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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne SECOND THOUGHTS

Between Lines, It's Law of Diminishing Returns

May 12, 2003|Chris Dufresne

Once, at the height of his legal woes while playing for the Rams, tailback Eric Dickerson announced he was "in the law-suing mood."

We knew Dickerson to be an outstanding runner but never thought of him as a visionary. Fifteen years later, have you ever seen so much law-suing?

* High school student in New Jersey sues over having to share valedictorian award.

* Heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis sues promoter Don King.

* Jack Nicholson threatens legal action if tossed from courtside seats at Staples Center (Jack, we recommend the movie "Anger Management").

* Former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson seeks damages and reinstatement after being fired.

* Father of Corona del Mar baseball player sues baseball coach (twice) for allegedly damaging his son's career aspirations.

* Florida Marlin fan sues club after claiming to be injured by promotional T-shirt tossed in stands by team mascot.

* Fans sue each other over possession of Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball.

* Hairdresser sues hosts of Fox's "Best Damn Sports Show Period." (Defendants retain attorneys from "Best Damn Law Firm Period.")

We could go on but don't wish to tie up court time for fired Alabama coach Mike Price's possible libel lawsuit against Sports Illustrated.

Excerpt from Price statement: "We will pursue any and all legal action necessary against these false statements."

Given this litigious climate, even while understanding our First Amendment protection under the U.S. Constitution, Second Thoughts feels it has no choice but to have an attorney present for all opinions pertaining to this week's column.

News: Laker Coach Phil Jackson undergoes angioplasty procedure to unblock an artery in his heart.

Second thought: We wish Jackson a full and speedy recovery.

Legal disclaimer: This also reflects counsel to writer's official position pursuant to Mr. Jackson's medical condition.

News: Jockey who rides Kentucky Derby-winning horse Funny Cide investigated for possibly using electrical prod.

Second thought: Owners re-registered horse under new name: Stunny Side.

Legal disclaimer: Writer makes this statement on his own accord, and it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of management at Second Thoughts.

News: Mighty Duck goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere continues stellar play in NHL playoffs.

Second thought: We continue to refer to the Quebec-born Giguere as a "Freedom-Canadian" until otherwise instructed by the Fox News Channel.

Legal disclaimer: The comments and characters in the above sentence are fictitious. Any resemblance to real comments and characters is coincidental.

News: Rafael Palmeiro hits 500th home run.

Second thought: Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Willie McCovey, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Eddie Matthews, Mel Ott ... Palmeiro?

Legal disclaimer: Do not infer any negative connotation from the writer's use of a question mark at the end of his comment. This is not to suggest Palmeiro is less than worthy of membership in the exclusive 500 club even while it may appear some hallowed baseball milestones have become diminished by smaller ballparks and juiced-up balls.

News: Alabama hires Mike Shula as its 26th football coach.

Second thought: Is that since 1996?

Legal disclaimer: The writer's comment was formed with humorous intent and in no way means to distort the actual facts. Let the record reflect Shula is only Alabama's fourth coach since 1996.

News: Alabama misses chance to hire first African American head football coach in Southeastern Conference history.

Second thought: Alabama does the white thing instead of the right thing, passing over Green Bay Packer assistant Sylvester Croom, who is African American, to hire Shula. Croom and Shula basically had the same credentials as current NFL assistants with no previous head-coaching experience. Alabama could have made history in hiring Croom while removing the white cloud that has hovered over the SEC for years.

The question remains: If black players can lead Southern schools to SEC titles, why can't black coaches?

Legal disclaimer: Mr. Dufresne apologizes to any group, Aryan or otherwise, that might be disparaged by these comments and fully respects that the university at which former Gov. George Wallace made his "segregation forever" speech reserves the right to hire a football coach of its choosing.

News: Washington Wizards fire Michael Jordan.

Second thought: Good. He deserved it. I've grown more tired of Jordan than of those Carrot Top commercials. I've had it with Jordan, Nike and the hostage-taking of a basketball franchise in order to feed a 40-year-old man's prodigious ego.

Legal disclaimer: The author states this while recognizing Jordan's enormous contributions to basketball and Nike's undeniable impact on the sports apparel industry.

News: Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan receives one-month suspension for television comments in which he stated he would like to "smack" wife of New Jersey Net guard Jason Kidd.

Second thought: Ryan's comment was out of line, but where does Net Coach Byron Scott come off suggesting Ryan be fired? How does actually striking one's wife, as Kidd did, compare to a distinguished writer having a regrettable brain cramp during a television blab-fest? Anyone remember Scott calling for Kidd to be fired after Mrs. Kidd called 911?

Legal disclaimer: Mr. Dufresne does not condone violence of any kind and, admittedly, cannot presume to know Mr. Scott's state of mind when he said Mr. Ryan should be fired.

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