Thursday, December 8, 2011
JOHN ROCKER: UNPLUGGED AND UNABLE TO GET A LIFE
Just over a month ago, I thought the world was most definitely
about to come to an end. Ryan Leaf, the biggest bust in NFL history
until JaMarcus Russell and his Kool-Aid and codeine brew came
along, was on ESPN promoting his autobiography. Leaf wrote a
That's further proof that anyone with a pulse can put
pen to paper and peddle a story, even if you're the subject and
your life looks like a Nascar pile-up at Talledega. I thought for
sure the title of Leaf's book would be "The Top 5 Ways to
Napalm Your Life, Reputation, and NFL Career," after all, the
quarterback selected second after Peyton Manning in 1998 draft,
destroyed all three after the ink was barely dry on his $50 million
I just shook my head, but was convinced I'd never have
to see a guy like Leaf on a media tour promoting a book about
how his life went off the tracks. I do have to give Leaf props
for promoting his rag in style. He got a Madden-like crusier
to tour the country to go on any and all radio and tv stations
that needed a time fill.
Life is not that simple, though. On Wednesday, I read that John
Rocker had beaten Kardashian victim, Kris Humprhies, to the literary
finish line. John Rocker wrote a book and he said he penned
"98 percent of it" all by himself. Imagine that?! John Rocker
was Ryan Leaf before Ryan Leaf, kind of. I will give Rocker,
a former flame- throwing reliever for the Atlanta Braves some
credit because he did have some success, even though it was
steroid-fueled during an era when 98 percent of the players in
the game were sticking needles in the butt and blowing up like
Popeye. But Rocker was ignorant, arrogant, and ant-like when
it came to public relations. He was just unlikeable.
In 1999, just over a year after the San Diego Chargers made
the biggest blunder in franchise history drafting Leaf, Rocker
made a colossal mistake that defined his career and who he is.
At the zenith of his career, Rocker allowed Jeff Pearlman of
Sports Illustrated to spend a day with him for a piece to be
published in the magazine. A day with Rocker for Pearlman
must've been like a day with Herman Cain for any journalist
covering the Godfather of pizza. You just knew he'd step
on the TNT and blow himself up.
Rocker certainly did when he offended nearly every person
and ethnic group in the human race. He bashed Asians, gays,
and everybody but the teethless, tobacco-dippin', Nascar-loving
folks in his home state of Georgia. Pearlman weaved a profile
of Rocker that either portrayed him as his true self or, according
to Rocker misrepresented his character, which in all reality, was
the beginning to the end of Rocker's career. He was never the
same. Rocker became the most hated man on the planet and
lost his fastball. He was all but finished with the game in 2005.
Now, 12 years after Pearlman's article that shattered his reputation
and career, Rocker is fighting back with his new book, "Scars
and Strikes." Which is in book stores now and certain to be on
eBay and available for three cents just in time for the Christmas
season. It should make for a great stocking stuffer or fuel for
a crackling fire on Christmas morning.
Rocker, who gave an interview to a Georgia television station
on Tuesday, seems like he's still carrying that ax to decapitate
Pearlman. He even used a proverb during his interview which
started with him checking his cell phone for any text messages.
I bet he was hoping to get one from Pearlman. Rocker said,
"Don't pick up fight with a guy who buys ink by the truckload."
said Rocker. "I decided to buy my own truck."
Holy Cow! Rocker means business. 12 years after Pearlman's
article, Rocker is declaring war. He said he spent 3-4 hour's
a day for the last year, busting his brain for this book. And
he's doing it to finally set the record straight on who he is.
It's a little late for that, Rocker. That ink you bought by the
truckload is dry and won't be that effective. As Bill Parcells
famously said, "You are who your record says you are." We
know your record and its not good. Perhaps, you and Leaf
could collaborate on a sequel.