As Phillips falls from grace, we need to alter rules
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column has been retrieved from our archives by popular request. It was originally published October 23, 2009.
Among other things, the NBA widened the lane to lessen Wilt Chamberlain's impact.
The NCAA outlawed dunking to slow Lew Alcindor.
There are moments in our history when common sense forces us to change the rules in deference to a unique, unprecedented force of nature.
In the aftermath of ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips' sordid affair with Monica Lewinsky II, we can no longer deny the inadequacies of America's current relationship rules as they pertain to the battle against Pussy Galore.
It's time to change the rules of the game.
There's been too much carnage. She shredded Rick Pitino's reputation. She pushed Josh Hamilton off the wagon. She sweet-talked Charles Barkley into driving drunk. She hoodwinked Dirk Nowitzki into falling in love with a fugitive.
And now a 22-year-old slump-buster has apparently cost Steve Phillips his marriage and his credibility to analyze baseball.
It's not right. A little off-the-books nookie should not infringe on man's ability to discuss bats and balls in October.
Enough is enough. It's time we had an adult conversation about Ms. Galore and her ability to ruin lives, careers and reputations. We have given her this power and it's obvious she's abusing it.
If we don't soon take action, she threatens to bring down our democracy and wreck the overtime budget of ESPN's human resources department.
I mean, really, at this point Hugh Hefner is considering relocating to Bristol. Hef's mansion has absolutely nothing on Chris Berman's animal house. It won't be long before Linda Cohn and Scott Van Pelt do SportsCenter from The Grotto.
If Sean Salisbury isn't allegedly flashing his Salisbury steak, then Harold Reynolds is allegedly wining and dining in Outback parking lots or Woody Paige is allegedly trying to seduce his makeup artist.
Years ago columnist Mike Freeman wrote an infamous book exploring ESPN's sexcapades and the frat-like atmosphere at the Worldwide Leader. I might pen the followup:
<em>"The Peter Principle: 40-year-old wannabe jocks and the 20-somethings who love them."</em>
Honestly, my book would be sympathetic. It would be written from the perspective of the inevitability of it all, the foolishness of modern man attempting to adhere to outdated rules limiting the venues a man — married or single — can wave his magic stick.
Yes, I said it. It's time for change we can really believe in, a relaxing of sexual monogamy laws for men. Our antiquated system nearly cost us a president. And now, just days before Halloween and in the middle of a terrific American League Championship Series, it has cost us John Kruk's wingman.
Who's next? Will we soon learn the gory details of how Hammerin' Hank Goldberg earned his nickname? Will Lee Corso be implicated in the Erin Andrews video scandal? Will the compromising blackmail photographs Rick Reilly used to land his ESPN contract finally surface?
(Note to AJ Daulerio at Deadspin: The above comments are just jokes. They are not facts to be published on your Web site. I now understand why you and Will Leitch were so fascinated that a woman texted Stu Scott at Super Bowl party. You guys are offended at the thought of anyone getting some.)
Let's put an end to the sexual madness. Let's recognize where we're at as a society and open our borders.
Technological, medical and sociological advances have rendered monogamy a theory/fantasy attained solely by men without options and even less self-confidence.
Sexual prohibition for a healthy American man is as futile as alcohol prohibition. Man was meant to eat, drink and be merry, and a heterosexual man's happiness is directly tied to his visitation privileges with PG.
Man is most happy when he is free to experience her pleasure in her varied forms, textures and styles of dress.
I like steak. Capital Grille is my favorite steakhouse. I could eat at Capital Grille seven nights a week. But, especially when I'm traveling, I like to experience different steakhouses. My occasional trips to Shula's, Morton's, Ruth's Chris and Smith and Wollensky in no way infringe upon my undying love and support of Capital Grille. In fact, shortly after I've digested my meal at a different steakhouse, I'm reminded just how much I love Cap Grille.
Consequently, if a man can afford a no-disease, no-pregnancy occasional night on the town without it affecting his financial and lovemaking responsibilities at home, as mature adults we must reach the point where we can allow this without breaking up the family or running a man from political office/off the set of a popular TV show.
It's simply not personal. It's physical. And in many ways it's a weakness magnified by societal evolution.
Monogamy was invented before women entered the workplace, text messaging, cell phones, Viagra, exercise, makeup, perfume, hair extensions, shaved legs, clothes that revealed cleavage, Internet porn and on and on.
Seriously, think about it. Let's just go back 50 or 60 years. The typical American man didn't exercise and smoked cigarettes. By age 45 he was almost completely out of the game. Stress, hypertension and just being fat and lazy knocked about all the starch out of his little man. Marilyn Monroe could proposition him, and there was a 75 percent chance he couldn't answer the call to duty.
Now a guy like Phillips, 46, probably works out five days a week, watches what he eats, has never smoked a cigarette and keeps a stash of Cialis in the glove compartment of his car. He's locked and loaded 24/7.
The point is, 46 is the new 16. To a 46-year-old man, a 22-year-old intern is the wind gust that makes his flag fly.
That is not condoning all of Phillips' actions. If you've read <a href="http://www.nypost.com/r/nypost/2009/10/21/news/media/lettermistresstowifea.pdf" target="_blank">the note Hundley wrote</a> to Phillips' wife, then you know Phillips engaged in a level of pillow talk that breaks every rule known by a true playa.
Does Phillips know the difference between a Bobby Brown "tenderoni" and a Bill Clinton "tenderbaloney?" The latter is given information on a strict need-to-know basis. You think Clinton had Lewinsky sit in on national security meetings?
I'm sorry. I digress.
Gender equality has given men more access to women. This is not a good thing for fidelity. Madonna, Britney, Paris and Lil' Kim haven't helped much, either. Women are far more sexually aggressive than they used to be. They'll describe in graphic detail exactly what they'll do that your wife can't or won't, and they'll back it up by texting you a naked cell-phone pic.
Brooke Hundley reportedly purchased an ad on Craigslist offering to pay someone $50 to call Phillips' wife and tell her about the affair. I could argue that Phillips is a victim, preyed upon by a KiddyCat, a 20-something on the hunt for her Sugar Daddy.
It's long past time to change the rules. We have to quit judging married men by their ability or inability to keep it in their pants. Women are looking for love in the wrong place. It's not in our crotch. We keep lust there.
Only humans are dumb enough to place such importance on sexual monogamy. It's unnatural. It's emotionally crippling. It destroys families. And it's wreaked havoc on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" set. Harold Reynolds and Steve Phillips were arguably my two favorite baseball analysts.
Let's redefine marriage by putting sex in its proper place. Reproduction should remain sacred between a married man and woman. Sex should be enjoyed between consenting, mature adults.
I say a moderately famous man earning between $250K and $500K a year should be allowed a mistress he can see weekly, one week-long, $8,000 vacation he can take with his mistress and five strip club nights with his boys a year.
A moderately famous man earning between $500K and $1 million a year should be allowed a mistress he can see weekly and every other weekend, a 10-day, $15,000 vacation with his mistress, a $1,500-a-month, fully-furnished apartment for his mistress and seven strip club nights with his boys.
Any man earning more than $1 million a year should come and go as he damn well pleases.