Booze, Brawls & Badness

We look at some of the most infamous off-seasons in the history of Dallas sports

Last year, around this time, Josh Howard was sliding into the role of public pariah, as the Mavericks were sliding out of the playoffs. Admitted marijuana use, an ill-timed birthday bash and a jab at the National Anthem pretty much ensured that Howard would have sportswriters and fans in a tizzy for a few weeks following a disappointing showing in the playoffs. 

But luckily, for both Howard’s purposes and our own, he has more or less made amends with the public through his actions both on and off the court since. But with Howard’s birthday on Tuesday, and the Mavericks up 3-1, we take a tongue-in-cheek look at the worst individual off-seasons in the history of Dallas sports:
1)      Alex Rodriguez. Despite the fact that he hadn’t been a member of the Rangers for five some years when he embarked on a publicist’s nightmare this winter, the fact that he is arguably the most hated sports figure in North Texas makes this relevant. First came reports that A-Rod was cheating on his wife with Madonna. The details on this remain fuzzy; not so for reports that Rodriguez used steroids. In any case, Rodriguez is divorced and destined for nothing but boos and jeers each time he comes to the plate in Texas for the rest of his life.
2)      Adam “Pacman” Jones. “Pacman” most likely will never be famous, in Dallas or anywhere else, for anything other than his ability to make it rain. And really, he might not be all that good at that, either; when you make it rain, you see, the object is to display your vast wealth through a disregard for hundreds of dollars. Apparently, Jones wasn’t clear on this. What followed is, again, fuzzy, but the allegations include slamming a stripper’s head against a runway, threatening the lives of several patrons and being linked to the shooting that eventually ensued. Throw in a speeding ticket in a car that was previously impounded in a cocaine bust, and a stint in TNA Wrestling, and you have one monumentally bad off season.

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3)      Tom Hicks. Okay, so Tom Hicks hasn’t used any drugs that we know of or made it rain under false pretenses, but the winter of 2000-2001 is incontrovertibly bad as far as owners go; first, Hicks parted ways with a young right hander by the name of Aaron Harang. But this pales in comparison to the A-Rod signing which may (or may not) have ruined free agency (and the Texas Rangers) as we knew it. Oh, and if you’re wondering about Harang, he has a 2.00 ERA this season. Oops.
4)      Rafael Palmeiro. The longtime Ranger had departed for Baltimore once more by the time he got finger-happy on Capitol Hill. With a solemn expression, Palmeiro pointed a finger at the Grand Jury and said that he had never (ever) used performance enhancing drugs. Period. The only trouble is, he did, and he was caught shortly thereafter. This, and the fact that Pameiro was a fan favorite in each of his stints with Texas lands him on this dubious list.
5)      Josh Howard. What Howard did, in and of itself, isn’t so bad as it was stupid, and any one of these incidents might have been forgotten about had they not been a part of a long string of ill-advised actions. Basically, it wasn’t what Howard did, but how often he did it in such a short period that makes this remarkable.
(Dis)Honorable mention:
--Eddie Belfour. The longtime Stars net-minder, while three sheets to the wind in 2000, grew aggressive in a hotel lobby. When arrested, Belfour did what anyone would do: offer police a $1 billion bribe.
--Quincy Carter. Carter failed a drug test and was released in August 2006. Then-coach Bill Parcells cited his drug use, among other factors as the reason for this decision. Had Carter not failed this drug test, it was thought, he would have started over Vinny Testaverde and Tony Romo, then a third stringer, would have been released. 
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