Back in 2004 I was preparing to go to the Summer Olympics in Greece as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In preparation for what was potentially a hostile, dangerous, terroristy, post-9/11 environment, all Knight-Ridder newspaper chain employees headed overseas were required to undergo special security training. CPR. Dressing a wound. Minimizing the effects of a bomb blast. Dangling participles. The works.
At our summit in Washington, D.C. we were integrated into groups with reporters from all over the country, including the Philadelphia Inquirer.
During one session we paired up with a partner. The exercise trained us what to do if we happened upon a fallen colleague who was face down and not breathing. First, of course, roll them over onto their back.
But as I'm trying to turn the supposedly comatose Stephen A. Smith I sorta hit a speed bump. As in, something's in the way, preventing me from getting him onto his back. I push, Push, PUSH, but can get him no farther than his side.
Flabbergasted, Stephen A. "awakens" from the almost dead to give me/us an assist by removing the impediment.
"I know da problem," he says, producing from his back pocket and then shaking in a condescending way a double-stuffed wallet that would make George Costanza wince. "Ouwwull dis money."
I know, right?
It was a rough week for the sports media last week. We lost Harry Kalas and Merle Harmon and, in a way, John Madden. The release of Stephen A. and his fake 'hood brand of "baskit-bouwwull" from ESPN tilted the scales a tad more toward watchable sensibility.
But still, there are personalities - and I'm sure you can think of others - I would be happy never hearing from again ...
10. Richie Whitt - Time Warner Cable/Texas Brahmas: If you've heard him call a Brahmas hockey game, you've probably heard him refer to the puck as the ball.
9. Ric Renner - Fox Sports Net Southwest Anchor: Don't even have to To be fair, I won't even mention his hair.
8. Chris Berman - ESPN/Everything: He could ... go ... all ... the ... kill me now.
7. Bill Walton - ESPN/NBA: Sorry Robert Wilonsky, he's the original "terrrrrrr-rrrrrrrriiiii-ble."
6. Kenny Albert - Fox/NFL: He talks, I hear The Penguin.
5. Bryant/Greg Gumbel - HBOCBS/Snoozeville: How can two guys make sports so damn boring? Were
there their parents an egg carton and packing styrofoam?
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4. Rachel Nichols - ESPN/Reporter: "Tony Romo told me, quote, 'I'm going to try hard.' (Insert smug smile). Back to you."
3. Shannon Sharpe - CBS/NFL: Seriously, is that English he's
2. Tony Siragusa - Fox/NFL: Voice of Generation Idiocracy.
1. Dick Vitale - ESPN/College Basketball: Expired style. Zero substance.