The definition of turkey has more than one meaning; the most accepted one being the bird that most of us have in our refrigerators in abundance the day after Thanksgiving. Next, a turkey is defined as, a person or thing of little appeal, a dud or a loser. It could also mean a stupid or inept person. With apologies to my buddies at SportTalk who hand out the coveted “Turkey of the Year” award, today I am listing the top 10 real turkeys in the sports world for 2013.
1. Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees: A-Rod is facing a suspension from Major League Baseball of more than 200 games for using illegal substances and lying about it. He is currently appealing the lengthy suspension, which would take almost a year and a half from his floundering career. At the age of 38, he would be almost 40 when he was able to play again, so my advice to him is this; quit while you’re ahead. Go home and count your money and enjoy life. You’re finished as a baseball player.
2. The guys on the FCS selection committee who left out the UTC Mocs from the expanded playoffs: They were co-champs of the Southern Conference and their only two league losses were on the road at Georgia Southern and at Samford. Both games went down to the wire, yet the committee chose to make the Mocs stay home for the 29th straight year.
3. The football coaching staff at Marion County High School: I don’t want to rehash this again because the good people in Marion County are trying to move on and rebuild a once proud program. But my goodness, these guys made national news for their poor judgment and underhanded deeds.
4. Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito: His taunting and alleged bullying of rookie teammate Jonathan Sanders led to Sanders quitting the team. It also led to an NFL investigation of the team which resulted in allegations of Dolphins assistant coaches who were aware of the bullying and actually encouraged it.
5. Lance Armstrong: Going from one of the world’s most idolized heroes to the role of a major illegal substance abuser as well as an outright cheater is hard to ignore.
6. Former Tennessee and USC Coach Lane Kiffen: After starting the season 3-2 and giving up 62 points to Arizona State, he was fired on the spot and replaced by assistant coach Ed Orgeron. Since that time, the Trojans have gone 5-1.
7. The detective at the Tallahassee, Florida Police Department who told the victim of an alleged rape by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston that Tallahassee is a big football town and she should think long and hard about pursuing charges, because folks there could make her life miserable: Are you kidding me? Did this guy have his head in the sand two years ago when Penn State officials tried to cover up the Jerry Sandusky scandal? His job as a police officer is to protect the rights of victims of crime; not protect FSU football players. By the way, it will still be two more weeks before a decision is made about bringing charges against “Famous Jameis.”
8. SEC Replay Officials: Right or wrong, it seems every single “review” was overturned and went Vanderbilt’s way last weekend in their come-from-behind win over Tennessee. Come to think of it, it’s been that way for several seasons for the Vols. (Maybe there is something about this karma thing)
9. Maurkice and Mike Pouncey: These two brothers who are both offensive linemen for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers were recently photographed wearing caps that stated, “Free Hernandez.” Obviously in reference to Aaron Hernandez, their former Florida Gator teammate who is accused of murder. (Is it any wonder the Steelers are a dismal 5-7 on the year?)
10. South Carolina fans who came up with the “Fear The Thumb” slogan. Even I had to stop and think about this one. You see, the Gamecocks have beaten their hated rivals, the Clemson Tigers four straight seasons. Another win this weekend would make it five in a row and the only digit left to hold up is the thumb; thus, fear the thumb. Regardless of which team wins in Columbia, S.C., the Gamecock faithful should also be fearful of Clemson fans holding up another finger as they leave town.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).