Tuesday Teabag, June 25, 2013 – Serena Williams

Destroying a tennis ball and a family all at the same time.

Destroying a tennis ball and a family all at the same time.

What is it about athletes that make them completely self-absorbed assholes?  Is it the unlimited amounts of fame, power, and money?  Rhetorical question (note: if The Machine had unlimited amounts of fame, power, and money, we’d be even bigger d-bags).  Also, why do they think they’re experts on everything, and can say and do whatever they want with no repercussions?  Probably that whole fame, power, and money thing, plus the fact that no one ever tells them no. 

Did anyone think Lenny Dykstra’s investment management business was going to succeed?  How about Curt Schilling’s video game company?  Should Michael Jordan be making high-level basketball decisions (two words:  Kwame Brown), and what the fuck is Dennis Rodman doing in North Korea?  Update:  Lenny just got released from prison for serving time for bankruptcy fraud, Curt’s video game company, 38 Studios, has declared bankruptcy, MJ continues to run the Charlotte Bobcats into the ground (seriously, just look at their roster), and the Worm…well, he just may be brokering a peace treaty with Kim Jung-un.

What’s next?  Well, The Machine’s hoping to add “Slap a Ho:  A Guide to Finding Mrs. Right” by Pacman Jones to our summer reading list. 

Anywho, it’s this total lack of self-awareness that brings Serena Williams into our crosshairs.  Serena is currently the best women’s tennis player on the planet, and will likely go down as one of the all-time greats (she’s an obvious Top 5 and likely Top 3).  But her success on the court has not translated to success off the court.  In fact, off the court she’s a hot mess.  Recently, she sat down for an interview with Rolling Stone, where she let loose on a barrage of crazy talk.  Here’s her comments on the Steubenville Rape Case. 

“Do you think it was fair, what they [the convicted rapists] got?  They did something stupid, but I don’t know.  I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you:  Don’t take drinks from other people.  She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember?  It could have been much worse.  She’s lucky.  Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

First of all, what the what?  Did you just say the 16 year old rape victim was lucky and put herself in that situation?  Wow.  Obviously, this was instantly met with harsh criticism, forcing her into spin mode, where she issued an “apology” which of course means she didn’t apologize at all, saying:  “What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”  Notice the complete dickishness of this apology.  What she supposedly said?  Did she say it or not?  This is the typical athlete “taken out of context” “I’m sorry for getting caught and not what I did” apology.  It rings completely hollow.  Note:  Serena (read: her PR team) has since issued a second apology, this time a real one, and she also reached out to the victim and her family (a well-orchestrated, albeit completely transparent, PR move).  Sorry, too little too late.  As a general rule, if you have to apologize two times for the same thing, you really fucked up. 

In the same interview, Serena also imparted some relationship advice.  This is where the story gets good, and by good, we mean Jerry Springer good.  Referring to Maria Sharapova (who’s dating Serena’s ex), Serena’s claws came out.  “She begins every interview with `I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’ – it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.”

Meow!  Bitter much?  You’re the best tennis player in the world, yet you just went high school drama on another girl.  And, not get invited to the cool parties?  Really?  You’re a Jehovah’s witness and don’t drink, we’re pretty sure the parties you’re at aren’t cool.

Serena, you just got served.

Serena, you just got served.

Sharapova, who’s a diva in her own right, did not take the comments lightly.  Maria upped the bitchy high school girl fight and called out Serena for playing homewrecker.  Watch it here.  “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.”  We were waiting for the Wimbledon press corps to bust out the “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!”

Oh hell no.  So you’re banging your (married) tennis coach, yet find it appropriate to comment on who other people are dating?  This is the height of the self-absorbed athlete that thinks they are above reproach.  In response, Serena suddenly got quiet, saying that “I definitely like to keep my personal life personal.”  Oh, so go ahead and shine the spotlight on other people’s personal lives (and a 16-year-old rape victim), but when the light comes back on you, suddenly it’s a private matter.

Look, if we want tips on how to rip a forehand winner, or blast a serve, we’ll go right to you.  But please, know your roll.  Because you’re good at tennis doesn’t make you an expert off the court, certainly not as a rape crisis counselor and definitely not a relationship expert, particularly given your recent family intervention skills (here’s hoping the US Open crowd chants “homewrecker”…we’d say Wimbledon but the Brits are too high brow for that).  Perhaps they’ll chant [cue: snobbish British voice] “Dwelling Disturber.”

