Sunday, February 27, 2011


If the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, then it's pretty obvious
that Sean Salisbury is in a deep, dark place. Watching him on HBO's "Real
Sports" last week, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for a man who
admits to having "lost everything". Eyes sunken, face ashen,
his hair more salt than pepper, Salisbury looks to have blitzed past
middle-aged and gone right  into the line for senior citizens.
The regret and burden of making one colossal mistake, appears to
have sucked the life out of a man, who at times, was the life of every party.

Salisbury's weak moment and big mistake, came at an after party
at a Connecticut bar nearly five years ago. The ex-NFL quarterback
and ESPN analyst,  had taken a cell phone picture of his pecker
and shown it to a co-worker, which of course, is a no-no.
People talk, rumors fly, and the next thing Salisbury knew,
he was suspended by ESPN for a week. When his contract came
up for renewal in 2008, the world-wide leader passed and Salisbury
was on the street.

As an NFL analyst, the former USC quarterback wasn't great
at breaking down games, and his condescending attitude and the
vitriol he spewed towards NFL insider John Clayton, was both
unnecessary and uncomfortable. During one segment, Salisbury,
called Clayton "the crypt keeper." ESPN had an excuse to
drop Salisbury and they used it.

Salisbury lost a great job, but he would lose much more on his
path of self-destruction:  his reputation and any chance of making
a career comeback. In an interview with Deadspin, the website
which broke the story on Brett Favre's sext-messaging scandal,
Salisbury denied what most in the broadcasting already knew-that
he had indeed taken a picture of his genitals and showed it off.

Salisbury, who got fired from his first job after ESPN, working
at a radio station in Dallas, then made another significant blunder.
He chose to get into a text-messaging battle with Deadspin, threatening
to sue them for defaming him and promising to write a tell-all book
about the shenanigan's at ESPN. The more he texted, the more
Salisbury dug a hole for himself. Deadspin printed his texts for the
world to see and Salisbury came across looking like a deranged man
on the verge of a breakdown.

Last January, to cleanse himself and perhaps save what was left
of his career, Salisbury admitted that he did show a co-worker a picture
of his genitals. He also said that he was dropping his lawsuits against
Deadspin and wouldn't write a tell-all book against ESPN.

That's all well and good, but the damage has been done. Nobody in
broadcasting is going to hire a guy who has produced more baggage
than Samsonite. Oh sure,  people in the business have done things
worse than taken pictures of their pecker and been hired for other jobs.
Marv Albert comes to mind. But Salisbury is no Marv Albert. He's just
a former NFL back-up QB, who didn't stand out on television.
There is a line from Bristol to Boston with ex-NFL players who are
more talented than Salisbury as an analyst.

Second of all, Salisbury learned a valuable lesson that a lot of athletes
from Tiger Woods to Brett Favre didn't. Cell phone pictures and texts
can destroy you. And battling those who wield a mighty sword on
the Internet is suicide. The Internet is forever. Nothing can be erased
or taken back. Things got so bad for Salisbury in his battle with Deadspin,
his son e-mailed the editor of the website to ask them to lay off
his dad because he was going through a hard time.

At least, Salisbury didn't have to see his penis show up on the Internet
like Favre, Grady Sizemore, and Greg Oden. Those athletes suffered
tremendous humiliation, but didn't lose their livelihood. Salisbury did,
and I'm just hoping he can somehow find peace and serenity. Because
the road he's headed on now, doesn't appear to be a good one.

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