Thursday, January 26, 2006

The List: Classiest Athletes

I was having a conversation with my buddy Seb the other day where he pointed out how in his opinion there was a lack of players with class in today's sporting landscape. The comment came after another of our lengthy discussions about Terrell Owens and his utter lack of common sense, and class.

At first I agreed with him, but after further thought I realized there are plenty of classy players in sports, they just don't get as much attention. In that spirit I offer you this list of classy players, current and all-time, a list to which I will surely see fit to expand as time goes by and new crops of classy players blossom.

1. Curtis Martin

In 11 years as an NFL running back, I have heard Curtis Martin complain exactly zero times. For a guy who works under the microscope that is the New York media, that's incredible. He's racked up so many all-purpose yards, he puts Casey Martin's golf cart to shame. The shame is that despite his undeniable greatness, Hall of Fame credentials, he gets little media attention because he's never held up a liquor store or whined about his quarterbacks. And boy, could he have whined about his quarterbacks; Ray Lucas, Vinny Testaverde, Glen Foley, Rick Mirer, Chad Pennington, Quincy Carter, Brooks Bollinger, Jay Fiedler. Despite the succession of stiffs handing him the ball, Curtis Martin has consistenly put up Pro Bowl numbers, and has one of the lowest fumble ratios in the history of the game. He's a lock for this list.

2. Donovan McNabb

I'm not a fan of Donovan McNabb, but I do admire him for the way he has handled the adversity thrown his way, right from the beginning of his career. First the Iggles fans booed his selection at the draft. He went out and won them over with his play on the field. Then, he had to suffer through a racism controversy brought on by Rush Limbaugh's comments on EPSN Gameday. He refused to take the bait. Now, in the past year, McNabb has been stabbed in the back repeatedly by Terrell Owens, an ingrate who he had lobbied hard to have signed in Philly. Through it all, McNabb deflected these topics with humour and humility. be continued...