The problem, however, is this:  we love it when athletes do this.  It sells magazines and creates headlines.  It makes us think:  hey, they’re just like us.  So the next time you’re up in the tree spying on your ex having dinner or washing her hair, relax, and take comfort that there are professional athletes doing the same thing.  So, I guess we’re somewhat to blame for encouraging this behavior. 

When will it stop?  Never.  We just pre-ordered our copy of “Slap a Ho.”

Enjoy your teabag.

Game 7 – All or Nothing

Yes it's true, the NBA Playoffs will end tonight!

Yes it’s true, the NBA Playoffs will end tonight!

Yes, exactly two months to the day, the NBA playoffs will finally come to an end tonight, as the Heat take on the Spurs in Game 7.  There are no better words in sport than “Game 7” (“you are not the father” comes in as a close second).  The Machine doesn’t care what sport it is, we’ll watch any Game 7.  There simply is nothing better in sports.

Loyal readers of The Machine know that we wisely picked this matchup in April.  Point:  Machine.  They’ll also be quick to note that we likened the Heat to the ’96 Bulls.  Point:  ’96 Bulls.  The Heat, while (at times) displaying flashes of overpowering dominance and confidence similar to the ’96 Bulls, have not coasted through the playoffs.  They are not perfect, and they are not the ’96 Bulls.  The Machine has learned its lesson:  no more comparisons to Jordan-led teams (we disavow his tenure with Washington).  No one will ever match the brilliance of the ’96 Bulls.

Ok, back to tonight’s game.  Who’s going to win?  Is The Machine going to back pedal from its (over)hyping of the Heat?  The Spurs have exposed the Heat in this series, Danny Green continues to drain threes, Boris Diaw is the most underrated player in the NBA, and Tim Duncan has shown he’s got enough left in the tank for one more epic performance.  So the Spurs have a chance, right?

Sorry kiddos, as much as we love an underdog, we simply cannot pick against the Heat.  As the fickle Miami crowd was leaving Tuesday night (Christ people, they were only down 5 with 28 seconds left) a flip switched with this team.  They realized they were about to lose the NBA Finals, and suddenly remembered that they were the most dominant team since the ’96 Bulls (dammit, we just broke our own rule).  From that moment, the Heat went into Champion mode (a/k/a Beastmode), and the Spurs were instantly outmatched and shell-shocked.  LeBron nailed a three, the Spurs missed a free through that would’ve put them up 4, and Ray Allen reminded everyone that he’s the best 3 point shooter on the court (suck it, Danny Green).  Simply put, the Heat got pissed.  At themselves and their own fans.  And it’s that motivation that will propel them to Game 7 victory.

The Spurs had their chance to win.  They were 28 seconds away from the title and shocking the world.  If they could make free throws, we wouldn’t be here.  Their window of opportunity has closed, and, much like the one time you made out with the prom queen, it ain’t opening up again.

Despite Chris Bosh and his alternating personalities of dominant center/confused velociraptor, Bron Bron will not let the Heat lose.  Look for LeBron to up the aggressiveness on offense and dribble drive to the hole, getting fouled along the way and picking up easy buckets at the line.  The only answer to that is to double on the drive, which then LeBron (who doesn’t get enough credit for his passing skills) will find the open shooter (Battier, Allen) or cutter (Birdman/Bosh).  And let’s not forget about Wade.  D-Wade will drain the knee one last time and will play with the same intensity and poise as he showed in Game 6.

But the Spurs won’t go without a fight.  They’ve proven they can hang with the Heat.  Timmy and Co. will keep this game entertaining.  For all the double-digit snooze fests that we’ve witnessed in this series and the playoffs in general, The Machine thinks this one will be close.  We’re hoping for a down to the wire finish, but our money’s on the Heat to cover (garbage free throws) and the under.

The NBA Playoffs might be (read: are) painfully long and difficult to watch but it all ends tonight. 

Book it, friends.  The Heat will be repeat NBA Champions.

Tuesday Teabag, June 18, 2013 – Lolo Jones


Look at me I’m pretty…good at not winning Olympic medals.

