The Joker Is Wild
Victor Kiam shows that he still doesn't get it
After the NFL issued its report last November on the locker-room incident involving Boston Herald sportswriter Lisa Olson and several New England Patriots, commissioner Paul Tagliabue wrote in a letter to owner Victor Kiam that he thought the Patriots had "learned a hard lesson from this," and that by "studying what went wrong, we may avoid the repetition of folly."
Folly was repeated on Feb. 4 at a Stamford (Conn.) Old-Timers Athletic Association dinner when Kiam, the featured speaker, told an off-color joke about Olson. Kiam's joke received wide play over the next few days (which is only one of the reasons not to repeat it here). The NFL's statement on the matter said, "We understand that Mr. Kiam has made an appropriate apology for the unfortunate remarks made at a roast.... Any speculation on possible disciplinary action would be premature."
Kiam said he tried to call Olson the next day to apologize, and others, in both the Patriots organization and the league office, busied themselves trying to make apologies for Kiam. Here were some of the excuses: It was a men-only dinner; he didn't realize there would be any reporters among the 800 guests; the joke was made only in the spirit of the evening; hey, the joke was funny.
All joking aside, Kiam just doesn't seem to catch on. Back in October, after word of the locker-room incident became public, he reportedly called Olson a "classic bitch" and "a flyspeck in the ocean." He apologized then, too.
But apologies are no longer enough. Apparently, the $50,000 that the NFL fined the Patriots last fall wasn't enough, either. In December the commissioner stuck his neck out by pulling the 1993 Super Bowl out of Phoenix in the name of racial equality. Now he has an opportunity to do something for the cause of sexual equality.
Who's really responsible for the mess at Syracuse?
When Raw Recruits, a book about abuses in college basketball written by Armen Keteyian and this correspondent, was published last year, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was furious. The book devotes five pages to charges that New York City street agent Rob Johnson steered top high school basketball players to Syracuse in violation of NCAA rules, and Boeheim felt that was five pages too many. After calling the allegation "a travesty, an outrage," Boeheim said, "We have never broken an NCAA rule and never will."