Commentary

Floyd Landis evokes sports snitches

Originally Published: May 20, 2010
By Thomas Neumann | Page 2

Sports snitchesKurt Snibbe for ESPN.com

In what promises to be a story that won't go away anytime soon, Floyd Landis has accused Lance Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. So naturally, Page 2 decided to rank his place among the hierarchy of sports snitches:


1. Jose Canseco

Canseco enjoyed a tremendous baseball career, slugging 462 home runs and winning the AL Rookie of the Year (1986) and MVP (1988) awards. Canseco admitted his feats on the diamond had been fueled by steroids, and he attempted to cash in by accusing other players of being drug cheats in his 2005 book, "Juiced." He named former teammates Jason Giambi, Juan Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez as performance-enhancing drug users. Canseco's rattitude eventually degenerated to the point where he reportedly threatened to implicate another former teammate, Magglio Ordonez, unless he gave Canseco $5 million to help finance a film.

Page 2 spin: Considering Canseco once shopped himself in Hollywood with a nunchuck-twirling demo tape, we're dying to know how memorably awful Canseco's movie project would have turned out.


2. Floyd Landis

For years, Landis steadfastly denied cheating to win the 2006 Tour de France, and he waged a legal war to overturn the failed drug test that stripped him of the title. Now, he's accusing seven-time Tour champion Armstrong and dozens of other cyclists of using performance-enhancing drugs in e-mails sent to cycling and anti-doping officials.

Page 2 spin: There's still that little matter of credibility.


3. Eric Mangini

In September 2007, the Jets played host to the Patriots in the fourth matchup between Eric Mangini and his former boss, Bill Belichick. During the game, NFL security confiscated materials from a Pats video assistant who was recording Jets signals against league guidelines. Mangini is widely suspected of being the tipster in the episode, although he hasn't been directly connected as the source who alerted NFL officials. But considering Mangini worked under Belichick for a decade with the Browns, Jets and Pats, the protégé is widely suspected of being the one who ratted out his mentor.

Page 2 spin: Coincidentally, Mangini gave one of his sons the middle name William -- to honor Belichick. Mangini's other sons bear middle names honoring Rodney Harrison and Brett Favre -- so at least his perspective is sound.


4. Cell phone cameras

Remember the days of sports innocence, when players were unquestioned as wholesome role models? OK, bad example. Still, there was a day when we weren't aware of every bar fight, affair or embarrassing misstep involving athletes. Not to mention streaming video of them in the shower. Now, we're subjected to this, that, the other thing and various endorsement-killing evidence. This is why Page 2 longs for the days when athletes never did anything to embarrass themselves.

Page 2 spin: We don't actually long for those days of innocence. After all, the cell phone camera has made our jobs at Page 2 much easier.


5. Lloyd Lake

Lake, a would-be Southern California sports marketer, alleged he showered Reggie Bush and his family with approximately $300,000 in cash and gifts while the tailback starred at USC. Lake made his claims public in 2006, when Bush declined to sign with the New Era marketing firm. The fallout of the accusations has left the Trojans in danger of being slapped with NCAA sanctions.

Page 2 spin: It could be worse for USC. If not for Bush's timely lateral in the 2006 Rose Bowl, the Trojans might have to worry about vacating a national championship.


6. Kobe Bryant

When the star Lakers swingman was being accused of sexual assault in Colorado in 2004, he told police he "should have done what [former teammate Shaquille O'Neal] does … that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything."

Page 2 spin: Bryant not only was vilified for throwing Shaq under the bus in violation of the bro code, but he went on to release a song that would make the likes of Night Ranger and Wang Chung cringe. Later, he would be mocked by Shaq in a freestyle rap our supervisors have advised us not to link to if we enjoy being employed.


7. C.J. Hunter

Former Olympic shot-putter accused his ex-wife, Marion Jones, of using banned drugs when she won five medals in track and field at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Jones later wrote a book with a full-page denial featuring these words in giant, red capital letters: "I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN UNEQUIVOCAL IN MY OPINION: I AM AGAINST PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS. I HAVE NEVER TAKEN THEM AND I NEVER WILL TAKE THEM."

Page 2 spin: Guess we all know how that turned out.


8. ????

In February 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, owner of the richest contract in baseball, failed a drug test in 2003. At least four independent sources leaked the information, which was not only under seal by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but also derived from supposedly anonymous testing. Rodriguez subsequently admitted taking a banned substance during "a loosey-goosey era" of steroid use in baseball.

Page 2 spin: The "loosey-goosey" defense is somewhat understandable. After all, Rodriguez was hardly the only player on the juice at that time. But here's what troubles us: A-Rod never offered an explanation for this.


9. Bruce Pearl

While serving as an assistant basketball coach at Iowa in the late 1980s, Pearl turned in Big Ten rival Illinois for violating NCAA rules in the recruitment of player Deon Thomas. The NCAA cleared Illinois of wrongdoing in the Thomas incident, but uncovered other violations which landed the Illini on probation. Pearl was thought to be blackballed after the episode, as he would have to wait more than a decade to get his first job as a Division I head coach.

Page 2 spin: Pearl led Milwaukee to three NCAA tournament bids and a Sweet 16 appearance before landing at Tennessee, where he has earned an NCAA berth all five seasons with three trips to the Sweet 16 and one to the Elite Eight. Despite this success, we're not going to let him off the hook for this and this.


10. Jim Bouton

Bouton turned the baseball world inside out with tales of rampant drinking, amphetamine use and womanizing in his landmark 1970 book, "Ball Four." Although Bouton's revelations are tame in comparison to the transgressions of today's athletes, he was essentially blacklisted for what some saw as betraying the entire culture of the major leagues.

Page 2 spin: Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn unsuccessfully demanded Bouton sign a letter stating that most of "Ball Four" was untrue and subsequently issued a statement that the book was "detrimental to baseball." How would Kuhn have fared in the TMZ era?

Thomas Neumann is an editor for Page 2.


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