It has been a horrible summer for sports in general. The baseball home run record now belongs to Barry Bonds, whose head has replaced Pluto as our ninth planet. They have the same problem over in France where the Tour de France is now a race to be the fastest cyclist who doesn't get caught. David Beckham came to L.A. because their narcissism reserve fell slightly when Paris Hilton went to jail and they aren’t going to let that happen again. Over in the NBA, the worst possible scandal a sport can endure is going on featuring the mob and a point shaving ref — think of the 1919 Black Sox but with 24/7 ESPN coverage and 50,000 bloggers shouting at the top of their lungs. Kevin Costner will not be building a basketball court in his cornfield anytime soon. Despite all that, we have survived and reached the dog days of August. But let’s leave Michael Vick for last (snicker).
For the NFL, this has been the summer of bad behavior. To get a sense of the nature and frequency of bad behavior among NFL personnel, I recommend you to ProFootballTalk.com's Turd Watch, where Mike Florio has a very simple system for tracking miscreant activities. A felony arrest is good for 7 points, a misdemeanor arrest is good for 3, and a conviction on either causes another point to be tacked on. Multiple charges count separately and the points stack. Points are then accrued to the appropriate team.
As of this writing, the Fins have had a stellar offseason with 68 points, head and shoulders above their cross state counterparts, the Jags, at 42. Interestingly, the Bengals — the poster boys for bad behavior last year — are merely above average with 22. The average is 11.7 per team, or pretty close to one convicted felony and misdemeanor per team. Bear in mind, this is only since the Super Bowl, so a bit over six months time. Nasty boys.
There were a few scandals that, in a typical year, would have been the dominant news stories of the off season:
• Tank Johnson, late of the Chicago Bears, secured himself an 8-game suspension based on an pretty solid litany of destruction. While on probation from a misdemeanor handgun charge, he got himself arrested outside a nightclub after scuffling with a cop, then he was arrested again when his house was raided and a cache of unlicensed firearms was found. Shortly afterward he was "hanging out" at a "night club" with a known felon when said felon got in an argument with an unknown third party. The third party shot and killed the felon. At this point, it occurred to someone that having unlicensed firearms and hanging out with felons was a violation of Tank's parole. Tank did a couple of months of hard time. Upon his release he promptly got pulled over at 3:30 am for speeding and being intoxicated by a debatable amount (.072). The Bears waived Tank and other teams aren't exactly lining up to sign him.