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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne / SECOND THOUGHTS

He'll Have to Outsource to Find Moment of Truth

February 17, 2003|Chris Dufresne

One reason people say "don't believe everything you read in the papers" has to do with us being so often (and unwittingly) the facilitators of fibs.

Then again, Tom Hanks never spit tobacco juice and said there was "no lying in baseball."

San Francisco's Jeff Kent worked us deep in the count last March for the headline "Kent Breaks Wrist Washing Truck."

Kent reported: "I was straddling the back of my truck when I slipped and fell."

Giant General Manager Brian Sabean reported: "There's mounting evidence from all sorts of eyewitnesses that says he fell off a motorcycle popping wheelies."

The Lakers' Cedric Ceballos had us worried sick in 1996 when he went AWOL for four days dealing with a "family crisis."

So there we sat, waiting for radio reports regarding Cedric's possible rescue from an abandoned well, only to have a houseboat operator in Lake Havasu inform the Associated Press: "He's on the lake having a good time."

Oh, well.

Michael Jordan retires!

Michael Jordan retires II!

Michael Jordan retires III!

Legendary announcer calls it quits. "Keith Jackson will walk away after announcing tonight's Fiesta Bowl for ABC," we wrote with authority in 1999.

Whoa, wasn't that Keith Jackson announcing the 2003 Fiesta Bowl?

(Admittedly, some fibs are easier to take.)

Bill Parcells has pulled our legs so often you wonder how he can look anyone in the eye.

After he turned down the Tampa Bay job last year Parcells told for the very last time: "I hope that convinces everybody that I'm not coming back. Because I'm not. This is it. I'm staying retired."

Introducing the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys ... Bill Parcells.

Washington football Coach Rick Neuheisel, already under house arrest for telling "dog ate my homework" stories to the NCAA, has become the latest reject contestant on "To Tell the Truth."

Neuheisel said last week he was not a candidate for the San Francisco 49ers' vacancy, though he seemed the ideal candidate given a) UCLA ties to 49er General Manager Terry Donahue and b) his penchant for wanting every job that becomes available.

Problem: Waiting in the boarding area for a return flight to Seattle from San Francisco, where he was interviewing for the 49er job, Neuheisel was talking so loudly on his cellular phone some thought he was the airport intercom operator for white courtesy phones.

It was liar's luck for Neuheisel that on that flight was John Levesque, columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who overheard Neuheisel telling his mom the 49er interview "went well."

When approached, Neuheisel insisted he was in the Bay Area on other business, but the jig was up when the columnist wrote what he had heard.

Neuheisel then did a Michael Jackson moonwalk (backtrack) and confessed to his lie, his excuse being he promised the 49ers he wouldn't tell.

Neuheisel wanted to clear the air because the story had called into question "my credibility," the needle on that tank fast approaching empty.

Tip for all you wannabe Liars Club members: Give truth a chance.

Just Say No (comment), but don't lie -- all it got Pinocchio was an enlarged proboscis.

All Neuheisel had to say was "I can't say" and he could have remained true to himself and his promise to the 49ers.

All Parcells had to say was "I'm retired for now, but don't hold me to it."

All Kent needed to do was come clean.

We're big on forgiveness, although Pete Rose is admittedly testing our patience.

Frankly, as journalists, we're tired of passing lies on to our customers.

Note to readers: Next time you want to cancel your subscription because you've been misled, perhaps you will stop long enough to consider our (unreliable) sources.

News item: Golfer John Daly releases new country music CD.

Second thought: Among the songs included are "I'm Drunk (and Broke)" and "All My Ex's Wear Rolexes."

Some songs that didn't make the cut:

* "Mullets and Mallets."

* "Daddy Shot a Birdie (and We Ate It for Dinner)."

* "Chain Smokes and Fat Jokes."

* "I Took a 10 on 11 and was home by 12."

* "Gimme Shelter."

* "Kemper Open." ("I have for you darlin', the news you've been hopin', I've closed my last bar at the Kemper Open.")

News item: Dennis Erickson leaves Oregon State to coach San Francisco 49ers.

Second thought: Hello Fisherman's Wharf, tough luck for you incoming Oregon State freshmen. Nothing about college athletics burns me more than a coach who spends two months luring a kid to campus, then takes off for a better offer.

Yet, if a kid wants to transfer to another Division I school because the coach bolted, he has to sit out a season -- two years if the school won't release him from his scholarship.

Quarterback Ryan Gunderson chose Oregon State over Tennessee because he wanted to play for Erickson. The kid was so despondent that Erickson high-tailed it out of Corvallis, he skipped a half-day of school to mull his options.

Oh, but you say it's right there in the letter of intent bylaws, Rule No. 19, which states the undersigned "signed this NLI with the institution and not for one particular sport or individual."

Yeah, right, like Rex Grossman signed with Florida for its biology program and not to play for Steve Spurrier, who jilted him for the Washington Redskins.

If I were a high school kid who just got burned, I'd be looking to sign a national letter of dissent.

News item: NFL insists at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for every head coach opening.

Second thought: We heard the 49ers had a long heart-to-heart with Gary Coleman before finally deciding on Erickson.

News item: Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns backs proposal to pay Cornhusker football players.

Second thought: They're not paid?

News item: Saturday declared Bob Knight Day in Lubbock, Texas.

Second thought: Could not participate in joyous event because of previous commitment to attend Bob Day Night in Denton.

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