Athletes’ tawdry misdeeds never seem to end. They don’t end for the rest of humanity either, but normal folks don’t command the big bucks or the spotlight.
Recent incidents involving Dennis Rodman, the ex-NBA player most famous for the colored hair and tattooed appearance, and NFL QB Ben Roethlisberger, though, again stretch the imagination. This coming just as the serial affairs of Tiger Woods are leaving the public consciousness.
Rodman, whose comical/tawdry image belied outstanding basketball talent (he won NBA titles with Detroit and Chicago), apparently is in the middle of a huge child support mess in California. Rodman reportedly is under a court judgment to pay $50,000 monthly to his estranged wife and child. Someone I follow on Twitter (@coachjenyoung, from Orange County, Calif.) pleaded for information this week on Rodman to help enforce the judgment.
Having been somewhat up close and personal with Rodman, I feel a connection. I’m a former resident of The OC, and I once interviewed the illustrated man there. He wasn’t hard to find, and not just for appearance reasons. Everyone who has been to a trendy restaurant or sports bar there has a “Rodman sighting” story, and they are likely all true. I tracked him down at a Newport Beach waterfront restaurant in the late ’90s and grilled him about former teammate Michael Jordan. I was hoping to gain some insight as to Jordan’s possible return to the NBA (after his second retirement from the Chicago Bulls).
“Don’t know it, bro,” he told me. Rodman was very accommodating, and did not seem annoyed by an impromptu grilling by a media member in so-called non-media territory. But anyone who lived in The OC then heard plenty about parties at his Newport Beach home, which often drew attention from police. And now there’s a new tabloid-style report of another Rodman run-in with police in The OC. (For the record, the @dennisrodman verified site on Twitter lists residence as Miami.)
Roethlisberger, who has two Super Bowl rings with Pittsburgh at age 28, stands accused of sexual assault after a recent incident at a bar in Milledgeville, GA. I must say this has a cheap ring. Hard to imaging Peyton Manning or Matt Ryan putting themselves in such a position. Even Brett Favre, a notorious bar patron early in his career, has avoided such publicity as his career extends. It’s possible to have fun and hang out with the common man without encountering such trouble.
No comparison between Big Ben’s scrape with the law and Rodman’s abyss, of course. But there’s always plenty of trouble to be had for anyone, especially those with famous faces and deep pockets. Smart people avoid it.