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Best of Boston 2009

Just like old times

Two sports-crime all stars get busted again. Plus, another Bengal drops the ball.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 15, 2009


THIS IS YOUR FACE ON DRUGS Former USC and LA Raiders QB was once heralded as a golden god. Last month, he was arrested for the 10th time after missing drug court. 

Well, it's been a few months, so it's about time to check in on our old pal Todd Marinovich. The poor bastard has been bouncing back and forth off the walls of fate for years now, suffering some nine different arrests, most of them drug-related, since his disappointing-ass football career came to an ignominious end.

Marinovich hit bottom in 2005, when police nabbed him in a public bathroom with drug paraphernalia; he fled the scene, miserably, on a child's bicycle, only to be sacked a few blocks later. Upon booking, he listed his occupation as "anarchist" and "unemployed artist."

Since then, Marinovich has been in and out of various court-mandated drug programs. Two years ago, he was stopped for skateboarding in a section of Newport Beach, California, where it's illegal. Marinovich fled the cops, naturally, and was caught hiding in a carport, with a guitar case containing a small amount of meth and a syringe. He was sentenced to five years probation and more drug treatment.

Problem is, Marinovich failed to show at a recent rehab-progress review, which violated his parole. At press time, he was being held in the Orange County Jail without bail.

The scariest thing about Marinovich is how he looks now in his mug shot. Do not do speed, children (and I speak from experience). It will make you lose your hair and your teeth. After about six months of hard meth use, you'll go from being a strapping, healthy youngster to looking like Jason Statham on a hunger strike. The next stage after that is looking like Marinovich looks today. Give him six points for the parole beef, and say a prayer for the man.

Another perennial sports-crime all star, Zach Randolph, got busted again, which has to be good news for the LA Clippers, given that they still get to pay him about $50 million between now and 2011. This time it was just a DUI — at least he wasn't waking a drunken, passed-out woman up with his schlong. That allegedly happened in Portland a few years back, and although police eventually dropped those charges against him, I advise anyone here who has the time to read that complaint someday. It's a real doozie.

Randolph is one of the sports-crime standouts of the NBA, with arrests for everything from stealing pants, to gun possession, to battery, to breaking a teammate's eye socket, to DUI to, well, DUI again. Give him 25 points for this one, but keep an eye out — he's got a long summer ahead. Clippers players always do.

We're entering what used to be a sacred time of year on the sports calendar, that being the annual Cincinnati Bengals pick of an underachieving college athlete with "character" issues. Year in and year out, the Bengals tried to game the system by drafting talented guys who slid because of their arrest records. It worked out fine for a while, until the thugs started getting arrested.

So the Bengals reversed course and started targeting stand-up guys in the draft. One of those, a hard-hitting Michigan cornerback named Leon Hall, was selected by Cincy in 2007 and hailed as the next Ty Law. Hall had no off-the-field red flags — his worst knock was a supposed lack of top-end speed — so the Bengals drafted him as part of their new "good guys" policy.

Well, last weekend Hall got busted for a DUI, and even managed to do it on camera — police video of the incident was gloatingly released to the media by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Although it is tempting to joke about the Bengals' arrest record, it's actually been nearly a year since the team had any trouble with the law. One imagines the Hall case will cause a serious re-tightening of anuses in the Bengals' draft room, however, and will scare them off players like Boston College's B.J. Raji, who otherwise might have been a good fit. Give Hall the usual 25 DUI points, and let's see if Cincy's luck takes a turn back for the worse.

When he's not googling "odd Todd" and "Zach's back," Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached at

Related: Groundhog Day, Hot box, Blount's blunts, More more >
  Topics: Sports , AFC North Division, AFC West Division, American Football Conference,  More more >
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 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

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