Athletes blow their cool…so what else is new?

Sep 20, 2005 2:40 AM

The unchecked passions and passing fancies of what passes for love among so many of the pretty people — or the fast or strong or big ones — who reach the public eye, caught up with two more very public figures last week.

In Kansas City, Missouri, the raging hormones of love — past love and new love — made running back Larry Johnson the latest Kansas City Chief to get tangled in the ropes of the tepee and find the bigger chiefs of the law waiting outside. He was in a public fight, not with some burly linebacker, but with a former girlfriend who he pushed around and, according to police reports, knocked down.

In New York, another Johnson — Randy, all 6-feet, 10 inches and 231 pounds of him — was in the glare of the public eye, not for his prowess at pitching a baseball for the Yankees or for pushing around a woman, but for letting all the temper bottled up in that big body run away with him for the second time in his new home town.

Larry’s story first.

He was sitting in a bar, with a woman, the best way to be sitting in a bar, when another woman identified by police as his girlfriend, walked in. Seeing him with a new love — even a temporary one — Johnson’s girlfriend started to walk away, but Johnson text messaged her and asked her to meet him downstairs.

There, cops say, he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to the front door, asking the bar’s manager to eject her. The manager said he had no reason to do that. The girlfriend — ex for the moment — then confronted her substitute in the lineup and began an argument, at which point Johnson grabbed her by the shoulders and she fell to the floor.

As happens so often in these minor crimes of passion, the girlfriend cooled down by the time the reporters arrived. She didn’t report the incident until the next day, and then only after friends had seen the bruises and convinced her to do so.

She told one reporter that the police report was wrong, and said Johnson neither grabbed her, dragged her, nor shoved her. She said she didn’t want Larry arrested. She did not say how she got the bruises. Who knows, she may have bumped into her dressing table or bureau in the dark. The cops, unconvinced and perhaps irritated by being disturbed late at night, cited Johnson for domestic abuse assault, and told him to show up for a hearing Sept. 30.

The incident would not have attracted as much attention as it did, but it happens it is not the first time that Johnson was in trouble for incidents with women. In December of 2003 he got into an argument with another ex-girlfriend and reportedly brandished a gun. That time he was charged with a felony — aggravated assault — as well as misdemeanor domestic battery, and required to do 120 days of penance in community service, take an anger management course, and stay out of trouble for two years. Obviously, he flunked the two-year test by three months, and will have to talk his way, rather than fight his way, out of this one. The football season has arrived, with the usual violence from guys who get paid for violent acts. There will be more in coming weeks.

Randy Johnson’s ire was not directed toward a woman, but toward, an umpire, which is even more futile. He got upset with what he thought were strikes not called by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth in a game against the Blue Jays in Toronto, and he argued. The argument got him tossed out of a game for the first time in 17 years of pitching, and Johnson was forced to apologize publicly for the second time this year. Last January, on his way to a physical exam, he shoved a television cameraman and had to say publicly he was sorry his temper got the best of him.

Everyone loses his or her temper, but when you’re paid $15.4 million a year, you should be smart enough to control it.