LaVar, Bruce and me

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On the set with LaVar Arrington, a smart man who could crush me with his left hand.

Fun day today. Appeared on Jim Rome’s Showtime show as a panelist. I was seated at a desk alongside LaVar Arrington, the former NFL linebacker, and Bruce Pearl, the men’s basketball coach at Auburn. Oh, and Jim.

It was fun. Really fun. I’d never met LaVar or Bruce before. They were good guys. Sharp. And Jim … well, Jim is one of my all-time favorite media folks. A genuinely high-quality man who dazzles at the gig.

Anyhow, as we sat and debated the Atlanta Hawks racial situation and Ray Rice’s sudden unemployment and Wes Welker’s 33 IQ, I found myself reveling in my independence. As a big-time Division I coach, Pearl could only say so much. As an analyst for the NFL Network, LaVar could only say so much. They’re employees, and one wrong word or embarrassing misstep could end a career (just ask Rob Parker) or at least put a job in jeopardy. LaVar is an NFL employee—can he really thrash the league or the Broncos or the Ravens? Bruce is supposed to be a leader of young men—can he turn around and bash other leaders in sports? But who do I answer to? What big brother figure is hovering over my shoulder?

Answer: Myself.

It’s true. I need book deals, so I certainly can’t go off on some pro-Nazi crazy rant. However, I can tell Gannett to fuck itself; I can call the Ravens a bunch of sad-sack cowards (You’re a bunch of sad-sack cowards); I can freely state my opinions. It’s a wonderful feeling, and a reason the day I quit my last job (in 2004) remains one of the greatest days of my life.