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Pure idiocy

Sports blotter: "Genius of the year" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  November 7, 2007


Genius of the year
We’ve had some real winners light up the crime blotter this year — from Jose Offerman’s bat rampage to Elijah Dukes’s magic cell phone and the marital love bites of Julio “Chompers” Mateo, there’s been a bumper crop of dumb jocks in handcuffs. But we may have to give an award of some kind for this year’s saddest and perhaps most pointless crime to University of Iowa wide receiver Dominique Douglas, whom astute readers will note is making his second appearance in these pages this fall.

Just a few weeks back, “Blotter” recorded the exploits of Douglas and fellow Iowa wideout Anthony Bowman, who logged on to school computers using their own names and then used stolen credit cards to buy $1500 worth of crap from stores with names such as Sneakerhead and Hatworld. They were busted practically before they got up from their chairs and were immediately suspended from the team.

That said, this is D-1 football, and Douglas did lead the Hawkeyes in receptions this past season, which means that, in all likelihood, he would have gotten a second chance pretty damn soon, had he kept his nose clean. But alas, it was not to be, as a few weeks ago Douglas apparently decided there were three DVDs he just had to have at an Iowa City Wal-Mart. On October 11, a store employee observed Douglas stuffing the DVDs under his shirt, and the young man was busted with what police are calling a fifth-degree misdemeanor. I didn’t even know they had five degrees of misdemeanors, but apparently that’s what they call the theft of $30.02 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart.

Iowa head coach and former Bill Belichick assistant Kirk Ferentz was somewhat at a loss over the Douglas news, noting sagely that he had already suspended the player and therefore could not do so again. “It doesn’t change things,” said Ferentz. You can’t double suspend anybody. I’m just going to let the legal system run its course.”

This story is even stupider than it reads here. The arrest of Douglas was an absurdly complicated affair, given that all this was over $30.02 worth of crap. The wideout ended up barricading himself in his dorm room when cops came to arrest him, apparently in the belief that if he did not open the door, the police would go away. (That, or he just wanted time to watch his DVDs.) Anyway, shortly after his arrest, he was released when former partner-in-crime Bowman sprung him on a $500 bond.

Eleven Iowa football players have now accounted for 15 arrests since spring practices, an almost Florida State–worthy clip. Give Douglas an extra 20 points for this offense — not for severity, but for stupidity. That brings him up to 51 for the year . . .

Raider great sentenced
Okay, maybe not a Raider great exactly, but Todd Marinovich. The former USC star/Al Davis favorite got five years probation and a year in a Laguna drug-treatment facility after his latest bust, an August 26 drug rap. You might remember that one: Todd got chased by police for skateboarding in a no-skateboarding area and was eventually caught hiding in a carport with a gram of meth in his guitar case. If this sounds like the ultimate fictional tale of a Californian ex-athlete gone bad, you’re right. Except it’s true.

Marinovich has been busted almost as many times as Lawrence Phillips — and in some of the same parts of the world, ringing up a 1997 charge for growing weed, as well as several heroin-possession busts, usually in the LA area. He’s also been arrested for sexual assault and has been caught in a public restroom in possession of child pornography. In that latter incident, incidentally, he was only caught after fleeing the scene on a child’s bicycle. Humorously, I guess, he has variously listed his occupation in police reports as “unemployed artist” and “anarchist.” Marinovich was also arrested for rape while still at USC, and was sufficiently chastened by that experience to brag upon graduation about being the Trojan who’d used the most Trojans. Not even fellow alum O.J. Simpson ever sank that low.

Now that he’s in treatment, it’s time to set the over/under on the number of months before his next arrest. I’m putting it at two and a half and taking action. Send your bets to my e-mail address.

Flat-out gross
Take your pick, if you’re deciding which was the most loathsome sports arrest of the past week. You can’t lose if you chose “Stormin’ ” Norman Bounds, a 58-year-old former Buffalo Braves draftee and Continental Basketball Association player who showed up at his arraignment with an aluminum walker. He was arrested for abducting his former girlfriend and threatening her so that she wouldn’t go to the police. Bounds, who played for the Rochester Zeniths of the CBA in the ’70s, once did two-to-six after raping an ex-girlfriend and holding their two-year-old son at gunpoint for three hours before surrendering to police. Guess they don’t hand out very long sentences for that sort of thing in upstate New York.

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  Topics: Sports , Big Ten Conference , Joseph Carroll , Todd Marinovich ,  More more >
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