Must be the genes

Sports blotter: "Brother to brother" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  March 12, 2008

OLDER, BUT DUMBER: Todd Marinovich, a sports-crime legend, has a younger brother who hopefully won’t follow in his felonious footsteps.

O, brother . . .
You don’t often see sports-crime legacies. While there may be genetic reasons for both Eli and Peyton Manning having made the NFL, genes have less pull in effecting similar rap sheets among brothers or father/son duos.

Few of the notable sports-crime stars of our day have had relatives in similar boats. We don’t, for instance, see a middleweight boxer Fred Tyson, younger brother of Mike, punching out casino cocktail waitresses in Vegas. Ricky Williams doesn’t have a pot-smoking baseball-player dad, and Lawrence Phillips didn’t pave the way for a heptathlete sister who got caught carrying an unregistered Glock into the Olympic village.

About the closest things we’ve had along those lines lately have been the busts of the sons of Dwight Gooden and Riddick Bowe a few years back — but in neither of those cases were the offspring themselves athletes. Hell, even Darryl Strawberry’s kid, a guard for the Phoenix Suns, has been an upstanding citizen. In fact, the junior Strawberry wanted so badly not to be like his dad that he changed his name from Darryl Jr. to D.J.

This past week, however, one Mikhail Marinovich — a freshman football player at Syracuse — was arrested, along with teammate Paul Chiara, for breaking into a sports-equipment room on campus.

Mikhail is the younger brother of 38-year-old former USC legend Todd Marinovich, an immensely talented quarterback who became one of the all-time NFL busts before succumbing to an even darker fate as an oft-arrested street-living drug addict. At last count, the elder Marinovich brother has been arrested six times since the end of his football-playing days. Some of his arrests have resulted in true innovations for the sports-crime-reporting genre — while most black athletes end up victimized by the profiling that goes on following routine traffic stops, popped for possession after bogus searches, Marinovich, the prototypical white Californian, was victimized by a routine skateboard stop. Once caught skating in a no-skateboarding zone, police found syringes and drugs in his guitar case and hauled him away.

Another time, Marinovich walked away from a halfway house and into fugitive status. He’s been busted for sex assault, for meth, even for possession of child pornography in a public restroom. In college, Marinovich was busted on a rape charge that went away, but was sufficiently unimpressed by the charges to brag upon graduation that he was the “Trojan who used the most Trojans.” Echoing the police-report witticisms of Bob “The Bad One” Probert, Marinovich has variously listed his occupation as “unemployed artist” and “anarchist.” His last legal case involved a guilty plea this past October for meth possession, misdemeanor syringe possession, and resisting arrest.

A sad case for sure. Now his brother might be jammed up before his career even starts. The charges so far are minor — misdemeanor criminal mischief for both players — but internal discipline may be on the way. “We are gathering all the information and we will handle the matter appropriately internally,” Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson said ominously.

Give Mikhail 10 points for the break-in. We’ll keep you posted on his progress.

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