Wednesday, November 25, 2020

It's Turkey of the Year time again ... and for 2020, it's the Bigliest Turkey ever


I've been choosing the Turkey of the Year since 1998. Sometimes the selection was difficult because there were so many losers, louts, liars and/or lowlifes from which to choose ... and sometimes it was easy because the choice was obvious to me. 

This year's pick falls into the Obvious category because he's a Loser with a capital L (as well as an infamous liar, lout and lowlife). 

Although there were others who would have been a fine top turkey pick in a more normal year, there's nothing normal about 2020. And there really was no other choice in a terrible year most of us wish would JUST FREAKIN' END ALREADY!

But before we talk about him, here's a look back at my selections throughout the years ...

  • 2019 -- Antonio Brown
  • 2018 -- J.R. Smith
  • 2017 -- Kyle Shanahan
  • 2016 -- Pat McCrory
  • 2015 -- Derrick Rose
  • 2014 -- Roger Goodell and Ray Rice
  • 2013 -- Alex Rodriguez
  • 2012 -- U.S. Ryder Cup Team
  • 2011 -- Joe Paterno (and his Penn State enablers)
  • 2010 -- Mark McGwire
  • 2009 -- Milton Bradley
  • 2008 -- Choking Cubbies
  • 2007 -- Charlie Weis
  • 2006 -- Aramis Ramirez
  • 2005 -- Andy MacPhail, Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker
  • 2004 -- Sammy Sosa
  • 2003 -- Sammy Sosa
  • 2002 -- Dick Jauron
  • 2001 -- David Wells and Frank Thomas
  • 2000 -- Bobby Knight
  • 1999 -- Jerry Krause
  • 1998 -- Mike McCaskey

Alert readers will note that up until 2010, each of those gentlemen did his turkeying in Chicago and/or the Midwest because that's where I was based. The "award" actually got its start under my Copley Newspapers predecessor and friend, the late, great Gene Seymour. Since moving to North Carolina, I've expanded my Turkey-choosing horizons. Still, as always, I dedicate this in memory of Gene.

Additionally, on this Thanksgiving, I will be fondly remembering two beloved Copley colleagues who died this year: Bill Rood, a great guy who hired me as Chicago sports columnist back in 1998; and Barry Locher, my supervisor most of my Copley tenure, one of the best journalists I've ever known, and just a tremendous human being. They will be missed.


Without further ado, here's the 2020 Turkey of the Year countdown ...

12. RUDY GOBERT. Years from now, when we're looking back at the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah Jazz center will be the answer to the question: What NBA nincompoop mockingly touched every microphone at a press conference just 48 hours before revealing he had the virus, leading to all sports in the United States getting shut down almost immediately?

11. JIM HARBAUGH. Failing to beat Ohio State is now only one of the Michigan coach's many problems, as his program has become a national laughingstock.

10. ROBINSON CANO. Juice much? His second PED-related suspension will cost the Mets second baseman the entire 2021 season -- and a cool $24 million. 

9. MIKE LEACH. In April, the Mississippi State football coach retweeted an image of a woman knitting a noose, undermining the school's attempts to continue making progress on racial issues. That and other woes led to at least a dozen Bulldogs leaving the program, part of the reason Leach's team is 2-5 this season.

8. GREGG MARSHALL. The Wichita State basketball coach resigned under fire less than two weeks before the start of this delayed season after it was learned he had been abusing players physically, verbally and mentally for years. Nice guy.

7. MINNESOTA TIMBERBABIES. They traded for Jimmy Butler in 2017 because they sucked and they desperately needed a veteran leader. But the kids weren't all right, whining about having to play with such a demanding teammate, and Butler ended up in Miami -- where he led the surprising Heat to the NBA Finals. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, sucked again.

6. CODY BELLINGER and ENRIQUE HERNANDEZ. It's hard to get on their case too much, because they were major contributors to the Dodgers' title run, but they might want to tone down their home-run celebrations. The massive forearm slam they gave each other after Bellinger's NL Championship Series-deciding HR against Atlanta ended up dislocating Bellinger's shoulder so badly he needed offseason surgery. 

5. KEVIN CASH. At least Bellinger, Hernandez & Co. had reason to celebrate -- unlike Tampa Bay fans. Cash, the Rays' manager, took out ace Blake Snell after 5 1/3 stellar innings of Game 7 of the World Series. After TB's bullpen coughed up the lead, the Dodgers and their fans have an extra reason to be thankful this year.

4. BILL O'BRIEN. In May, the Houston Texans coach and GM traded away the team's best offensive player, DeAndre Hopkins. Predictably, after an 0-4 start, O'Brien became the team's ex-coach/GM. A few weeks later, Hopkins made the best catch of the entire NFL season for the Arizona Cardinals.

