Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

June 29-July 13, 2005

Issue #78

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend

Independence Day
3rd Party Politics for Fun & Profit

Pataki Leads Carge Against the Talentless
by Matt Taibbi
Last Best Chance
Dragging our Feet on Nuclear Terror
by Alex Zaitchik

Welcome to My Nightmare
Eminent Domain Ruling Leads to Gigantism in B-List Actors

by Ian Murphy


Say it Ain't Soda
Revoking the Bottle Deposit is an Asinine Idea

by Christofurious Riordan


Reid's United States of Europe
Book Review
by Paul Fallon


Just Kill Me
Recruiters are Dying to Talk to Your Kids
by Matt Taibbi


Litigious Idol
Help choose Barnes' new Cellino!


Dear Donny
Romantic Advice from the Secretary of Defense



The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Kino Korner - Movies
[sic] - Your Letters
The BEAST Blog


ISSUE#78 PDF FILE (right-click & "save target")


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The Sports Blotter
By Matt Taibbi



NFL lore is full of stories of ex-players who are discovered ten years after taking their last snap living under bridges, serving court-mandated community service terms teaching tetherball to autistic children, doing 18 months in Florence, Colorado for wire fraud, and so on. Some are cocaine survivors (or non-survivors, as it may be, as in the case of Todd Marinovich or Chuck Muncie), some are drunks or roid freaks, and some are just plain crazy. Most of the time, we never hear from these people until law enforcement is forced to arrest their dangerous interference with the normal functions of society. Years pass, and God knows what they've been up to until one day, police are forced to put up barriers outside a boarded-up house on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, and someone checks the name on the mailbox, and thinks, "Hey, I remember that guy..."

True, not many people remember William "Jeff" Komlo, whose chief sporting distinction to date, if one can call it that, is probably his status as the second-greatest quarterback in the history of the state of Delaware (Rich Gannon being number one). Still, Komlo did manage to have a long NFL career, playing for the Detroit Lions and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, retiring in 1983. If he was not exactly the Dan Marino of his generation, he may yet go down as the perpetrator of the most elaborate and most bizarre crime spree in the annals of retired NFL players. We say "may yet" because Komlo has not yet been captured; as of this writing, he is on the lam from Pennsylvania authorities in connection with a series of crimes, each more bizarre than the next.

The charge that Komlo is on the run from is a drunken-driving charge, but even that case is one of the more bizarre DUIs in recent memory. The case stems from an incident on May 17 of last year in which police in Chester County, Pennsylvania discovered Komlo's girlfriend, 39 year-old Jennifer Winters, on the side of the road, a mile from Komlo's house. Winters said Komlo had assaulted her and left her on the side of the road. She then said she'd seen Komlo drive by in two different cars. Police later discovered Komlo drunk and with a bleeding forehead at his house. He had managed to wreck two different cars, one a Toyota 4-Runner and one a Monte Carlo. He was charged with two counts of drunken driving (an assault charge was dropped when Winters refused to cooperate) and placed in monitor anklets.

Subsequently, Komlo was arrested in Florida on cocaine possession charges. Meanwhile, police were investigating a fire at a house owned by Komlo, who worked, appropriately enough, as an insurance agent in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Saddled with the DUI monitors, the arson investigation, and the Florida drug rap, Komlo continued his life as an insurance agent. But in March, his name figured prominently in the indictment of his former Delaware teammate Peter Bistrian, who was being charged with stealing $1.4 million from a South African stainless steel producer. Komlo had shared an account with Bistrian, then apparently cooperated with authorities as a witness against him. Once a football hero, Komlo now lacked even honor among thieves.

On May 10, a bench warrant was issued for Komlo when he refused to hook up to his monitoring unit. Then, over last weekend, Komlo literally went up in smoke. His house, valued at a half-million dollars, went up in flames. "The fire is suspicious, and he is wanted for questioning," said Chester County D.A. Joseph Carroll.

Komlo's attorneys in the past week have been receiving calls from their former quarterback client from a phone with an I.D. blocker. He has been urged to turn himself in, but has so far refused. We'll keep you posted.



The headline says it all:


Blotter readers may recall the story of Booker Stanley, the Badger tailback who was involved in a bar fight at the annual UW block party in April. Stanley had to be subdued by four officers after he allegedly pushed a woman to the ground and then repeatedly punched a man in the face. He was ultimately charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Initially, the school suspended him. Stanley appealed his sentence, and the new verdict was handed down. Stanley will be "forced" to skip two team practices on Aug. 10-11. It is hard to say whether this is the lamest punishment ever administered by a university sports program, but if it is not, it comes close.

