Former Nittany Lions star running back and current NFL perennial screw-up Larry Johnson is in deep shit yet again. I have spared you some of the stories about his recent arrests, but I couldn’t hold it back any longer.
This time, the chronic malcontent of the Kansas City Chiefs has been slandering people via Twitter from his cell phone.
He issued one of his typically unconvincing apologies today, but the team has told him to stay away from team activities, including practice, while the Chiefs are investigating the “alleged” comments.
The comments, posted on Sunday by Johnson after the Chiefs’ 37-7 loss to the Chargers, were directed toward Chiefs coach Todd Haley. According to Kent Babb of The Kansas City Star, Johnson used “a gay slur” in one of his tweets while responding to a follower, and another “gay slur” Monday after telling reporters he wasn’t speaking publicly until Thursday.
So, I guess the translation is that he called his coach, his Twitter followers, and reporters all fags.
Johnson’s apology (issued this afternoon in a statement by his agent to The Kansas City Star):
“First of all, I want to apologize to the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the NFL, Commissioner Goodell, the Chiefs organization, Coach Todd Haley, his staff, and my teammates for the words I used yesterday. I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate. I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.
“I also want to apologize to all the kids who view athletes as role models. I was not a good role model yesterday and hopefully I can become a better role model. We all make mistakes, and the challenge is to learn from them. I will do my best to learn from this one as I move toward becoming a better person, teammate, and member of the Kansas City Chiefs team and community.”
There lies the unconvincing part I referred to above. How many times must Larry screw up and then apologize for it before we get the point that he is the same spoiled kid he was at Penn State? He always knew better than his “old coaches” — Joe Paterno and Dick Vermeil were who he had in mind with that characterization — and when he got a younger one in Herman Edwards, he knew better than him, too. Johnson has the credentials to have become a revered NFL superstar — a Hall of Famer, perhaps — but he continues to squander the opportunities he is given.
Kansas City is fed up with the former Pro-Bowler. However, according to Jason Whitlock of The Kansas City Star, the Chiefs shouldn’t release Johnson because he serves a valuable purpose in diverting attention from the suckage that defines the 2009 Kansas City Chiefs, to wit:
Within hours of the Chiefs turning in a Three Stoogeslike performance that called into question Haley’s competency to lead an NFL team and Pioli’s sanity as it relates to Matt Cassel, Larry Johnson created a distraction that took the spotlight off KC’s rookie coach and GM.
Hell, I’d give Johnson a bonus, a laptop to carry to practice and the green light to tweet 24/7.
Short of Michael Jackson returning from the grave and announcing he’d sing the national anthem at the Chiefs’ next home game, LJ’s tweet smack talk and locker-room F-bomb are the best thing that could happen to Pioli and Haley this week.
Look, I’m not condoning LJ’s actions. But a football player mumbling the F-word inside a locker room is about as surprising as a Klansman shouting the N-word at a cross burning, me passing gas at fat camp or an ESPN personality sexting with an intern.
Why Johnson is still with the team after all the incidents of the past six or so years, I have NFI! Neither does Whitlock:
Now is not the time to cut Larry Johnson. Pioli could’ve and should’ve done that in February. LJ, pardon the cliche, is what he is. He’s a moody, immature weirdo who pouts when things go poorly and broods when things are going well.
Clearly, some people are just coming to the realization that most of us Nittany Lions fans reached around 2002.