you learn nothing else from reading THE
BEST, learn this. Commit
it to memory, make it an organizing
principle of your life. This one lesson: DO NOT GO TO FAIRHOPE, ALABAMA.
was where former Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas was arrested
this weekend for marijuana
possession. The beleaguered running back's arrest was national
news, a SportsCenter bulletin judged to be of at least mid-broadcast importance,
and yet at the same time it was quite possibly the most meaningless and pointlessly vindictive celebrity
crime story of all time. What crazed drug-induced crime had
Thomas committed? Did he, like Seattle Seahawk Jerramy Stevens,
get high and drive a pickup truck into an old
folks' home? Did he pull a Dwayne Goodrich and flatten two roadside accident victims at 100 per, then leave the scene?
Was he not merely high but Darrell
Russell high, as in high and
armed and on his way to
commit serious sex felonies on videotape?
What Thomas was was stoned on half a joint and in bed, passed out,
in his own hotel room. How did he come to be arrested? Apparently,
some other guests in the hotel actually
called and finked on him to the local police. From the AP story:
was arrested at the Marriott Grand Hotel in Fairhope around 2 a.m.
Saturday after several guests alerted police that he appeared to
have drugs in his possession, Fairhope police spokesman Craig Sawyer
order to make the crime seem more serious, the AP also added, without
irony: "The report said [Thomas] was also drunk when arrested."
so flabbergasted by these circumstances that it called the police
station in Fairhope, the Alabama town where the incident took place,
to inquire further. Here is how part of that conversation went:
BEST: I'm trying to reach Craig Sawyer, but he hasn't been at his
desk all day. I'm a reporter and I just had a question about the
Thurman Thomas story...
POLICE: What d'yall wanna know?
BEST: Well, the report said that Thomas was turned in by other guests
at the hotel.
POLICE: I'm really—to be honest, I'm not sure. You'd have to ask
BEST: That's okay. I just thought...I was wondering if I could ask—is
it common in your city for citizens to call the police to report
a man smoking marijuana in his own room?
POLICE: I'm not sure I understand the question.
BEST: The report said not one guest, but "guests," as
in, several people calling the police to report that Thomas may
have been in possession of drugs. In our part of the world it would
be extremely rare for even one, uh, private person to call the police
to report somebody for smoking a joint, but for two to do it on
the same day—that'd be like Halley's Comet-rare.
POLICE: What rare?
BEST: Halley's comet-rare.
POLICE: What's that?
BEST: As rare as Halley's
POLICE: (pausing) Uh, you'd better talk to Craig. 'Cept he's not
here right now. He's at a law enforcement appreciation luncheon.
BEST: A what?
POLICE: A law enforcement appreciation luncheon.
BEST: What's that?
POLICE: That's where the community holds a luncheon to show its
appreciation for law enforcement.
BEST: Your community holds luncheons to show its appreciation for
POLICE: I'll put you through to Craig's voice mail.
BEST: I've already left a message, but thanks.
Anyway, Thomas was roused from his sleep and charged with marijuana
possession, a Class A misdemeanor. He was released on bond in time
to play a round of golf for former teammate Cornelius Bennett's
McDonald's Celebrity Pro-Am.
is how twisted things have gotten in the States: Newspapers actually
consider it important and necessary to call the relatives of players
who are caught smoking marijuana in their own room. Thurm's wife,
Patti Thomas, apologized to Planet America on her husband's
behalf through the AP:
what he has said was some other guys were with him and because it
was near his room, he got caught up in it," Patti Thomas said.
who last year admitted to being a recovering alcoholic, was a legendary
partier even by Buffalo standards. In Super Bowl XXVII, after a
late night, he forgot his helmet when he went out onto
SHADES OF DIESEL
a remarkable story eerily reminiscent of the escapades of sportscrime
legend Cecil "The Diesel" Collins, a Columbia University
football player has been arrested for entering a woman's room at
night and licking her feet while she slept.
Percival, 19, is a cornerback for the Lions, and also, apparently, a foot fetishist. In the incident,
which allegedly occurred eight months ago (he was only arrested
this past week), he entered the unlocked room of an unidentified
woman, who awoke "to find the defendant licking her feet and toes without her consent,"
as it was put in court papers. The story gets worse from there:
when the woman woke up, Percival allegedly pushed her against the
wall and sexually assaulted her with his hand, causing bruising
and bleeding that forced her to seek medical treatment.
woman did not report the crime immediately, but only went to the
police later when she learned that another woman was planning to
go to the police with a similar complaint about Percival. The other
complaint was investigated and no charges were filed, but they were
filed in this case, probably because of evidence from the clinic
the woman visited.
denies all the accusations. Teammates responded to media inquiries
with supportive statements. Percival's lawyers may want to take
care not to call defensive tackle Nick Bevins as
a character witness. The prosecution would kill him. Here is
what Bevins told the Times:
knows us," he said. "And people know that in a case like
this, because of athletics, it would be a big deal."
knows you? Columbia University
football players? Not sure about that one. Percival was released
on his own recognizance after spending a night in jail, and will
go to trial later this summer.