In a similar story, Penn State has "temporarily" expelled junior defensive tackle Ed Johnson. Johnson has been kicked out of the University until at least the end of the fall semester, and will miss the 2005 season. Sounds like a tough punishment, until one considers the crime: "sexual misconduct and confining another person against her will." The school made a point of noting that Johnson will be eligible to return after he spends next season feeling sore.




 The biggest sports crime news last week wasn’t a crime per se; it was a major-league mental freakout, requiring police intervention, in the great tradition of Barret Robbins, Alonzo Spellman, and Oil Can Boyd. And it took place in the capital city of American sports crime: Tallahassee, home of the Florida State Seminoles, a.k.a. the CrimiNoles.

The story involving putative starter Wyatt Sexton sounds like a case of a good kid tripped up by either LSD inexperience or stress-induced mania. Police were called when Sexton was observed wandering in the middle of a residential street, acting delusional and confused. When they arrived, the young quarterback loudly announced that he was “God” or the “Son of God.” Police ended up having to hit him with pepper spray and handcuff him, but he was not arrested. Instead, he was taken to a hospital, where he remains under observation.

The Sexton incident continues one of the standout positional trends in college football. Six of the last seven FSU quarterbacks have either been kicked off the team or arrested, the only notable exception being Chris Weinke, who after all was already 38 years old when he enrolled. Last year’s QB, Chris Rix, was once bounced from the team for failing to take a final exam, and was also twice caught parking in handicapped zones on campus, inspiring protests of FSU games by the disabled. Before that, there was Adrian McPherson, who was arrested for check forgery and kicked off the team en route to the New Orleans Saints. Back farther there was Jared Jones, bounced from the team for the ominous “undisclosed violation” (said to be breaking into a neighbor’s home to cook hot dogs); Dan Kendra, caught trying to buy a rare alligator and then also caught detonating a bomb outside his dorm; and Marcus Outzen, a bar fight specialist who was also once arrested for the classic college football crime of punching out a car window.

Along with the Sexton incident, the Seminoles last week were forced to deal with the arrest of linebacker A.J. Nicholson, who was shot with a Taser gun after he tried to flee an alcohol possession arrest. Police had him confused with another suspect.  SHE GOT HERS  Goddamn, it must be tough being Darvin Ham. It’s bad enough that you’re rapidly developing a reputation as one of the great pine-riders of all time—a player with less chance even of seeing meaningful minutes than such legendary NBA splinter collectors as Terry Duerod, Kurt Nimphius, and Billy Curley. One the defending (although maybe not for long) champion Detroit Pistons, Ham’s real job is basically to serve as a happy-go-lucky media mascot, whom all the other players praise as being “just as important to us as Rip or ‘Sheed.” You are there to collect rebounds for Chauncey Billups during the pregame shoot-around; you’re there to be the brunt of funny nicknames (Rasheed Wallace calls him the “glue guy”); you’re there to be the player who brings his hilariously-named mother straight from church to the games for the amusement of the reporters. Observe the following passage from a pregame wrap from one of the finals games:  He also got a helping hand from his mother, Saginaw Mayor Wilmer Jones Ham, who was there and happy to advise Darvin. "He asked me to pray for him. And the guys I saw on the team said 'Mama Ham, are you praying for us?' I said I got my prayer hand up right now."

OK, so you’re Darvin Ham. Your name is Ham. You make a millionaire’s salary to do absolutely nothing on national television. When your team is up by thirty with two minutes left in the game, the crowd screams for Darko Milicic. You have Mama Ham, the mayor of Saginaw, dressed in her Sunday best and praying for you in front of the snickering Piston beat writers.

And then, when you get home, your wife beats you. How’s that for a life?

As reported previously in this space, Deneitra Ham this past March became the first NBA wife to be arrested for beating her husband when she smashed a wine bottle over Darvin’s head during a late-night argument. Though battered husbands/boyfriends are fairly common in baseball (hello, Chuck Finley and Scott Erickson) and not unheard of even in the rough-and-tough NFL (Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael was the latest, oddly enough, in a string of battered NFL passcatchers), Ham was the first to break the mold in the hyper-macho NBA.

In any case, Ham suffered from a case of bad timing this week, as his wife was sentenced in the middle of the NBA finals. Just before game 6, word leaked out that Deneitra had been sentenced to 12 months probation, 30 hours community service, and a fine. She was also ordered to enter an anger management program for the protection of her husband. All of this in front of the international sporting press—on an off day, between games. Incidentally. Deneitra doesn’t work—who’s going to pay that fine? Can you imagine that conversation at home, before Darvin goes to work: “Honey, can you give me eight thousand dollars for hitting you on the bridge of the nose with a wine bottle?” “Sure, honey!” Ah, domestic bliss…

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