The Sports Blotter by Matt Taibbi
Did you hear the one about the freaky-ass
looking Zimbabwean man with a receding hairline who got
busted for competing in female events? The real-life version
of Juwanna Mann, featuring a protagonist uglier by
a factor of at least four than the movie version, hit theaters
everywhere last week when Mduduzi Ngwenya better known
in Africa as star female runner Samukeliso Sithole made
his/her first appearance in court to stand trial for "impairing
the dignity" of female athletes.
One of the problems with this sort of crime
is that it is very hard to confine your transgressions to
the root offense. All you want to do is cheat at sports,
but you very quickly veer into the abyss of peeping and
sex crime. That's what happened to Ngwenya, who back in
January made the mistake of befriending a female runner
named Mudondiro, from the town of Kwekwe. Ngwenya, having
assumed her female identity of Sithole, visited Mudondiro
and walked in on her as she was undressing to have a bath
(this is the exciting part of the story). Some time later,
a security guard from the Kwekwe train station spotted Ngwenya
and pointed him/her out as an imposter, having recognized
him as a male runner he had known from the town of Silobela.
This led to complaints from Mudondiro and others, and subsequently
Now here's where the case gets really interesting.
Prosecutors at the trial took the extraordinary step of
summoning two doctors (two, not one) to testify that an
examination of Ngwenya's genitalia revealed him to be male.
That would seem to have closed the book on that subject
but Ngwenya had an answer for the court. He claimed that
the reason had had a penis was because it had been put there
by a witch doctor whom he owed $5 million. The faith-healer,
he said, had made his female genitalia "disappear"
and had replaced them with a penis. The runner then inspired
roars of laughter when he offered to call in boyfriends
with whom he'd had "normal" sexual relations.
of course, was no Teena Brandon. In trying to pass as a
woman he was looking not for love but for racing medals
(he won seven gold and one silver in regional competitions).
When not stealing races, he occasionally just stole things
in general. In one of the strangest lists of contraband
you'll ever see in print, Ngwenya is also accused, according
to various African news reports, of having stolen "48
bars of brown washing soap, one pair of blue jeans, 10 kg
of sugar, four audio cassettes, a white T-shirt and $100
000" from a former boyfriend. 48 bars of soap, a t-shirt,
and... $100,000? Why even mention the soap? Guess that's
why they call them foreign...
Had the police never been called in the
epitaph on Brad Lohaus's career might have read as follows:
was both the first, and the worst, of the "next Larry
Bird" draft prospects to stink up the NBA. Before Darko
there was Keith Van Horn; before Van Horn there was Chris
Laettner and Toni Kukoc; before both of those guys there
was Detlef Schrempf and Tom Chambers. But no "next
Larry Bird" turned out to be less like Larry Bird than
Brad Lohaus, a gangly goon from Iowa who had the misfortune
not only to be a blond, curly-headed 6'10" 3-point
shooter, but to be drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1988.
He came to the Garden with high expectations, and left with
a reputation for being the most lead-footed, aesthetically
unappealing NBA big man since Dwayne Schintzus.
The 40 year-old Lohaus found himself splashed
in Midwestern sports headlines last week when he was arrested
for assaulting his 23 year-old girlfriend, McKinsey Gonder.
The pair had been staying in a hotel when police had to
intervene to break up an argument. Apparently, when Gonder
at one point tried to leave the hotel, Lohaus grabbed her
and got into what he later called a "wrestling match."
Gordon was apparently a poor wrestler, as she ended up suffering
a split lip, a bump on the head, and a few bruises. Lohaus
Police were forced to arrest Lohaus for
two reasons; one, he drew blood, and two, the pair have
a child together, making this case an automatic domestic
abuse situation under Iowa law.
was already in trouble, incidentally. He was scheduled stand
trial on Aug. 22 for the increasingly popular jock crime
of posting items worth $1970 for sale on eBay and then never
sending the merchandise after it was sold. Talk about fitting:
on trial for unfulfilled promise.
Adam "Pac Man" Jones, the much-ballyhooed
alleged shutdown corner draft choice of the Tennessee Titans,
screwed up badly last week, inspiring the latest arrest
on that crime-stricken squad.
Jones was charged with assault and felony
vandalism after he reportedly attacked nightclub owner Robert
Gaddy, who had tried to throw Jones and his friends out
because "they were smoking drugs."
was the wrong person to pick on reportedly a friend of
Steve McNair's. This is apparently the third incident involving
Jones and police in the past three months, but the first
that wasn't hushed up. We'll keep you posted...
