Now that professional athletes have caught up to the rifle-toting, coke-snorting, vodka-swilling lifestyle that gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson has espoused for decades, it's only fitting that he catch up with them. Beginning on Monday, Thompson will become a featured columnist on espn.com's edgy new link, Page 2.
"Hunter's an avid sports fan," says ESPN executive editor John Walsh, who edited Thompson's material at Rolling Stone in the early 1970s. "I once sent him to cover the Super Bowl when it was held in Houston." The typically rambling 15,000-word piece that ensued, "Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl," devotes relatively little space to describing the game (Dolphins 24, Vikings 7) while loosely chronicling "the eight long and degrading days I had skulked around Houston with all the other professionals, doing our jobs—which was actually to do nothing at all except to drink all the free booze we could pour into our bodies, courtesy of the National Football League, and listening to an endless barrage of some of the lamest and silliest swill ever uttered by man or beast."
Walsh believes the liberal parameters of the Internet are ideal for Thompson. "It's made for him," Walsh says. "Hunter can rant or rave as long as he wants. If a sporting event strikes his fancy, he'll go to it." It's a pretty fair bet, though, that the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will prefer covering events on natural grass.