King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Keyshawn Johnson is a whiny moron. Plus: A-Rod will either stay or go. And: Big Ten boys in tight, tight shorts!

Published November 25, 2003 8:00PM (EST)

In an e-mail interview, Peter King of Sports Illustrated asked Keyshawn Johnson about the turning point in his relationship with coach Jon Gruden, the souring of which led to the Buccaneers deactivating their second-best receiver for the rest of the season.

I don't know the details of the Johnson-Gruden rift. Both sides have only hinted around about what really happened between them, and on Fox's studio pregame show Sunday, Johnson, newly hired as an analyst, said he accepted some of the blame for the situation and that it wasn't about the Bucs not throwing him the ball enough. Maybe Johnson doesn't express himself well in writing, but if his answer to King's question is any indication, other NFL teams might want to think twice before signing Johnson when he becomes available after this year. In his own version of the story, he comes off as a whiny, moronic jerk. Not that this is a huge surprise.

Johnson refers to the Bucs' 24-7 loss in San Francisco on Oct. 19, during which he'd caught one pass. "Near the end of the game, I was standing on the sidelines, all pissed off," he writes to King. "We were getting killed. And Gruden came up to me and said: 'What do you see out there? Help me get you the ball. Tell me what you see so I can help you.'

"I was shocked. I'm thinking, Are you bleeping kidding me? So I just, like, patted him on the head and said, 'Keep doing what you're doing. It's really working for us.' I was being sarcastic. After the game, I decided I wasn't going back to Tampa with the team. I hadn't seen my kids [who live in the East Bay] in two weeks. And I decided that was it. I wasn't going to play with the Bucs after this season."

Yeah, that's pretty shocking when your boss asks for your input about how you think your work situation, which you've been bitching about for years -- years! -- can be improved. Why, next thing you know he's going to be asking if you need more time off or a raise. It's outrageous.

If my boss ever came to me and said, "What can I do to make you more successful?" I'd let him know in no uncertain terms that I didn't appreciate his attitude.

Terry Bradshaw summed up the situation best on Fox when he said to Johnson, "Aren't you embarrassed? If I were you, I'd be embarrassed." Bradshaw was referring to Johnson being paid by the Bucs not to play football for the rest of the year, but the question applies generally.

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Two more rivalry weekend thoughts [PERMALINK]

1. Michael of New York City writes, "I had hoped to hear you say something clever about Michigan whupping on the massively overrated Ohio State Buckeyes."

Never one to disappoint a reader, allow me to say I was really glad to see Michigan whup on the massively overrated THE Ohio State University Buckeyes.

But what I was really glad to see was Southern Mississippi whupping on the massively overrated TCU Horned Frogs. I'm all for the little guys getting a chance in the BCS and everything, but I really didn't need to see the Frogs get smoked by somebody like Miami or LSU.

2. Does the favored team ever win the Washington-Washington State game?

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Rumor: A-Rod to either stay, go [PERMALINK]

The Dallas Morning News reports that Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez has told the Rangers that he would approve a trade to the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees. The American League MVP's $252 million contract, which still has seven years to go, has a clause giving him the right to refuse any trade.

I'd like to go on record saying that I would approve a trade of this column to the New York Times, the Madrid newspaper El Mundo, or

The Associated Press reports that Rodriguez said at a news conference in the Dominican Republic that Rangers owner Tom Hicks told him there were three possible scenarios: The Rangers could either restructure Rodriguez's contract, trade him to another team, or do nothing and keep things as they are.

Am I missing something? Aren't those the three scenarios for every contract, always?

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We want those shorts tight! TIGHT! [PERMALINK]

ESPN is celebrating its 25th year telecasting college basketball, and one of the planned events is a "Turn Back the Clock" game Jan. 31 between Indiana and Michigan State in East Lansing.

"The game will be presented in vintage style to reflect the look of the 1979-80 season," the network said in a press release. "For example, during the game, players will dress in uniforms from that season; ESPN commentators will wear clothes from that era; production elements such as on-air graphics will reflect the 1979 look and more."

Doesn't Dick Vitale wear clothes from that era every night?

It'll be interesting to see if the network can persuade those college players to really wear 1979-style uniforms. Last year ESPN's entertainment arm made a movie adaptation of "A Season on the Brink" and the costumers didn't even make the actors wear mid-'70s-style outfits. The shirts were a little too loose and the shorts a little too long and baggy. They were nothing like the modern style, but you could see from the actual footage that was used that they weren't tight or small enough to be historically accurate either.

And those were actors. They were getting paid. Over the table, I mean.

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