from Tokyo just in time to attend the ESPYS where he accepted the award for Best Movie for his production of "Glory Road." Bruckheimer's latest release, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," opened to a record-breaking $132 million. At a recent dinner with the movie's star, Johnny Deep, the two received regular updates on the latest box office estimates. "With each new course came a new number," said Bruckheimer. "It was unbelievable." But would you believe that one of Hollywood's most powerful players just recently started using a Blackberry? "My wife hates it," he quipped.
Reggie Bush arrived on the red carpet to the shrieks and squeals of the fans in the bleachers. After some quick chit chat, Bush learned he had won the ESPY for Best Male College Athlete. "This is better than the Heisman," said Bush. "It's skinnier and it weighs less."
Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis and Ike Taylor of the Super Bowl champion Steelers were taking questions from the media on their ESPY win for Best Team when teammate Joey Porter joined in and took over the mic. When asked about Steve McNair's trade to the Ravens, Porter quickly jumped into what he called "PC mode" and started to give a PC answer. But he stopped himself, cleared his throat and let the real Joey Porter speak. "I don't give a damn whose coming back! He's just another player," he said with a smile.
At Tuesday's ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, participants had the chance to win either a Yukon Denali SUV or $50,000 in private jet time with a hole-in-one on selected holes. For actors and athletes with money and cars to boot, which prize was more enticing?
Walter Ray Williams: "The jet time sound intriguing but I have no idea if I would be able to take advantage of it. I get some time off in the offseason but I spend some of that on horseshoe tournaments and a few golf tournaments here and there. With my schedule I'm not sure how practical a jet would be so I would probably take the car. My wife doesn't travel much so I don't think she would care either way. She might take the jet somewhere to catch a cruise. She likes to do that."
Bode Miller: "I can't rationalize spending that kind of money on a jet so I would like to win that. The prices are so crazy on normal airlines that the jet would come in pretty handy."
Kevin Sorbo: "The private jet, even though once you use it it's gone. I'm kind of set with SUVs with three stepkids. My SUV quota is filled. I like the jet. I just got a place in Park City so I would use it to go up there. It would make the trip nice and easy! Commercial airlines are hell right now."
Vince Neil: "Probably the Denali because I already have a jet!"
Marc Bulger: "I won a car at the Pro Bowl and gave it to my dad. So I would probably take the jet. That sounds pretty appealing. I'd probably use it to travel back and forth between St. Louis and take my family to the games."
Forget two-sport athletes -- how about three? Walter Ray Williams holds claim to 41 Professional Bowlers Association titles and six national horseshoe titles. Does he have the long and short game to threaten Tiger Woods?
"I'm a decent golfer but not nearly as good at it as bowling or horseshoes," says Williams. "I'm a 4 or 5 handicap. I've played a couple celebrity tournaments here and there and always have a lot of fun. I took it up a little later in life and picked up some bad habits that I'm trying to correct."
With his mastery of bowling and throwing horseshoes, if Williams had put forth the same determination and practice towards the greens, would he be on the PGA Tour instead of the PBA Tour?
"I don't know. Everything is different. I learned horseshoes when I was young so I think that helped me with my bowling, without having to practice as much. With golf, if I had learned at a young age it would have helped. Would I have been Tiger Woods? I don't know. But it is definitely something I enjoy doing and have a lot of fun."
Looking wide-eyed but confident was ESPY winner Jason McElwain, who spent a considerable amount of time in the lobby scoping the scene. McElwain, the autistic high school basketball player who came off the bench to score an amazing 20 points in four minutes -- including six 3-pointers -- for Greece-Athena High School near Rochester, New York -- said he was still playing ball and hoped to lead his team to a state championship next season.
Yolanda Adams, who closed the show along with Bebe Winans and others, is best known as a Grammy-winning gospel artist. But even though it was kind of odd seeing her at the ESPYS, Adams let it be known that she does indeed have game.
"I'm into all sports," said Adams, who is six feet tall. "I absolutely love all sports. My dad was a junior high coach so we were at everything. We were at the football games, the basketball games, the track and field events. We were there. That's why I'm such a golf fanatic right now."
Adams, however, didn't use her height to score points on the basketball court.
"No, I played tennis before Venus and Serena even got out there!"
Another surprise sighting on the red carpet was D-list comedian Kathy Griffin, whose Bravo reality show "My Life on the D-List" has been nominated for an Emmy.
"I don't even know why I'm here," Griffin said. "I don't know anything about sports! I just like to make fun of athletes. I'm here to gather material."
Griffin, did, however, have some ulterior motives for attending the ESPYS.
"The men are so hot," she said. "I want a really twisted three-way with Allen Iverson and Shaquille O'Neal."
Sadly, neither was around.
ESPY presenter Chris "Ludacris" Bridges came backstage to plug "Heart of the Game," the documentary film he narrated about a high school girls basketball team in Seattle, and his new CD, which is set to drop in September. Bridges also expressed his amazement over the contents of the ESPY gift bag.
"Man, they got diamonds in there!"
Daniel Dodd, Miki Turner and Kristen Fischer contributed to this notebook.