If Matthew Barnaby really wanted to go a place where everyone
knew his name, did he have to pick the Erie County Sheriff's Office?
For the second time in seven months, the ESPN hockey analyst
wound up there to pose for a mugshot and get fingerprinted.
Barnaby, a former NHL player, was arrested Monday after trying
to drive his Porsche SUV on three wheels, late at night, after drinking
for most of the day. That is the recipe for a DUI and the end of your
career with the World-Wide Leader of Sports. Barnaby got a second
chance with ESPN after going psycho on his ex-wife last May. He was
arrested and charged with second-degree criminal contempt, harassment,
second-degree criminal trespass, and second-degree criminal mischief.
Police say after leaving the location, he made angry phone calls, and
Barnaby was also charged with aggravated harassment via a cell phone.
His girlfriend at the time, Michelle Beadle, a host at ESPN, then
sprinted away from Barnaby and that relationship like Usain Bolt and
never looked back. One has to wonder about the judgement of Beadle
for getting involved with this hooligan in the first place.
Barnaby pleaded out and somehow kept his job at ESPN. Jay
Marriotti got arrested for an act similar but not quite as bad as Barnaby's
and he got canned like Rick Neuheisel of UCLA, quick and without
much resistance or complaint from the public. Now, what does ESPN
do? Barnaby didn't exactly learn his lesson and has embarrassed the
sports network even more. Perhaps, after the Sean Salisbury and
Steve Phillips major malfunctions, ESPN has become immune to any
type of criticism and the behavior by Barnaby seems pretty tame in
That shouldn't be the big issue, though, Barnaby's welfare is a lot
more important than talking hockey on ESPN for three minutes
every other night. Barnaby is a runaway train heading for disaster.
I remember covering Barnaby when he played in the minor-leagues.
He was hockey's version of Lenny Dykstra, a "Nails" on ice, if
you will. Barnaby would fight anytime, any place, anywhere. He
definitely had a few screws loose and that was before he even
got to the NHL. Once he got there, Barnaby became one of the
games biggest agitators. Playing for six different teams for parts
of 13 seasons, Barnaby racked up more than 2,000 penalty
minutes. He once got into a fight with former Buffalo Sabres
teammate, Rob Ray, after they had dinner the night before the game.
Like so many fighters in hockey, Barnaby took countless
bare-knuckle shots to the head and lord only knows how many
concussions he actually sustained. But something is not quite
right with Barnaby now. The anger management classes
are not working. It's rather obvious, Barnaby likes to drink
and you don't need Dr. Oz to tell you that anger, alcohol, and
driving is not good combination. Barnaby needs help. There
are enough red flags with him to stop the Indy and Daytona 500
in their tracks
The track record of those who made their living in the NHL
with their fists, is not good. Bob Probert, Derek Boogaard,
Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak have all died in the last two years,
two of them by the way of suicide. Is it coincidence? Perhaps.
But something is going on with enforcers and something disastrous
appears to be heading Barnaby's way. I sure hope someone
can stop it because it's apparent Barnaby can't do it on his own.