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Pardoner's Tale
Steve Rushin
March 12, 2001
In an era of officially bestowed forgiveness, the sports world offers a lineup of likely excusees
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March 12, 2001

Pardoner's Tale

In an era of officially bestowed forgiveness, the sports world offers a lineup of likely excusees

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I hereby pardon Tonya Harding, who knows that "capping" people is never the answer, unless you're kneecapping them ( Nancy Kerrigan) or hubcapping them (her own boyfriend).

I hereby pardon Vince McMahon, who figured out that all a football fan really wants in a team is a rinky-dink logo, some bush-league showboating, a camera-loving coach and an owner who's beyond embarrassment. (Not his fault that the Ravens beat him to it.)

I hereby pardon, out of pity, Gary Sheffield. He is now considered to be such a malcontent that even such chronic complainers as Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas have asked reporters not to lump them in with the Dodgers slugger, whose perpetual petulance begs for a new coinage in the sportswriters' lexicon: Perpetulance?

Finally, I hereby grant a blanket pardon to Bonds, Thomas, Ryan Leaf, Theoren Fleury and every other athlete whom scribes have described—over the past year alone—as reformed, rehabbed, reborn, redeemed or renewed, when in fact they proved recalcitrant, recidivist, repellent, reprobative or released. The athletes can't help that we can't help ourselves, that journalists feel a pathological compulsion to fatten up athletes one week and feast on their carcasses the next.

We beg your pardon.

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