Gaining perspective
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

Sometimes it's instructive to stand back, take a breath and examine the types of sports stories that create the most outrage. It's also good for a cheap laugh.

Take, for instance, the revelation that adamantly heterosexual Rockies reliever Todd Jones doesn't want a gay teammate.

Todd Jones
Todd fits the formula set by pioneers like Rocker and Wells.
Jones is taking heat for his comments, and he says his only mistake was making his views public, which earns him points for being a man of conviction.

So there's outrage, and there's disgust, and there's a whole lot of head-shaking about the Neanderthal attitudes of men who play a game for a living while performing various manly rituals such as towel-snapping and gay-bashing.

Rockies' management, of course, has been forced to make statements and issue pronouncements and generally deal with something they'd rather not.

They don't condone. They never thought. They can't believe.

At this point, you know the drill by heart. Player speaks mind. Media reacts with knee-jerk outrage. Team distances itself from player.

Nothing to see here. Time to move on to another big, topical outrage, like maybe the prevalence of greenies in big-league clubhouses.

Take, in another for instance, the case of Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy. For us to be stunned and disturbed by a married 47-year-old father of two who plays "The Fifth Quarter" at the local Phi Sig house with a 12-er of Natural Light and a few coeds well, come to think of it, feel free to be stunned and disturbed by that.

This Week's List

  • Look, I'm not saying there's a connection or anything, but it seems the entire office wasn't big on "mature SWF, loves fine wine, theater and haute cuisine": Back on March 3, Iowa State assistant coach Randall Brown resigned after he was charged with possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

  • OK, that sounds right but wait, first answer one question: It's big of Eustachy to admit to alcoholism -- and even bigger of his wife to serve as convenient press-conference prop but aren't there a lot of other places to practice alcoholism than college parties with girls less than half your age?

  • You know it's a big game when : You get the Kevin Harlan-Craig Sager combo deluxe.

  • One sign you're getting old: You watch the NBA Playoffs and find yourself jumping off the chair, windmilling your hands in front of your chest while yelling, "Traveling! Traveling! Don't they call traveling in this league anymore?"

  • Today's tip, tailored specifically for Alabama coach Mike Price: It has proven historically difficult to track down a woman known only as "Destiny" after she runs up four figures' worth of charges on your room service bill.

  • Best fact of the Price saga: The stripper who had his room key and his Discover card called room service and ordered one of everything, to go.

  • Best part of that fact: Room service, to go.

  • And since it was a Crowne Plaza and not Ed 'N Edna's Sleep Inn: There was no "Natty Light" on the menu.

  • Just for the heck of it: J.R. Phillips.

  • Man of the year: Maurice Cheeks, for helping out on the national anthem.

  • Question that arose after Cheeks' perfect save: How can a guy with that much class coach a team like the Blazers and not have at least a little of that class rub off on the less-savory members of his team?

  • The man has his deficiencies, but he knows how to play the game: Mark Madsen.

  • The terminally obvious John Thompson, describing Madsen: "He's not a leaper."

  • Just be glad they aren't managing your 401(k): Marlins manager Jeff Torborg and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who pitched A.J. Burnett till he dropped and then expressed amazement that such a healthy kid could break down so spectacularly.

  • Fact of life in the NBA: When the Kings are moving the ball as well as moving without it, nobody in the league is close.

  • One guy who needs to get in gear before he makes everyone rethink the lavish praise he earned in playoffs past: Mike Bibby.

  • And finally, one more time: "Hello, this is room service. Will this be for dine-in, take-out or delivery?"

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at



    Tim Keown Archive

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