Pete Rose finally came clean.
Unlike Mark McGwire, I'm here to talk about the past. Specifically, I'm here to talk about the best sports quotes of the 2000s, which I've broken down by a series of categories: The News, The Rants, The Asterisks (anything performance-enhancer related) and The Funny.
I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come out of this list. Though I cannot guarantee that I did not misremember a quote or leave one off, hopefully you will get a little snapshot of the past 10 years in sports. Maybe you will even laugh a time or two. If you don't, then you can come after me! I'm a man!
"Yes, I did, and that was my mistake, not coming clean a lot earlier."
-- Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit king, who has been banned from the sport, when asked by ABC's Charles Gibson in January 2004 whether he had bet on baseball games as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. For almost 15 years, Rose had denied ever betting on the game, but finally admitted so in his 2004 autobiography My Prison Without Bars.
"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that."
-- Don Imus, radio host, referring to members of the Rutgers women's basketball team on his nationally syndicated program in April 2007. He apologized for his remarks, but his Imus in the Morning program was canceled eight days later.
"What can I say? I tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."
-- Pedro Martinez, Red Sox pitcher, after a September 2004 loss to the Yankees, a defeat that dropped Boston's record in Martinez's 23 previous starts against New York to 6-17. The quote prompted Yankees fans to chant, "Who's your daddy?" at Martinez during the '04 ALCS.
"We do not intend to become a trophy in their display case. There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet."
-- Hootie Johnson, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, in a July 2002 press release about the National Council of Women's Organizations, its chairperson, Martha Burk, and her push to get the all-male membership of Augusta National to admit a female member. Seven years later, Augusta National remains an all-male club.
"I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing."
-- John Rocker, Braves closer, in the Dec. 27, 1999-Jan. 3, 2000, issue of Sports Illustrated, when asked by writer Jeff Pearlman if he'd ever play in New York City. Rocker was suspended for the first two weeks of the 2000 season and fined $500 for his comments.
"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
-- Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio host, questioning Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb's ability during an appearance on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown in September 2003. Four days later, Limbaugh resigned from his position as commentator on the pregame show.
"I still am in shock that I did that. I just can't believe that I did that. I am such an idiot."
-- Phil Mickelson, pro golfer, after recording a double bogey on the 72nd and final hole of the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, thus blowing a one-shot lead and handing the tournament to Geoff Ogilvy.
"I could give a s--- about Carolina right now."
-- Roy Williams, Kansas basketball coach and North Carolina alumnus, to CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein after his team lost the 2003 NCAA championship game to Syracuse. He was asked whether he would accept an offer to become the Tar Heels' coach if it was made. Exactly one week later, Williams left Kansas for North Carolina.
"I'm not going to be the Alabama coach. I shouldn't even have to comment on this."
-- Nick Saban, Dolphins coach, on whether he would be leaving the NFL for Tuscaloosa in December 2006, one of many denials he made to the media on the subject. Two weeks after this statement, Saban accepted an offer to become Alabama's coach.
Peyton Manning was teed off by a kicker.
"I'm out at my third Pro Bowl, I'm about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we're honoring the Hall of Fame, and we're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off. The sad thing is, he's a good kicker. He's a good kicker. But he's an idiot."
-- Peyton Manning, Colts quarterback, in a sideline interview during the 2003 Pro Bowl about teammate Mike Vanderjagt, three days after the kicker told a Canadian television network that Manning should show more emotion during games.
"I've got my family to feed."
-- Latrell Sprewell, Timberwolves guard-forward, to reporters in November 2004 when explaining why he wanted the team to sign him to a contract extension or trade him. Sprewell made $14.6 million for the 2004-05 season.
"I play when I want to play."
-- Randy Moss, Vikings receiver, in November 2001 after being criticized for not giving 100 percent all the time.
"I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God bless."
-- Tim Tebow, Florida quarterback, after a September 2008 loss to Mississippi ended the program's chance at the its first undefeated season. After that loss, the Gators won 10 straight games to claim their second national championship in three seasons. The speech is now immortalized on a plaque outside the football facility at Florida Field.
"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves."
-- Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team, about coach Greg Ryan's decision to start Briana Scurry over her in the 2007 Women's World Cup semifinals against Brazil. Scurry allowed four goals in a 4-0 loss. Solo, who was temporarily banished from the team, started in goal against Brazil 11 months later in the Olympic gold-medal game and led the U.S. to a 1-0 victory.
"I'm innocent. I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent. I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery."
-- Kobe Bryant, Lakers guard, after he was charged with felony sexual assault stemming from an encounter with a 19-year-old concierge at an Edwards, Colo., resort in June 2003. The charge was dropped one year later. A civil lawsuit between Bryant and the woman was settled out of court in 2005.
Brett Favre couldn't say goodbye.
"I just got caught up in the moment and oh well."
-- Lindsey Jacobellis, U.S. Olympic snowboarder, to NBC's Bob Costas in 2006 after she fell while attempting a showboat move near the end of the final of the first women's Olympic snowboardcross, causing her to lose a seemingly insurmountable lead and, as a result, the gold medal. Jacobellis came in second.
"At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football."
-- Brett Favre, Packers quarterback, during a tear-filled February 2008 news conference. Five months later, he reported to camp with the Packers, who then traded him to the New York Jets, for whom Favre started 16 games.
"It's time to leave."
-- Favre, in a February 2009 conference call to announce his next retirement. Six months later, he signed with the Vikings.