Good Guys Do Finish First. Even if Overshadowed by the Worst.

Beamer, Benz or Bentley? Mazda.

Beamer, Benz or Bentley? Mazda.

So this week the Baltimore Ravens finally released Ray Rice for literally knocking the flipflops off his fiancée in a casino elevator (and TMZ became a reputable news outlet).

This after months of other NFL suspensions for pot, PED’s, and a little Percocet promenade by a team owner. NOT to mention Roger Goodell et. al. imposing sentences for these infractions that would give you whiplash (2 games-4 games-6 games-8, what don’t fans appreciate? Arbitrary penalties, that’s what.)

So for some relief, I asked my Facebook friends to tell me their favorite football players—no, any athletes—who demonstrate the good, honest, charitable side of sports–and just human nature. And they delivered (pro wrestlers! Woot!).

By the way, I’m focusing only on the fellas here, not because women athletes don’t have legal issues (Hope Solo, come on, honey), but it’s the gentlemen who have dominated the police blotters of late.

So here, in no order, are just a FEW gallant guys who are using their athletics platform (or just plain old good hearts) to make the world a place of shiny, happy people holding hands, not punching women with them:

Grapplers Giving Back
The longtime WWE favorite “Mankind,” Mick Foley, now donates hours lobbying against sexual assault with the group RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). John Cena has granted more than 400 “wishes” for the Arizona Make-A-Wish Foundation, making him the current record holder.

Stop or I’ll Shaq!
Countless NBA players have or support charities—James, Jordan, Battier… But as the kid of a homicide detective, I find it quite touching that Shaquille O’Neal has applied to become a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida—a job he did once before in Miami 2005. That’s 7-1, 325 pounds of serving and protecting.

Feel-Good Football Players
I’ve written before about St. Louis’ Scott Wells and his three adopted Ugandan children. Now I have to give a nod to my Redskins, particularly Darrell Green, whose name was mentioned a LOT today. Not only an amazing athlete and Hall of Famer—maybe the best the nation’s capital has ever seen—but a true philanthropist, founding or supporting children’s charitable organizations, September 11 relief, education efforts and numerous boards and councils.

That said, I find running back Alfred Morris pretty awesome just for driving, still, his 1991 Mazda 626 that he bought for $2 from his pastor. OK it’s been fully restored, but it’s nice to see a player keepin’ it real.

Many friends like Holly Peterson Linder and Michelle Burstion Young pointed out not just one player but the entire Bengals organization not only for keeping defensive lineman Devon Still on the practice squad after being cut, but donating all proceeds from the sales of his jersey to pediatric cancer research. His daughter Leah is in Stage 4 with a 50-50 chance of survival. The good news is at this time his jersey is the highest selling Bengals jersey ever.

Don’t Mess With Widows
As for hockey, a classic name came up today. Mark Messier has served on a number of boards, including the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, and the Tomorrow’s Children Fund, as well as helped bring more ice rinks to the city. The NHL created the Mark Messier Leadership Award in his honor.

But most important, says my friend H. Paul Brandes, “Leading the Rangers to their only Stanley Cup in my lifetime should be considered a charitable act in and of itself.”

Children’s Home…Runs
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw received rousing votes today from Vin Scully cousin Patti Shea and others, and it’s easy to see why. He and wife Ellen raised money to build an orphanage in Zambia and he recently hosted a massive ping pong tournament on the field of Dodger stadium as an ongoing part of “Kershaw’s Challenge.” He has already received the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work – Cy Young is probably next, for, you know, like garden variety pitching and stuff.

The Phillies’ Chase Utley and wife Jennifer work closely with animal causes like the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and encourage people to adopt pets, not buy.

The Rays’ Evan Longoria is a downright superhero here when he saves a reporter from a stray ball.

I also still love how the Mets’ Daniel Murphy missed opening day this year for the birth of his son, despite some announcers’….different (dumbass) views of paternity leave and C-sections.

And finally, my friend Jeff Jackson sums it up: “Real athletes don’t tell everyone the good things they do, they just do it! Derek Jeter!”

Yes indeed, Shortstop, Number 2, Derek Jeter. Number 2.

