SOMETIMES WE DO THINGS we can never live down.
No matter how much positive change Bill Clinton helped effect during his presidency, to most, he’ll always be remembered as the president who got an Oval Office blow job from Monica Lewinsky.
Michael Jackson was an incredibly talented singer and dancer, but many think of him as only a freakish-looking pedophile (allegedly) who gave his children stupid names and even hanged one of them over a balcony while grinning from ear to ear.
Examples abound in the sports world, too. My favorite basketball player of all time, Allen Iverson, is a seven-time NBA All-Star, four-time scoring champion and Most Valuable Player award winner. He’s the greatest little guy to ever play in the league.
But what is he most famous for in many people’s eyes?
“We talking about practice, man.”
These one-time screwups that live on in the public’s memory forever remind me of a joke that’s been going around for years. It’s not a joke, really, more of a saying, but it’s still kind of funny, and true: A guy can pull all kinds of women his entire life, but he lets a guy jerk him off once and all of sudden he’s gay.
One regrettable incident has forever changed the way the world looks at one of the most talented football players of all time, Barcelona striker and French international Thierry Henry.
If you, dear reader, have any interest in the beautiful game whatsoever, you’ve no doubt heard, read or seen Henry’s blatant handball that led to a game-winning goal during France’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. There’s no defending what Henry did, and I’m certainly not going to try to do so in this space.
Henry cheated. That’s indisputable.
But I think it’s a shame that a career as brilliant as Henry’s has been tarnished quite possibly beyond repair because of a poor decision made in a split second.
I’m aware that I’m in the minority here. Most football fans, particularly those with Irish blood flowing through their veins, have called Henry every name in the book, a few that aren’t even in the book and wished harm upon him and his family.
While the handball incident will wind up being Henry’s Lewinsky, balcony, “practice” moment, he had plenty of other brilliant moments during his career. He’s scored some of the most amazing goals in the history of professional football.
A YouTube search of Henry will no doubt bring up any number of clips showing the handball from every angle imaginable. I’d encourage folks to scroll down a little bit and watch some of his goal-scoring exploits as well.