Pizza’s deliveries: What if athletes were more like moms?

By By Tony Pizza and By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

For some reason, over the past two weeks I’ve been in constant fear for my life. It seems like I can’t go anywhere without almost being sideswiped by a 30-something mom on a cell phone barreling down the road in a Mormon Assault Vehicle (read: SUV) with no regard for my life.

This started happening so often that it was impossible for me to chalk it up to happenstance. At one point I even considered these women to be vengeful Deron Williams supporters that had somehow gotten my license plate number from the Salt Lake Police Department.

By the time I saw my life flash before my eyes for the 17th time, it was enough.

While I was driving in Midvale, heading south in the fast lane on the I-215 Belt Route, a lady in a dark green Ford Explorer entered the freeway near Union Parkway and proceeded to drift across two lanes of traffic until she was in the lane next to me. Instead of stopping to check if the lane next to her was occupied (which it was, by me), she just continued on her merry little way until I could count my nose hairs in the reflection of her shiny paint job.

When she finally figured out that the blaring horn was directed at her, she swerved back. I caught my breath. As I sped up, intent on showing her how many folds of skin my middle knuckle had, something very unexpected happened. The lady peeled off her sunglasses, mouthed the words “I’m sorry” and gave me an apologetic wave.

I can’t say I completely forgave every motorist that endangered my life over this two-week span, but I instantly stopped wishing terrible curses on that lady and her posterity.

At this point you may be asking, “What does this have to do with sports?” I’m glad you asked.

I started thinking, what if more athletes were like the mom in the Explorer?

What if Barry Bonds had just admitted from the beginning, “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re absolutely correct. There is no way my head could have swollen up to the size of a beach ball on flax seed oil.”

What if Kyle Whittingham would just come out and say, “Look, I made a mistake in asking Brian Johnson to redshirt this year. I’m sorry for saying that the thumping we took against Boise State didn’t matter and, while I’m at it, I am now willing to admit non-conference games DO matter.”

I’m not suggesting that by saying sorry all will be sunsets and rainbows in the world. But I am suggesting that the media and fans would hold mistakes against athletes for shorter periods of time. People would be more willing to forgive and forget, and honest sports figures would be much more likely to get a free pass in the unfortunate event that an apology is necessary in the future.

Imagine the possibilities: Pete Rose would probably be in the Hall of Fame, Mark McGwire wouldn’t be avoiding the public like the Unabomber, Roger Clemens wouldn’t be the most hated Cy Young winner in Boston, the figure skating world wouldn’t have turned into a joke after the 2002 Olympics, Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be hated by every woman in America and there would be no more “how-old-is-Dikimbe-Mutumbo?” jokes if sports figures would just be up-front and honest with the public after they made a mistake.

Since I don’t think I am immune from issuing apologies, I’ll go ahead and use this time to offer one of my own.

From the minute my Jan. 19 column “Employee No. 8” hit the press, Deron Williams has been the most accommodating, cordial — even the funniest — player in the Utah Jazz locker room.

I don’t exactly regret the picture of him being a jerk that I tried to paint. I still vividly remember Williams treating a few people like they were the world’s worst singer trying out for “American Idol,” but I am willing to admit I received a horrible first impression and I’m sorry for a blanket accusation against the Utah Jazz’s 2006-2007 MVP.