Well, personally, I want to say thanks to Zeke Mowatt. He did our business a real favor. After reportedly approaching a female reporter, sticking his naked body a few inches from her face and making several lewd remarks about what he thought she wanted — while some of his teammates egged him on — he then denied the whole thing. He made up a story. He told it to the NFL.

And after weeks of study, the NFL investigation came to the following conclusion: Mowatt’s denial “is not credible.”

Which basically means: Mowatt lied.

Now, some people are surprised at this. I don’t know why. What did you expect, the truth? After all, most athletes are like politicians and actors; they figure the press is only there to make them look good.

As a result, most veteran sports writers have learned to distinguish what is said from what is meant. It’s easy. You pretty much figure one has nothing to do with the other.

Of course, perfecting this can take years of hanging around steamy locker rooms. And who wants to ruin all those clothes? So, as a public service to our readers, I am offering the following handy guide to the most common sports talk — from players, coaches, TV analysts — with the statement on top, and the translation on the bottom.

This way, next time you read something from Mowatt, you’ll be able to laugh, like the rest of us.

Ready? Here we go . . .
* “First of all, I want to give credit to the other team.”

(WE KICKED THE HELL OUT OF THEM. HAHAHAHAHA!)
* “Winning the MVP award is nice, but I’d rather we won the championship.”

(I’m gonna hang this sucker right over my fireplace.)
* “I’m Victor Kiam, and I liked the razor so much, I bought the company.”

(I’m an idiot. Don’t believe a word I say.)
* “What quarterback controversy? If I don’t play this weekend, then I’ll root for whoever does.”

(Yeah. I’ll root for him to meet Lawrence Taylor, knee- high.)
* “Gee, I’d like to stay with the team, but I have to think about my family.”

(If I don’t get $15 million for three years, I’m outta here.)
* “I don’t care what their record is, I guarantee they’ll be fired up when they play us.”

(That’s all we need, to lose to these clowns.)
* “That’s the dumbest rumor I ever heard.”

(I’m gonna kill the guy who leaked it.)
* “He’s a journeyman boxer with a solid reputation.”

(He was the only guy available on half-hour’s notice.)
* “Gee, I don’t know. You’d have to ask the coach about that.”

(While you’re at it, ask the fool when he’s gonna retire.)
* “We were extremely pleased with the production on our broadcast.”

(PBS got higher ratings.)
* “You know, Brent, some think he might be among the two or three most underrated players on his team.”

(Quick, who is this guy?)
* “Just because we’re up 3-0 in the series, we can’t count those guys out yet.”

(Boy, do they stink. What time’s the parade?)
* “THIS WILL BE THE GREATEST FIGHT OF ALL TIME!”

(It will cost $40, pay-per-view.)
* “Son, I promise you’ll be the starting fullback if you come to our university.”

(And the other two kids I promised don’t.)
* “What I like about this kid, more than the way he plays, is that he’s such a great person.”

(He hasn’t been arrested once this semester.)
* “Sure, I’d be happy to sign your T-shirt.”

(You bozo.)
* “There’s nothing wrong with the run ‘n’ shoot.”

(That Jerry Rice couldn’t fix.)
* “I know my holdout might have hurt the team, but it really wasn’t about money.”

(It was about how much money.)
* “He’s a salt-of-the-earth guy.”

(He can’t read.)
* “I didn’t do nothin’.”

(I did everything.)
* “That’s just something a reporter made up, trying to get a story.”

(This excuse will work. It always does.)
* “Statistics are meaningless.”

(How many points did I have?)
* “No comment.”

(Drop dead.)

Mitch Albom will sign copies of his new book, “Live Albom II,” Friday at 6 p.m. at Little Professor in Madison Heights, and 7:45 p.m. at Borders Books in Novi.

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