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TEAM OF THE YEAR

Times' Dummy Awards . . .

December 30, 2007|Randy Harvey

Was this an extraordinarily bad year for women in sports, or what?

Television has its Emmys. Music has its Grammys. We have our Dummies. In a tradition begun all the way back in 2006, The Times again bestows dishonor upon the worst of the worst in sports for the year.

The nominees are limited in 2007 to those who were mean to women. It is hardly an exclusive list.

Don Imus or Isiah Thomas for No. 1?

How about Dubliner magazine?

Matt Leinart?

You can't really go wrong.

NO. 1 ISIAH THOMAS

At least Imus apologized. A former New York Knicks executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, won her sexual harassment suit against the team's coach and Madison Square Garden. Thomas and MSG officials deny any wrongdoing but settled with her for $11.5 million, just shy of the $11.6 million that the jury had awarded her in punitive damages.

Startling was a Thomas deposition in which he said it was OK for black men to use a certain derogatory term regarding black women, but not for white men. "A white male calling a black female, that is wrong with me," he said. "I'm not taking that. I'm not accepting that. That's a problem for me." Just one of many for the beleaguered Knicks coach.

NO. 2 DON IMUS

He was right. Not when he used an insulting term (different from the one Thomas referred to) to describe the Rutgers women's basketball team. He was right when he later referred to himself as an idiot. He subsequently apologized, but it still cost him his job after sponsors began to pull their money from his syndicated radio show.

NO. 3 DUBLINER MAGAZINE

With the Ryder Cup approaching, the Irish magazine ran nude photos of a blond woman and identified her as Tiger Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren. It wasn't her. Accompanying the photos was this passage: "Most American golfers are married to women who cannot keep their clothes on in public. Is it too much to ask that they leave them at home for the Ryder Cup?" Some good came of it. Nordegren sued for libel, winning a judgment for about $250,000. She donated it to cancer charities.

NO. 4 MATT LEINART

Backstage at the ESPYs, the former USC quarterback talked to reporters about the joys of fatherhood. "It's different," he said. "You're forced to do all those little things. I love doing it, and I love being with him. I change diapers all the time. You never would think you had so much enjoyment, like kissing someone's toes and feet -- the little things. Like, that's my little guy."

Precious? The child's mother, USC basketball player Brynn Cameron, didn't think so. "It's kind of hard for me as a mom -- I'm with Cole probably 99.9% of the time -- to open a magazine or read a newspaper article with Matt saying, 'Oh, I love being a dad. I love changing diapers. I love doing this.' I'm like, Wait, what? . . . It's been hard when I'm doing all the work, but he gets all the credit for it. Matt comes and goes whenever he wants."

NO. 5 NEW YORK JETS FANS

"Dimwitted" is how the New York Daily News described the men who gather around Rotunda D at Giants Stadium during Jets games and chant to women walking past to expose their breasts. "We're only guilty of having a good time," one fan told the newspaper.

NO. 6 TERRELL OWENS

The Dallas Cowboys fail to score a touchdown, Tony Romo completes only six passes, Owens catches a mere two and the Philadelphia Eagles win, 10-6. Whose fault is it?

Jessica Simpson's.

Owens and others suggested Simpson, reported to be Romo's new girlfriend, distracted the Cowboys quarterback because she attended the game at Texas Stadium. Not that Owens has ever been accused of being a distraction, mind you.

"Right now, Jessica Simpson is not the fan favorite -- in this locker room or in Texas Stadium," Owens said, though he later claimed he was joking.

The villainess last year was Carrie Underwood, Romo's previous girlfriend. He had a similarly bad game in a loss to the Eagles when she attended a game.

Could Romo's troubles have something to do with the Eagles' defense? Guess not.

NO. 7 MIKE GUNDY

The Oklahoma State football coach became hysterical during a postgame news conference because of a column written by Jenni Carlson of the Daily Oklahoman explaining the reasons for the benching of the team's quarterback.

Gundy asked her if she had children. When she replied that she didn't, he said that it isn't possible for her to understand what it was like for parents to have their children criticized in the newspaper.

But doesn't Gundy have children? How does he think Carlson's parents felt about having their daughter receive such a tongue-lashing in such a public forum, which became even larger when it appeared on YouTube?

And who benched the quarterback in the first place? Not Carlson. How did that make the quarterback's parents feel?

Huh? Huh?

Gundy is a bully.

NO. 8 NASCAR NATION

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