3. CLIPPERS. Paul George -- the self-ordained "Playoff P" -- choked again. And this time he helped bring Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers down with him, as a team built to win a championship instead had to watch the other L.A. squad take the NBA crown.

2. TOM BRADY. 2020 began with the 42-year-old Patriots QB throwing a pick-6 that sealed New England's first-round playoff loss to Tennessee. And last week, the 43-year-old Bucs QB sealed a Tampa loss to the Rams with a horribly thrown INT. Oh, and in a loss to Chicago, Brady forgot which down it was in a crucial situation; he later lied about his error and criticized teammates for making mistakes. History will say he's one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, maybe even the greatest, but Father Time stops for nobody.

And now ... The 2020 Turkey of the Year ...


It is sad (and more than a little scary) that more than 70 million Americans let themselves be conned so thoroughly that they voted for a deranged, racist, inept, dangerous, immoral, unethical, indecent, impeached liar who has shrugged his shoulders while 260,000 Americans have died on his watch.

Nevertheless, there still is much to be thankful for, namely ...

The Worst President Ever "inspired" more people to vote against him than any candidate in the nearly 250-year history of our great democratic republic. So the bigliest cancer will officially be cut out of our national body in less than 2 months.

It is no secret that I do not care for the person I call, among other things ...

President Pandemic ... President Super-Spreader ... Donnie Covidseed ... the Liar In Chief ... the Charlatan In Chief ... the Racist In Chief ... the Criminal In Chief ... the Narcissist In Chief ... Individual-1 ... the Emperor Wannabe ... Comrade Trumpsky ... Putin's Puppet ... The Worst President Ever ... and many more!

My favorite nickname for him, though, is the most recent one: LOSER IN CHIEF.

I could go on and on about all the ways he has hurt our nation -- and is still hurting it weeks after the election, desperately trying to subvert our democracy by disenfranchising tens of millions of American voters, mostly minorities. But it would take me until Thanksgiving 2023 to list all of his heinous words, deeds and policies.

When I told my wife -- who has a stronger disdain for the Loser In Chief than any person I know -- that he was going to be my Turkey of the Year, she asked, "Great ... but what does he have to do with sports?"

It's a legit question, and the legit answer is: "Plenty."

The former owner of the USFL's New Jersey Generals, he infamously drove that league to an early demise by insisting they challenge the NFL in court; the result was a $1 jury award, and the collapse of the USFL. Brilliant strategy by a guy who somehow managed to bankrupt numerous casinos.

But hey, at least that $1 award was tripled due to antitrust laws. Never has the simile "as phony as a $3 bill" rung more true.

An overt racist, the Loser In Chief has viciously targeted Black athletes over the years ... and 2020 has only amplified that, as racial tensions swept the country following the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. 

On June 1, right after delivering a speech in the Rose Garden in which he called himself "an ally of all peaceful protesters," he ripped athletes for saying they would take a knee during the national anthem.

Whether or not one believes athletes should take a knee in such situations is beside the point. I like to think everybody can agree that form of protest is, indeed, peaceful. But the Loser In Chief is a pathological liar and a racist, so of course he contradicted his own words. 

Hell, the very hour he lied about being an ally of peaceful protesters, he had his militia attack peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square just so he could stage a photo-op of himself holding a bible upside-down -- an event so evil and depraved that even Pat Freakin' Robertson ripped him for it.  

There's plenty more.

The Liar In Chief actually took credit for the Big Ten deciding to play football this season, resulting in this reaction from the president of one Big Ten university:

“President Trump had nothing to do with our decision and did not impact the deliberations. In fact, when his name came up (in conversation among the 14 league presidents), it was a negative, because no one wanted this to be political.”

The Racist In Chief also ripped Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, for something Wallace did not do.

The Emperor Wannabe is so disgustingly racist that many of America's highest-profile Black athletes have refused to go to the White House to be honored for winning championships. For that matter, entire teams have declined the invitation to give the Narcissist In Chief a chance to bloviate and lie in their presence.

And then there's golf ...

After relentlessly criticizing his predecessor for playing too often, the Liar In Chief has teed it up more than any president ever. Rather than working with experts to do something about a virus that he himself called "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," Donnie Covidseed has kept burying his head in sand traps.

Not surprisingly, the guy who has been trying to cheat his way to a second term is an inveterate rule-breaker on the golf course, as documented hilariously by author Rick Reilly.

So there are plenty of sports-related reasons to explain the obvious:

In this, one of the worst years ever, there was no other possible choice for Turkey of the Year than The Worst President Ever.

Jan. 20, 2021, Inauguration Day for Joe Biden, can't get here soon enough.