PS – some of the honorable mentions today: Tiger Woods; Ole Miss’ Deterrian Shackelford; Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf; Brandon Marshall; Russell Wilson; Warrick Dunn; Caron Butler; Andrew Luck; Mary Lou Retton; Joe Torre; Albert Pujols; Serena Williams; Ryan Zimmermann; Ted Williams; Stan Musial; Mario Lemieux; Jacob Tamme; Brett Keisel; Kenny Perry; Vincent Lacavalier; Brooks Laich; Nicklas Backstrom; and duh…OVIE!


For Merely the Cost of One Vuvuzela,* You Can Cure “Sporticus Toomuchicus”

WASHINGTON, DC – Hospitals across America are spilling over with men of all ages, babbling, drooling, confused. Their hands are cramped like steel around TV remotes, tortilla chips and guacamole smeared on their shirts.

My balls are bigger than yours, soccer.

My balls are bigger than yours, soccer.

Women, meanwhile, are taking up 357 magnums (of wine) against this apocalypse and locking themselves into their compounds with their girlfriends, small dogs, Wok & Roll fried rice, and the new season of “Orange Is the New Black.”

What is happening?

“We’re not sure, but for now we’re calling it Sporticus toomuchicus, or ‘Oversportssaturation,’ said Dr. Gina Brower, attending ER physician at George Washington Hospital.

“It’s going to be tough for them,” she continued, stifling what seemed to be a small giggle. “I mean, a man can only watch so many sports. He only has two eyes and one brain. Well, maybe one brain. We’re not sure about that either.”

With that she hastened away to assist a patient, screaming and covered in blood. Or possibly hot wings sauce.

It’s an occurrence unlike that we’ve ever seen on the calendars before. Conditions were already difficult last week with concurrent professional hockey playoffs, professional basketball playoffs, the French Open, and the possible Triple Crown all jockeying with each other for attention (ha ha, see what we did there? “jockeying?”).

But now, the twisted conjurings of Wednesday’s full moon and next week’s summer solstice have added even more simultaneous ingredients to their dark magic: the men’s golf U.S. Open and the men’s soccer World Cup.

"I'm not laughing at you," says Brower. "I'm laughing at you...a LOT."

“I’m not laughing AT you,” says Brower. “I’m laughing at you…a LOT.”

In other words, as the NBA and NHL finals continue, now two other major world sports events have added even further layers of pressure to a country of men already reeling from Rafa Nadal’s fifth-straight consecutive French Open title and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ perfect, 300-foot laser to punch out the Angels’ Howie Kendrick at home plate—possibly the best baseball throw ever.

Members of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee seemed confused at soccer’s sudden surge. “Starting a major tournament on a Thursday? Well, that’s just crazy. No one’s going to watch that,” said one rep who asked to remain anonymous as he stealthily began filling out a bracket of some sort.

Meanwhile, athletes themselves expressed frustration. “Wait, what do you mean ‘World’ Cup?” asked a puzzled Lebron James, massaging a calf cramp and drinking a Lebron-Sprite 6 Mix as we threw up in our mouths a little watching him drink it. “But I thought Miami was the World Champions. We have to share? Damn, I’m going back to Cleveland.”

“U.S. Open?” said Tiger Woods, sipping from a coconut on a Barbados beach. “Oh you mean that tournament I won six years ago as my last major before I completely jacked up my family’s lives? Nah, my back still hurts,” adding “Yeah babe, right there,” as he urged a massage from his girlfriend, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. Who looks nothing remotely like his last wife. At all.

Surely Landon Donovan, the only soccer player most American’s would recognize but was cut from the team last month, could help us understand.

“F*&% off.”

Finally, in New York, we spoke with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he practiced for Game Four against the L.A. Kings.

“Oh yes, well you see, soccer is a game of grace and strength. Being a goalie myself, I understand how the forwards and the defensemen must collaborate to…”

(Editor’s note: Being Americans, we kinda dozed off there, sorry.)

Despite our own lack of interest in the World Cup, it does seem we are in the minority. Men, and actually, quite a few women are in for some difficult days ahead as they attempt to follow multiple major contests until finally, July 4 everything ends and we can enjoy our AMURRRCAN independence holiday.

Then there’s only pro baseball for three months.

So be careful what you wish for.

Editor’s note: Most of this story is fake. There is nothing wrong with watching lots of sports. We women really do like sports. And wine. And some Americans even like soccer. *And those godforsaken vuvuzelas have been outlawed for the World Cup. So go USA!