QUANTITY, NOT QUALITY
sports blotter is overwhelmed this week with violations,
mostly all of a minor variety. July typically represents
the high-water mark in yearly athlete arrests, for the simple
reason that pro and college football teams are neither playing
nor practicing. The six-week window in the NFL schedule
means roughly 1700 of the world's most unstable millionaires
are roaming free, feeling neither injured nor exhausted.
This tends to make for a busy time for policemen, particularly
in resort communities. Anyway by way of adjusting to the
crime cycle, we're going to change things up a bit this
week and bring you twice the number of arrests, in the same
space. That's a 200% value! And to conserve column inches,
each crime is going to be summarized in the ultra-economical
Haiku style, before details are given. Here goes:
SHE JUST WOULDN'T LISTEN
Randy McMichael Threw his wife out of his
car Again and again
Dolphins' tight end, readers may or may not recall, was
arrested just over a year ago for almost exactly the same
crime. Only last year, Cawanna McMichael was pregnant when
Randy went off on her. This year, at least four witnesses
reportedly saw McMichael throwing Cawanna out of the couple's
1984 Coupe De Ville. When police intervened, Cawanna claimed
the incident was an accident, that she received a bloody
nose when she was inadvertently struck by junk McMichael
was throwing out of his moving Caddy. Whatever, Randy. Freshman
coach Nick Saban said he certainly wouldn't condone the
conduct that had been alleged, but had no specific comment,
yada, yada yada.
TIGER BURNING BRIGHT
Benjamin Pittman Punched some dude who had
fondled A girl's ripe young breasts.
6'4", 258-pound LSU defensive end, groomed as the replacement
for recently-drafted stud DE Marcus Spears, was involved
in an altercation at Bogie's Bar and Grill in Baton Rouge.
Police arrived at the scene to find a man lying on the ground
with "one eye swollen shut." When interrogations
of witnesses led them to Pittman, who had already left the
scene, the gridiron star explained that he had intervened
only when the alleged victim had grabbed the breasts of
a girl at the bar. Police have yet to sort out whose girlfriend
the girl in question was. LSU spokeshumans, like their former
boss Saban, declined "specific comment."
HE SMOKES WITH A HOLDER
Call him Jonathan; Buckeye kicker, and also
Stoned out of his mind.
Skeete that is. The Ohio State kicker was formally indicted
last week on two felony counts of marijuana trafficking.
In a testament to the supernatural levels of boredom that
must be afflicting Ohio drug enforcement officials, the
placekicker was arrested in May after being nabbed selling
weed to undercover agents in a sting operation. Skeete's
attorney declined comment, except to say that Skeete was
"a good student and a good person." Both at the
same time, imagine that. Meanwhile, in the latest development
in what has been a highly troublesome offseason at OSU,
sophomore defensive tackle Brandon Maupin was taken off
the team for the year for academic issues. It also came
out that Maupin owed the city of Columbus $1,943 for 36
parking tickets. No big loss: Maupin played in four games
last year and registered no tackles.
Having seen it all Coach Bowden, of Ernie
Sims, Said, "This too shall pass."
when you coach the Florida State Seminoles, the gold standard
of arrest-gathering sports organizations, you learn to roll
with the punches a little. Two weeks ago, FSU linebacker
Ernie Sims was arrested for slamming his 5'2", 118-pound
girlfriend to the ground, then also for resisting arrest.
Sims ended up being charged only with a misdemeanor, which
to coach Bobby Bowden means only one thing: he's available
for the first game! When asked on his brother Terry's radio
show if Sims's arrest would lead to a loss of playing time,
Bowden cracked, "This, too, shall pass." In Tallahassee,
you can joke about this stuff! In other 'Nole news, quarterback
Wyatt Sexton who just a few weeks back was discovered
wandering the streets in a state of apparently drug-induced
derangement has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and
will miss the whole season. Police are already preparing
an indictment, with the crime to be filled in later, for
whoever his replacement will be.
IT'S ME, EDDIE
Nightclub parking lot A tussle; booze, pepper
spray Violates parole.
The much-hyped Eddie Griffin, heir apparent
to all-time NBA crime great Isaiah Rider, is set to do a
15-day jail stint after violating his parole. The T-Wolves
forward/center, one of the most talented athletes in the
league, has already been arrested for deadly conduct, aggravated
assault, punching a woman, and also shooting at a woman
after she entered his home and caught him in flagrante with
another female companion. As a condition of his parole,
Griffin was to avoid "persons or places of disreputable
or harmful character." Apparently the crowd at a Houston
nightclub parking lot, where Griffin was last weekend, qualified;
police had to intervene to subdue a group of men bent on
assaulting one of Griffin's friends. Eddie will likely do
the 15 days, even though police contend he was doing nothing
wrong in the incident.