By: Bob George/
August 09, 2003

Rob Gronkowski tells Patriots he will play this season
Filling the Patriots' needs: No. 3: Quarterbacks
Buckley: On Boston sports stock market — buy Sox, sell Gronk
Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta could fit in with the Patriots
Guregian: Patriots can play draft in many ways if looking for Tom Brady heir

What in Heaven's name would we do without bad boys?

To most factions of the media, they're as yummy and delicious as a hot fudge sundae. Baseball had John Rocker, boxing has Mike Tyson, and let us not forget the tremendous gift Kobe Bryant has now given to mankind in general. Bad boys turn every print reporter into a potential National Enquirer wannabe. TV guys and gals dream of the day where guys like these make them the next Jerry Springer.

Not only is it yummy, it's also seductive. Whomever you dig between Ben and J-Lo, stories like this give you more pleasure than being with the mega-cutie pie of your choice. You become addicted to every new story, every new twist, every new sound byte, and every new revelation is sexier than…

Hold it. This is getting ridiculous. This is how you feel, right? We of the information persuasion just assume that you want bad boy stories more than anything in the world, no?

Me, I take J-Lo. Except that a certain lady I'm married to might not like it, and this writer knows better. When I crash in a posh Vail, Colorado resort (after I hit the lottery), it's with only one person, and that person is the mom of my kids.

And for those of you who can't get enough of sexy stories of athletes behaving poorly, you perhaps have no other outlet of pleasure. You will be bombarded with sordid and invasive tales in the days and weeks to come regarding a certain famous Laker. How you deal with this information might just speak well (or poorly) about you as a person.

We're not scolding you. We're just telling you to take all this sensationalism with a grain of salt. To all football fans out there, you have someone out there who is doing his best to be like Kobe, without committing a felonious act (assuming stupidity is still not a felony). And we'd very much appreciate it if you would do the right thing and completely ignore him and anything written about him.

But read this first, and you'll see why we beg this of you.

Simply stated, you have a New York jock with a big mouth and a pea for a brain. There's all the ingredients right there. Jeremy Shockey is a talented second year tight end for the Giants, the team who lists such high profile alumni as Frank Gifford, Fran Tarkenton, Phil Simms, Pat Summerall and Bill Parcells. Shockey has spent the last few days trying to remove the "ey" from his last name, and if you allow yourself to be sucked into his shtick, he's succeeded.

Shockey gave an interview recently for a New York area magazine where he unleashed a verbal assault on Parcells. He took exception to the new Dallas head coach repeatedly dissing him on television last year, and punctuated the assault with \"Let\'s see how much Parcells wins this year. I\'ll make him pay when we play them. The homo.\'\'

This remark, which Parcells is withholding comment and Shockey has first denied and has since apologized for, has shaken the football world. Everything is coming out, things like Shockey's sexual appetite, his penchant for speaking off the cuff, and his bad boy mentality. It seems that the most important issue here is not Shockey's impressive football skills, but one ill-advised word slung at arguably the best NFL head coach since Vince Lombardi.

Shockey apologized. Dallas gets two chances this season to kick Shockey's posterior. This is pretty much all we need to hear anymore on the subject. But we won't, and you all know it. This will be hyped a thousand times more than Parcells' return to Foxborough as Cowboys head coach on November 16th.

First of all, calling Parcells a "homo" was perhaps an instinctive mistake, the first insulting word that Shockey could think of at that particular moment. Parcells, recently divorced from wife Judy and the father of three (including Scott Pioli's wife Dallas), doesn't exactly exude gay tendencies. With youth goes immaturity, and saying the word "homo" was an immature thing to do, and it's doubtful that Shockey actually thinks Parcells is gay.

In short, let's all let go of the word "homo". Pretend he never said it. Right now. You can do it. Really.

As for his remarks regarding Parcells' fidelity to his past employers, while they have merit, Shockey still looks bad for stating something factual versus an emotional outburst. Patriot and Jet fans have more reason to feel jilted by Parcells than Giant fans do, but all three teams were denied the complete Parcells, as well as the satisfaction of this great coach finishing his career with any of those teams.

What Shockey needs is a mentor to keep his mouth shut and watch what he says. Shockey committed extreme stupidity by being employed by a New York team and then publicly insulting a New York sports icon. This guy is far too talented to have his career be defined by media factions who crave his bad boy behaviour.

When this muck goes away, you the media consumer need to focus on what is really important. Like, when Shockey returns to Foxborough on October 12th, can the Patriot defense stop him? Writing a story along the lines of "(Daniel) Graham outplays Shockey" will be a whole lot more fun to write (and read) versus a "Shockey calls (Bill) Belichick a nerd" story, or if Shockey makes anti-Semitic remarks about Bob Kraft. This corner of the Nation is far more interested in what happens on the field versus off it.

Keep this in mind as you gear up for that big trial up in the Rocky Mountains. Wake me up when they reach a verdict.

The verdict is already in on Shockey. Shut up, play football, don't be stupid.

And be sure that he remains the stupid one for popping off, and not you for dying to know if perhaps Shockey is a "homo" himself.