IDIOT OF THE MONTH: Defending Trevor Bauer is never a good look

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Hello there, esteemed reader, and welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE MONTH, the world-renowned series in which we mostly just make fun of Aaron Rodgers every few weeks. (Hi, Tom Laforgia!)

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At the outset, we should say it is a rather impressive feat that ESPN can put Stephen A. Smith and Chris Russo in the same studio and not have it end up in a HAZMAT situation within a matter of minutes. The ventilation in the studios must be a true wonder and perhaps a model for solving climate change.

Anyway, SAS took up his vacation home here on Idiot Of The Month for once again treating a female coworker as something of his property, or at least his ward. For no reason whatsoever, Smith decided to admonish people, real or imagined, texting him about Kimberley A. Martin, and decreeing that none of them could “have her.” Somehow, in SAS’s mind, he’s become the protector of Martin, who you’ll never believe is an actual adult woman trying to do her job that has nothing to do with her social life, of which she can make her own choices.

But none of this has ever mattered to Smith, who has treated any woman on-screen with him as there for his service and to make him look good, or at the very least just provide fodder for him. Smith is allowed to get away with it because in ESPN’s mind, he’s box office, and the louder and stupider he gets is actually the point for a guy who got where he is by just saying things loudly even if he’s not saying anything at all. Which he mostly isn’t, but it can fool morons into thinking it’s important because of the volume it’s delivered with.

Sure, Smith is a misogynistic, domestic-abuse-apologizing, jock-sniffing dimwit, But hey, don’t people laugh when he pretends to cry about the Knicks? Cash money, baby.

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Screenshot: ESPN

The Buffalo Bills attempted to steal a page from the Seattle Seahawks book in their Week 10 loss to Denver. Buffalo utilized the 12th man play only they implemented the extra player on the field instead of in the stands. This inexcusable extra man on the field penalty helped keep the Broncos alive, which subsequently led to them kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Talk about bonehead plays. This one is on the Bills coaching staff. Players should also be situationally aware, but there are designated folks on the sidelines for NFL teams to ensure this doesn’t happen. We’re talking level 10 on the idiot meter here. Seeing how disastrous Buffalo’s season has been overall, it’s only fitting. Head coach Sean McDermott will likely be out in a few weeks despite what Bills “stans” think. It’s all over for McDermott as another Bills era closes without a Super Bowl.

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It takes a severe lack of brain cells to throw up the Sieg Heil salute in public. Add in that the offending party did it in drive-by fashion toward a pro-Israel demonstration, with cellphones handy, and that’s how former NWSL player Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel ended up on this month’s list.

Talking about the Israel-Palestine war takes a deft hand, but you don’t have to be Susan Sarandon to know that saluting Hitler to a crown of Jewish people is not nuanced, or thoughtful. Ferrer Van Ginkel’s former club, Angel FC, made sure to distance themselves from the incident, reiterating that the two are no longer affiliated.

The lesson is simple: Don’t be a Nazi.

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Screenshot: FS1

FS1’s First Things First is a fascinating watch. Nick Wright’s follicle transformation has been mesmerizing, Kevin Wildes tries to convey gravitas, but he’s really just a time filler, and Chris Broussard’s ability to shriek about the NBA isn’t quite as obnoxious as Stephen A.’s, as long as he doesn’t quote inaccurate sources on the show or brag about his dozens of DM exchanges with NBA All-Stars. However, during a recent discussion about James Harden’s acquisition by the Los Angeles Clippers, the show nearly derailed after Broussard redundantly asked if the Clippers point guard was r—d. It’s been years since Broussard was the NBA’s Shams Charania and off-handed comments like that are a reminder of how he fell from that perch.

Letting the r-word rip is one thing, but after getting a brief scolding from Wright for his description of Harden, he excused himself and rephrased his question to ask if Harden was “developmentally disabled.” This wasn’t a tongue twist or a slip-up. He formulated an entire thought around the possibility of Harden being developmentally disabled. In the worst example of crisis management on live TV, Broussard explained that he has a cousin who recently died who was developmentally disabled as if that was supposed to be more reassuring.

It’s fair to call Harden many things, but developmentally disabled is certainly not one of them. Conniving, detached, and perpetually disgruntled, grievance-filled; he’s each of those things. Under the bright lights of live television, his explanation got lost in translation. Who knows where his scrambled egg of a brain was going with that thought, but nothing can top co-host Kevin Wildes’ conspicuously raised eyebrow and screwface. In that moment, you could hear a pin drop and the gears in Broussard’s brain turning as he attempted to wiggle out of a possible career-ending mental goof.

The only saving grace is that as clunky as his apology was, he didn’t dig himself a grave by dismissing any concerns or acting like he didn’t understand why the word was insulting. Still using your late cousin as a shield is an odd move. Broussard casually implying Harden may be developmentally disabled isn’t even the most appalling idea he’s expressed in the public sphere. But he’s still got to hold this spot on the Idiot’s podium for November, along with Caitlyn Jenner.

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Mookie, Mookie, Mookie.

If you want to metaphorically throw a trash can through a window, at least do so for a person who was actually wronged. Speaking out in favor of Trevor Bauer is a waste of oxygen and vocal cord vibrations.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin, not only did Betts say that he hopes an MLB team will sign Bauer this offseason, but also “I love him. I think he’s an awesome guy.”

In regards to the violation of MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy for which an independent arbitrator ruled that Bauer deserved a 194-game suspension — the longest in league history for such an offense — “The personal things? I have no control,” Betts said to Shaikin. “I have no say. Obviously, nothing came from it”

Nothing came from it except for a historic 194-game suspension, which the arbitrator reduced from the 324 games that Commissioner Rob Manfred had originally issued.

C’mon Mookie. You should be better than this. In a world in which it is so difficult for justice to be served for sexual assault and domestic violence, this independent arbitrator handed down a harsh ruling. Nothing is the opposite of the word that should be used to describe Bauer’s “personal things.”

Yes, the arbitrator did rule in December 2022 that since Bauer had been on administrative leave since July 2021 he was eligible to play at the start of the 2023 season. However, had a team signed Bauer, or the Los Angeles Dodgers kept him, he would have been docked pay for the first 50 games of the year.

There are many people in this world far more worthy of speaking up for in public than Trevor Bauer. Mookie, in the future, use your words to lift them up instead of a guy that your league threw the book at.

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