Grand theft accountability

By By Tom Quinn and By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

When I grow up, I want to be a professional athlete. The money would be nice, as would the fame, but I’m more interested in one of the other perks: I want to be able to do whatever the hell I want without any consequences.

Seriously, some of society’s most deviant members are the professional athletes we love. They misbehave, and we put them on the covers of magazines for it.

Take, for example, Ty Cobb. Rumor has it that he had a penchant for pistol-whipping housekeepers. Or how about Ray Lewis? He was neck-deep in a murder investigation until he walked on the sweetest deal of all time.

Guys like that are drawn to trouble like fat Dutch kids are to an open jar of mayonnaise. They just can’t get enough.

But compared with some law-breaking pro athletes, those guys are geniuses. There was little or no direct evidence linking them to their respective crimes and they could always claim self-defense in a pinch.

Some guys, however, are so unbelievably stupid that they make me wonder how on earth they survived into adulthood. These are the true morons- the individuals who owe it to the rest of the human race not to pass on their genes.

Case in point: Albert Haynesworth of the Tennessee Titans. All he did was stomp on the face of Cowboys’ center Andre Gurode while dozens of cameras filmed his every move. What was going through his head? Did he seriously think he was going to get away with that?

The NFL-the only organization to take any action thus far-slapped Haynesworth with an unprecedented five-game suspension, which is tantamount to the threat of a possible slap on the wrist.

A suspension? That’s not a punishment-it’s a vacation. That would be like asking a normal person to pay the fine for a speeding ticket with Monopoly money. That’s just the kind of reprimand that almost encourages future misconduct by removing the threat of actual penalty.

Of course, had I gone out and stomped on someone’s face, I’d be cooling my heels in the clink for a couple weeks, at the very least. Not even my own mother would lose any sleep while trying to decide whether I should be prosecuted.

Haynesworth, who was the Titans’ first-round draft pick in 2002, fell out of the top 10 because of questions about his maturity. According to a report by The Associated Press, the former Tennessee Volunteer was suspended for part of a game for trying to assault a teammate with what the article called “a long pole.”

Haynesworth is the perfect example of an athlete who has never had to stand accountable for any of his actions. He can do whatever he wants just as long as he follows it up with a televised apology and some form of the phrase “it is what it is.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why I want to be a professional athlete. I want to be able to rape prostitutes like Dave Meggett and drive drunk like Brian Griese. I want to try to run over my wife in my SUV like Michael Pittman-allegedly.

These guys are living in a real-life version of “Grant Theft Auto,” and I want in. After seeing the footage of the Haynesworth incident, I’m tempted to stomp on the face of every single person who cuts me off in traffic.

And, with that in mind, I am hereby declaring myself eligible for the 2007 NFL Draft. The way I see it, I’m only 15 pounds away from being able to shoplift with impunity. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to hit the weights.