The Machine’s back with a fully loaded Tuesday Teabag.  So many newsworthy stories.  HMTs (Honorable Mention Teabags) go to Phil Mickleson for ripping our hearts out and ruining our Father’s Day (again).  FYI, The Machine LOVES Lefty, and we’ll always pull for him.  Also, Aaron Hernandez.  The Machine’s not quite sure exactly what happened, but there’s a dead body near his house and the po-po in his driveway.  Not the best offseason for him.  Stay tuned.

But this weeks’ Tuesday Teabag goes to Lolo Jones.  We thought Lolo used her 15 minutes of fame with her two (failed) Olympics and constant talk of her virginity and Christian values, all the while posing seductively for the camera.  But apparently, she didn’t get the memo.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lolo, click here.  She’s an Olympic hurdler and sprinter, and has made a lot of money in endorsements, whose company logos are prominently displayed on her website.  However, one little problem:  she’s not really good.  Although favored to win in both the Beijing and London Olympics, she failed to win a medal, yet still dominated the headlines with her uncanny ability to make everyone look at her all the time.  Did I mention she’s hot?  This angered other members of the U.S. Women’s Track and Field Team, who actually did win medals yet were overshadowed by Lolo and her antics. 

In her latest effort to reinvent (read: draw attention) to herself, Lolo decided to try her hand in the Winter Olympics by becoming a member of the U.S. Women’s Bobsled Team.  Fine.  She’s obviously a talented athlete, and if you she can make the team, more power to her.  However, Lolo’s problem is that it’s never about the sport.  It’s all about her.  She’s the J-lo of women’s athletics.  But that’s not really fair to J-lo…even J-lo had some hits (we loved her in Maid in Manhattan).  Lolo is just a (very) attractive athlete and, in the world of sports, especially women’s sports, beauty trumps talent.

So how was her Diva approach to sports going to work in a sport whose athletes are nameless and humble?  Exactly like you thought it would.  On Monday, Lolo dipped into her bag of “look at me” tricks and tweeted a video showing her paycheck from the U.S. Bobsled Team for $741.86.  “Seven months with bobsled season.  The whole season.  That’s it.” she bemoans, adding, “I’m going to be a little late on my rent this month.”

Clearly, no one’s getting rich by bobsledding.  We think the average bobsledder actually works at Home Depot.  They are nameless athletes that have little to no endorsements, and train non-stop for a chance every four years to make the Olympics.  No, a sport like bobsledding, people do it for the love of the sport.  Except if you’re Lolo.  Then you do it for the love of yourself. 

Not surprisingly, Lolo’s insulting comments were not well received by her bobsledding companions.  “It wasn’t taken very well,” Steve Holcomb (the MJ of U.S Bobsledding) understatedly said to USA Today. “People were really kind of insulted. You just made $741, more than most athletes in the sport. So what are you complaining about?”

Exactly.  What is she complaining about?  It’s simple.  In track and field, she gets all the

Chastity belt not securely fastened here.

Chastity belt not securely fastened here.

attention and multi-million dollar endorsements, even if she doesn’t perform well at the Olympics.  She dominates the headlines, and loves to stoke the fire by (tastefully) poseing nude while telling the world how proud she is to be a virgin and a Christian.  She’s as annoying about this as Tim Tebow.  Actually, she’s a lot like Tebow.

So, imagine her horror when she announces her bobsledding plan and it’s met with crickets.  No one cares.  Why?  Because you can’t wear a bikini in bobsledding. 

Looks can only carry you so far, even in our image-obsessed culture.  You are super-hot but also super-annoying, and, without any real success, that act gets tired (see Tim Tebow).  You want to get back in The Machine’s good graces?  Shut your mouth, make the Olympic bobsled team, and win a medal.  It’s that simple.  No more interviews about the “gift” you want to give your husband, or how it’s so hard to find a guy that doesn’t want to have sex (newsflash, like Bigfoot and nutritious fast-food, that doesn’t exist).  Just shut up and play.

However, given her past, that will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.  At 30 years old, it will be hard for her to get back to the Summer Olympics, so this may be her last chance at Olympic success.  If she fails, she’ll have to go back to the drawing board for attention.  Having no Olympics to draw attention to her, she’ll have to resort to other means.  The Machine’s money is that she’ll pose for Playboy, which is totally fine.  The pictures don’t talk.

Enjoy your teabag.