Sports cheaters would be better off just admitting their mistakes | David Whitley

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun
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The ringworm made him do it.

That was Fernando Tatis’ excuse when he was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug. San Diego’s shortstop said he was merely trying to treat a case of ringworm and didn’t know the medication contained Clostebol.

That’s a drug formulated to cure skin rashes and help middle infielders hit 42 home runs a season, sign $340 million contracts, and then play us all for fools.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear someone say, “I cheated. It was stupid, and I’m sorry.”

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Instead, drug-testing history is lined with eye-rolling excuses. Like the Dutch cyclist who claimed he ate a pigeon pie his father made from racing pigeons that had ingested a banned substance.

American cyclist Tyler Hamilton blamed his positive test on a “vanishing twin” that was absorbed into his body before birth. Sprinter LaShawn Merritt blamed it on taking a penis enlargement supplement. Jets receiver Jeremy Kerley went supernatural.

“Ghosts put it in there,” he said. “You know, the ghost of Christmas past."

Manny Ramirez said he was accidentally prescribed a female fertility drug. Ex-Gator sprinter Dennis Mitchell said his testosterone level was off the charts because, he had too much beer and sex with his wife.

“It was her birthday,” he said. “The lady deserved a treat.”

You might not like the Rolling Stones, but at least Keith Richards never said the ghost of a vanishing twin made him shoot up half the world’s heroin supply to help his wife celebrate her birthday.

Tatis and the rest might retain a smidgen of respect if they’d admit their misdeeds. He may want sympathy in his brave fight against ringworm, but nobody is that dopey. 

Tom Brady gets days from camp off like no other can

Stud of the Week: The Baltimore Ravens, who won their 21st straight preseason game by beating Tennessee 23-10. In hopes of making the Super Bowl, the Baltimore City Council immediately passed a law declaring every NFL game a “preseason game.”

Stud II: Tom Brady. As much as he’s accomplished, getting 10 days off in the middle of training camp is something Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and John Elway never dreamed of.

Stud III: Jacksonville fans. I don’t normally endorse public profanity, but their “You Sick (Bleep)” greeting to Cleveland QB/massage addict Deshaun Watson in the first preseason game was spot on.

Dud of the Week: Pittsburgh second baseman Rodolfo Castro, who had his cell phone fly out his back pocket while sliding. It was the most embarrassing MLB moment since a 24-ounce vial of Dianabol and six syringes fell out Barry Bonds’ pocket as he beat out an infield single in 2002. ... 

Dud II: Fox, for its creepy hologram of Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch of the “Field of Dreams” game. Harry looked more like a ghostly Larry “Bud” Melman from the David Letterman show. ...

Spurrier's celebrates 1-year anniversary

Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille celebrated its first anniversary last week. Managing partner Freddie Wehbe said it’s quickly become the fifth-busiest restaurant in Florida. Among the stats: 128,962 cocktails and 38,644 bottles of wine were sold, which rivaled the record amount served in the Gator Bowl parking lot before the 1976 Florida-Georgia game. ...

Golf's nod to 'Seinfeld'

In a brilliant homage to “Seinfeld,” this week’s U.S. Amateur golf championship will feature a threesome of Mark Costanza, Hazen Newman and Campbell Kremer. The LIV Tour immediately offered Jason Alexander, Wayne Knight and Michael Richards $200 million to play as their “Seinfeld” characters in its next tournament in Boston. ...

RIP Paul Brown Stadium. It became Paycor Stadium last week, leaving Soldier Field and Lambeau Field the only NFL venues with non-corporate names. As part of the $100 million deal, Cincinnati center Ben Brown must also change his name to Ben Paycor. ... 

The world's largest outdoor cocktail party

Florida-Georgia Flashback: 77,284 of those cocktails were merrily consumed by Georgia fans after Doug Dickey went for it on fourth-and-dumb. ...

Book recommendation: “Last Time Out,” a look at the final at-bats and mound appearances by baseball’s greatest players by author John Nogowski. Lots of poignant moments, none better than Ted Williams’ defiant home run. And no, a cell phone didn’t fall out of his pocket as he rounded third base. ...

If Lambeau Field ever sells its name to a corporate sponsor, the Packers should be forced to have an Urban Meyer hologram coach them for the length of the contract. ...

Breaking News: Julia Louis-Dreyfus has accepted Greg Norman’s $75 million offer to play in the Boston LIV tournament Sept. 2-4. She was immediately installed as a 3-1 favorite to win. 

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next time, if you get a new job, avoid eating pigeon pie before taking the drug test.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley.

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