She heard something pop

Plus, the troubles of the Delaware Blue Hens
By MATT TAIBBI  |  March 8, 2006

Assault

The world of sports journalism has for decades been one giant Willie Wonka chocolate factory for the tired cliché. And while sportswriters themselves are generally just literate enough to keep from confusing their products, the general public may be excused if it permits some cross-pollination. Last week, in the Albuquerque Tribune, the victim of a sports crime jumped exactly that shark, resulting in one of the more macabre innovations in the history of sports journalism.

Every sportswriter worth his toupee will openly recognize that “I heard something pop” is one of the 10 English-language phrases most important to his professional survival. As the required stock line of the sports-injury story (“I turned and planted my foot and I just heard something pop,” said El-Amin, who is now doubtful for the rest of the season), “I heard something pop” is every bit as crucial to sports-writing success as are cheesy post-game catch phrases like “I was just trying to make something happen” and “We’re really coming together as a team.”

Sadly, another well-worn cliché of sports journalism is the story of the college athlete arraigned on battery and false-imprisonment charges after an “altercation” outside a dorm with an ex-girlfriend who has just started dating a non-jock with respectable grades. For some reason, these stories often involve wide receivers in particular, and in recent years have tended also to be precipitated by the throwing of a cell phone at the ex-girlfriend’s head (see: Wisconsin Badger wideout Ernest Mason, Penn State receiver Maurice Humphrey, et al.). We had a variation on this tale occur last week in New Mexico, when UNM safety Aleem Harris was charged with four felony counts of “aggravated battery causing great bodily harm” and one count of kidnapping after confronting his ex outside a UNM student apartment complex.

According to police reports, Harris swung repeatedly at his ex, who had broken off their relationship two weeks earlier, and struck her in the nose with the heel of his hand. “I’ve never hit a woman before, but I’m about to fuck you up,” the safety reportedly yelled at his victim. The 6’3”, 225-pound Harris was eventually restrained by his teammate, Othellus Swift, who incidentally is now in line for the starting-safety job following Harris’s suspension.

The oddity in the case revolves around the police report. Quoting from the Albuquerque Times:

“She said she dodged several of HarrAssault, steroids, breaking and entering, and stolen goodsis’ swings, but her head hit the wall three times and she heard a loud pop when Harris struck her nose, the complaint states.”

Blues on the rampage
Pop quiz: name the only major college men’s-sports team in America with a female nickname (the NYU Violets don’t count). If you picked the University of Delaware, the alma mater of such sports legends as Rich Gannon and William “Jeff” Komlo (the onetime NFL quarterback who in retirement stole $1.4 million worth of South African stainless steel), you’re a genius. The Delaware Blue Hens are the only big program in the country whose male athletes carry the torch for a female mascot. The Wayland Baptist (Texas) Flying Queens, lest you forget, are a women’s team.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Blue Hawaiian, Dance, Monkey!: Taylor Newhall, Bad Bolts, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Sports, Big Ten Conference, National Football League,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MATT TAIBBI
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   SPORTS BLOTTER: DOWN, LINEMAN  |  September 01, 2010
    Brace yourselves, because this week we have, hands-down, the best sports-crime story of the year. Are you ready?
  •   SLAMMED: LANCE STEPHENSON'S COMEBACK GOES SOUTH  |  August 26, 2010
    Just a few months ago, Lance Stephenson was looking like basketball's feel-good comeback story.
  •   LET GO, METS  |  August 18, 2010
    As difficult as this summer has been for those of us counted among the Red Sox faithful, let's all agree: it would be a hell of a lot worse to be a New York Mets fan right now.
  •   FOOD FIGHTS  |  August 11, 2010
    At least it wasn't a home invasion.
  •   BUZZER BEATERS  |  August 04, 2010
    This is starting to get creepy.

 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI