by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

I want my money back. Really. I’m tired of sports stars complaining this is not enough and that is not enough, they want five years not three years, caviar not steak, Jaguar not Mercedes — and then they break a toenail and spend two months on the disabled list.

Andre Ware is unhappy. He wants more money. Lawrence Taylor is unhappy. He wants more money. Rickey Henderson is unhappy. He wants at least as much money as Jose Canseco, who will no doubt be unhappy if Henderson gets it. Now maybe these guys deserve the dollars. But what if they don’t?

Economics has never been my strong suit, but I figure if you buy something and it breaks, you get a refund, right? In which case we ought to be getting something back from Jack Morris this year. If that’s a $2 million pitcher, I’m Erma Bombeck. And how about Ralph Sampson? The guy got $2 million last season to play basketball for Sacramento, and I can’t remember the last time he broke a sweat.

Yet, no matter how bad or offensive, the big-money players continue to get paid. Nobody docks them. When they’re unhappy, you can’t shut them up. But when the contract is signed and the check is cashed and the player goes right down the proverbial toilet, suddenly things are very quiet. The athlete stops talking to the media — “Too negative,” he sniffs — and the agent who worked the deal is suddenly out of town, most likely Monte Carlo.

I say, why not make like a K mart shopper: You don’t like it? Demand a refund. The following is just a partial list of sports personalities who I figure owe us some money for their annoyance, aggravation and ineptitude. After all, we’re the ones who pay for tickets. And remember, no tickee, no Mercedee.

1. Sam Perkins, LA Lakers. Stop! Don’t cash that check! Perkins signs a free-agent deal worth $18 million, then tells a room full of reporters, “I’m a marginal player.” You know what, Sam? You’re right. You owe us: $17 million.

2. Sugar Ray Leonard. Amazing. Whenever his ego needs a fix, he props up one of his old foes, talks about some “unfinished business” and whips up a purse big enough to buy New Guinea. Last year alone, Ray made $27 million for fighting an aging Tommy Hearns and a corpse-like Roberto Duran. Who’s next? Archie Moore? Sugar, you owe us: $23 million. You can keep the rest if you promise never to be a TV analyst again.

3. Brent Musburger. I have searched the globe. I can’t find one person who likes him. Naturally, ABC hires him for $2 million a year. Why? What did we ever do to ABC? Brent’s tab: $1.7 million. And I’m being nice.

4. Jim Valvano. As if Musburger weren’t enough. ABC breaks a story on alleged basketball point shaving at N.C. State — this eventually gets Valvano dismissed. And who is waiting with an analyst job worth $900,000 for three years? ABC. I swear, TV means you never have to say you’re sorry. Coach V owes us: all $900,000. Plus interest.

5. William Bedford. I believe in second chances. Even third chances. I do not believe in $1 million a year for a guy who considers pulling on his shorts a full day’s work. Hey, Willie. Hand over: $999,950. Keep the rest for bus fare back to the real world.

6. Storm Davis & Mark Davis, Kansas City Royals. Now here’s what you call your basic suicide. Mark gets $13 million for four years, Storm gets $6 million for three years, and between them they have won seven games all season. Cheer up, KC. That’s almost a million bucks per victory. Refund due: all of it.

7. Mark Langston, California. Almost as bad as the Fabulous Davis Boys. Langston was hired at a pricey $3 million a year to lift the California Angels; his record is 5-15. That’s not lift. It’s drag.

8. Brian Bosworth. He got $11 million for 10 years from the Seattle Seahawks and played, I think, eight minutes. Now he wants to become an actor. What do you mean become? Refund due: all of it.

9. George Will. Why is it that every time some sniffling intellectual writes a book that makes baseball seem like Lord Byron pitching to William Shakespeare, it winds up as everybody’s Father’s Day gift? Personally, I’d rather have a necktie. George owes us: $10 per book. Shakespeare never scratched himself on the mound.

10. Jon Koncak, Atlanta Hawks. It was a joke, Jon. That one-year deal worth $2.5 million? HAHAHA. You thought they were serious? HAHAHAHA. You owe us: $2.4 million.

11. Greg Norman. It’s not the golf money. It’s the $8 million in endorsements from McDonald’s, Reebok and a host of other suckers. Hey, Greg. You’re a lovely guy. How about winning something? Until then, pay up: $6.4 million.

12. Dan Quisenberry, retired. But still getting paid $2.6 million this year from his old Royals’ contract. KC runs a tight ship, huh?

Other debtors: Bryn Smith, St. Louis, $2 million a year (Kate Smith could pitch better); Tony Mandarich, Green Bay, $1.1 million (by the time his ego deflates, he’ll be 5-foot-7); Don Shula, Miami, $1.1 million (and the Dolphins

were still home for Christmas); Mark Jackson, NY Knicks, $1.8 million (gets booed during warm-ups), and, of course, the grandbaby of them all, Doug Flutie

(not sure where he is, but it’s not far from a bank).

As I said, this is just a partial list. After all, we haven’t even talked about Pascual Perez. But it’s a start. By the way, fellas, we take cash, check or money order. But no credit cards.

You guys are already over the limit.


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