Sports Journalism Is Decadent And Depraved, Or Hunter S. Thompson At Media Day

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Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. —Proverbs 13:3

It was blazing hot just outside of Phoenix. The people of the southwest are either too stupid or too heatstruck to invent seasons. No matter. We were in a Tesla S, my defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and I, screaming through the desert towards U.S. Airways Arena, where we had a job to do.

One Sunday in February every American, even heretics and Agnostics, prays at the altar of televised football. Before this service another sacrament must take place where our athletic novitiates are tested by the wise judges who will observe their on-field deeds and chronicle them for the illiterate masses. That, ladies and freaks, is Media Day, the only honest institution left in this country after the venal pigs in the Bush administration pillaged our treasury and had their way with Lady Liberty.

As a distinguished Doctor of Sports Journalism, it was my solemn duty to brave this weird and nauseating spectacle to get the absolute truth. What was going through these players' heads? What did they make of America's flabbergasting failure to pacify Mesopotamia? Which chthonian horrors did their mind conjure? The public had a right to know, and these players were contractually obligated to come clean.

Thanks to Rex's incorrigible bladder I arrived too late to see Bill Belichick, the last American alive in the flesh. Never had someone since the diseased cur himself embodied the Nixonian ideal: "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat." (or was that my good friend Jesse Ventura's motto when he turned heel?) So I moseyed over to where the real action seemed to be, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch's press conference, and shouted a question to the Beast.

"Marshawn! Hunter S. Thompson, Myspace News: What is your opinion on the enveloping darkness, and how will you wield it against your foes next Sunday?"

To my distress and the consternation of those around me, Lynch was responding to every vital inquiry from the press corps with the same apotropaic incantation.

I'm just here so I won't get fined.

My God, had this man been tortured? Subject to CIA electroshock applied to his genitals or brainscrambled by the autism-laced vaccines they used to track down bin Laden? Or, worse still, was Lynch being remotely controlled by some nefarious foreign power? Yes, that must be it, the only plausible explanation for why a grown man perfectly capable of speech would ignore the assembled sports media and their vital inquiries, queries like "Are you excited to be in the Super Bowl?" or "Do you think you're going to win the big ball game?" Inquiries of unspeakable value to gamblers and other patriotic fans of this ritual violence. Why else would a man willingly disobey the sage diktats from a man as competent and as universally beloved as Roger Goodell? There was no other explanation. Remote mind control, that must be it. The only question left was who was controlling Lynch's mind: Putin? The Red Chinese? Islamic terrorists? Or... or... God help me, it's too bleak... The Nixon Foundation?

"What do you know about the plot to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention?" I screamed.

I'm just here so I won't get fined.

"Enough of that, you simpering freak! What drugs have they given you? Have you taken the brown acid or the yellow?"

I am just here—

"Confound you! Who's operating your machinery? Who's in there? Is that you, Haldeman? Dean? Eichmann? Colson? Show yourself, you reptilian bastard! I should have tied you up to my Cadillac and dragged you through the White House bramble patch when I had the chance!"

That's when I noticed it. The smoking gun—a bag of Skittles. Cazart! These kaleidoscopic sugar pills must have been loaded with benzodiazepines! I had to get this poor sick bastard out of here. Put a black bag over his head and extraordinarily render him to Woody Creek, then inject him with tequila and mescal until he was lucid enough to say his own name, little less play in the Super Bowl. Plus I had spent the better part of the past week laying big bets on the Seahawks with every sleazy bookkeeper from Pensacola to Tucson who would extend me a line of credit. This prattling freak needed to play, and he needed to win. We'd need lots of grapefruits, oh yes. I was already planning the massive citrus order to my servant Manmountain Dense.

Rex could see what brazen scheme I was concocting in my head and tried to wrest me aside.

"As your defensive coordinator I advise you to stop muttering, as these people are growing concerned."

But it was too late. The plot was in motion. I borrowed a boom mic from ESPN and brandished it like a halberd.

"God damn you, Colson, I won't let you destroy the Super Bowl like it's a Laotian orphanage, you atavistic Nazi swine!" I smacked my polearm against Darren Rovell's head, producing a satisfying hollow thump as he was in the middle of asking Lynch how much his personal brand was worth. "Come on, Lynch, let's get you to a good man like Ralph Steadman or, better yet, George Romney. He'll know what to do. Can you hear me in there, Marshawn? Answer me, goddamn you, answer the question!"

I saw a single tear struggle out of the crack of his left eye as he popped another Skittle and went, I'm just here so...

The rest of that episode, frankly, is a blur. I woke up 36 hours—or was it years?—later at the controls of a speedboat circling the Yucatan, a margarita in each hand. The mojo wireless was raising holy hell asking where in the blazer my super dispatch was.

"You'd better answer that," counseled Rex, not bothering to look up from the depraved French filth he and Henry Kissinger were reading together.

"No need," I said, studying the horizon like it was an atlas. "We'll do what all the good men do and just the plead the Fifth."

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