A wildly uninformed Renton law firm once claimed actors are the worst motorcycle drivers in the country. We’re here to set the record straight: Professional athletes are worse...a lot worse.
We figured the combination of ballooning salaries, machismo, and steroids would probably mean a wider selection of ridiculous stories to cover, but boy were we wrong. There were so many accidents, we had to narrow it down to one for each of your favorite leagues and associations.
MLB: athletes so tough they hurt themselves washing cars
Alright, so Giants second baseman Jeff Kent didn’t actually break his wrist while washing his truck. He just claimed he did to cover up a motorcycle accident that violated the terms of his contract and would’ve cost him quite a bit more than just his pride.
What really happened is still unclear 15 years later, but witnesses claim they saw Jeff trying to pop a wheelie before laying down his bike on a public stretch of highway.
No skin off his back though, he missed only four games in the season and hit only four fewer home runs than Barry Bonds.
If we were to rate this crash by how many Matlocks it would take to win a ruling favorable to Mr. Kent -- it would be zero. Because there is no case. An idiot showboat crashed his motorcycle and injured himself. There’s no defendant to sue, except maybe...physics?
The NFL: where helmets are for sissies
Just four months after winning Super Bowl XL, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got blitzed by a Chrysler New Yorker. Sure, the blame ultimately fell on the driver of the car for failing to yield the right of way, but tell that to Roethlisberger’s broken face.
The two-time Super Bowl champion was also driving without a valid motorcycle license, but considering he gets paid to throw an over inflated pig bladder down a field of green rubber, we can’t blame him for being confused about motor vehicle regulations.
Between Big Ben’s legal misstep and the Chrysler’s bad driving, we give this crash 3 Matlocks on the BLW defensibility scale.
The Indy 500: the highest number of accidents per athlete, lowest number of excuses
When your job description is “drive fast,” it’s pretty difficult to justify missing work because you were driving fast off the track. That’s like one us missing a court date because we were too busy preparing evidence to contest a parking ticket.
After a meteoric rise to prominence in the racing world in the early 2000s, Dario Franchitti was sidelined for half a season after crashing his motorcycle in the Scottish hills. He claimed the motorcycle malfunctioned and spit oil all over his back tire, causing him to lose control and fracture his L-5 vertebra.
We give this crash 5 Matlocks. Maybe the bike manufacturer retains some culpability for poor craftsmanship, or maybe Franchitti was taking his job description too far.
Either way, we’ve seen Sons of Anarchy and we’re pretty sure Irish and Scottish law makes special accommodations for reckless motorcycle drivers.
The NHL: the only place Schedule II drugs count as an “afternoon delight”
For those who don’t know, Bob Probert was a hockey player for both the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, two of the most successful teams in the sport.
What position did he play? Officially, he played left wing. Unofficially, he was an “enforcer,” which is Canadian for “the guy who beats the syrup out of opposing players.”
It’s no surprise then that in 1985 “Bob the Enforcer” hit a car with his motorcycle…
With 3x the legal limit of alcohol in his system…
And traces of cocaine…
At two in the afternoon.
This crash gets 10 Matlocks, because if it weren’t clear enough, no one driving a motorcycle high on cocaine wins -- at anything.
You might notice the lack of PNW athletes from this list. That’s because we grow ‘em smart up here. The Kid, Russell Wilson, and Dempsey know better than to play chicken with a light pole when they’re getting paid six figures to knock an inflated ball around for our amusement.
Not everyone is that fortunate though. If two wheels and a right-hand throttle help you cope with a family member’s political Facebook rants, or with the soul-crushing monotony of your job, accidents are a possibility.
And in the unfortunate event one does happen, we swear to Matlock to get you the settlement you deserve.