BREAKDOWN: Joe Starkey’s column on Pittsburgh villians

Joe Starkey doesn't seem like a bad guy. He's always been pro-Penguins, which is nice. But Starkey wrote an extremely questionable piece today for the TRIB.
 
Time to break it down:

Joe Starkey's column is titled "Jagr, Bonds…who else." It attempts to create a Mount Rushmore of the biggest villains in the history of Pittsburgh sports.  He's calling it Mount Cuss More.  Read it for yourself here.

Actually props to the Trib for making a photopshop about it.

We're gonna break this down.

The criterion is simple: The athlete had to have played in Pittsburgh. Whether the public vitriol erupted while he was here (Dave Parker) or when he left (Marian Hossa) is immaterial.

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We will not include coaches (Todd Graham), general managers (Dave Littlefield) or owners (Bob Nutting). We certainly will not include college athletes (insert Pitt quarterback of your choice).

 
Todd Graham? Why is Todd Graham even mentioned in this? Number one criterion should be you can't job people that win championships.
 
 
Several casual conversations, combined with the magic of Twitter, helped narrow the list. I even contacted two of the grand pooh-bahs of Pittsburgh sports — Stan Savran and John Steigerwald.
 
 
Again, some props for using this new-fangled social-networking stuff. John Steigerwald was invited to provide input in this list, so it's already pretty much invalid. He claimed someones mom was on steroids. 
 
 
Steigerwald cited a Steelers quarterback named Bill Nelsen from the 1960s and Penguins defenseman Ron Stackhouse from a decade later. Nelsen was run out of town, only to become an All-Pro with the despised Cleveland Browns.
 
"Classic example of a good QB getting all the blame on a terrible team — a regular occurrence in Pittsburgh," Steigerwald said.
 
 
Who the hell is Bill Nelsen? Come on. This Mount Rushmore should be a list of people any Pittsburgh sports fan has at least heard about. Bill Nelsen isn't even real probably.
 
 
Needless to say, Steigerwald vehemently defended Kordell Stewart, a sure-fire finalist for Mount Cuss More.
 
 
Actually have to agree with JS here. If Kordell Stewart is one of the most hated athletes in Pittsburgh history, then maybe the pool of potential candidates is already thin as it is. Get over it. Stewart was only hated because most of Pittsburgh is racist. What a QB.
 
 
Savran started with Jaromir Jagr, whose appearance tonight at Consol Energy Center — in a Filth-a-delphia Flyers jersey — inspired this project.
 
 
Not really surprised that yet another media member (Savran) will start with Jaromir Jagr on his list. The media loves to attack players who aren't as accessible as the journos want them to be. See: Tom Barrasso. Stan Savran wouldn't have had a job if it wasn't for ol' double j. Nothing is more embarrassing than when journalist complain dealing with proffessional atheletes.
 
Now on to the actual Mount Rushmore of villains:
 
Barry Bonds is the first one mentioned. Unless you're into revisionist history, Barry Bonds truly is the number-one most hated athlete in Pittsburgh sports lore. No comes even close to second place.
 
And then Starkey chisels Jagr's face into the stone.
 
Jagr's qualifications are impeccable. First, he soiled the sacred franchise captaincy — his immediate predecessors were Ron Francis and Mario Lemieux — by asking to be traded when the going got tough.
 
 
Soiled the sacred franchise captaincy? Why — 'cause he was European? He led the team to the playoffs every year he had the "C" on his jersey. Don't talk about him not having any Cups while Lemieux had two as captain. Go take a look at the Pens' rosters in the '91 and '92 Cup seasons. Get real.
How strange, that from a reporter's point of view, that the second-best player in Penguins history is on this list?  What ignorance.
 
Based on his 1999 series against the Devils alone, you can't question him. 
 
 
More disturbingly, he flirted with the Penguins last summer only to blow them off just when people were ready to forgive and forget.

 
 
Starkey is using a popular fan sentiment to curry favor to his choice of Jagr rather than using logic. And, exhibited by Jagr's inclusion on this Mount Rushmore, Starkey has not forgiven or forgotten Jagr for drilling him about an article he wrote back in 2001 about an episode between Jagr and Jan Hrdina at a Pens practice.
 
That article is definitely worth a read. It shows how fickle journalists can be when an athlete questions them about an article they wrote. The conversation mentioned in that article probably happened amidst a media scrum, and Jagr had hurt "The Reporter's" feelings.

Then third on the Mount Rushmore is Neil O'Donnell.  Since Super Bowl XXX, overzealous Steeler fans have planted rumors of O'Donnell owing money to the New York mob and threw SBXXX because of it. Coincidence that O'Donnell signed with the New York Jets via free agency after Super Bowl XXX? If the rumors are true, then O'Donnell immediately leapfrogs Barry Bonds in hate.

But that seems pretty hard to believe doesn't it? A player throwing a game, let alone the Super Bowl? This surely would have been dealt with by the FBI or even the Steelers for that matter. Dan Rooney's balls would have flown off if this was true. But it's not verified, and we personally can continue claiming Corey Holliday missed a couple hot routes.

Some guy named Stoudt is #4. He's included because fans threw snowballs at him. Really, Joe? We wanted to look like we care and act like we know who the Stoudt guy is, but we weren't in the Steelers locker room in the '70s. What a mistake. 

 

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