The Brett Favre firestorm is currently a Category 4. One more alleged lewd text and he'll be forced to enroll in Tiger Woods' sex-rehab clinic.
It's sad to see a man torch his own image. With all due disrespect to Favre, Woods, Michael Vick, John Edwards and British Petroleum, nobody has ruined their reputation quite like Roger Clemens.
The other guys merely came off as bums, liars and letches. Clemens matched all that, then he raised the ante to a place only Milli Vanilli dared go.
He turned out to be a fraud.
While the others led kinky private lives, no one seriously questions their public accomplishments. At one point, Clemens could have sent dirty texts to Mother Teresa and we'd still say he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Then came the PED scandal, magnified by Roger the Dodger swearing before Congress that the dog ate his steroids. Now the very thing that gave Clemens a reputation to ruin has been exposed as a lie.
His only saving grace is we've all been preoccupied watching Woods and Favre self-immolate. The only thing Clemens has done in the past few months is show up at a Washington D.C. federal court and plead not guilty to six felony counts.
They range from obstruction of Congress to perjury to impersonating Diana Ross. Clemens was just a couple of toy poodles short of becoming a total diva. His trial is scheduled for April, at which time we'll realize how he makes Favre and Woods look like amateurs in the field of reputation destruction.
Let's take this point by point:
Dirtbag: Granted, it's hard to top Tiger here. Favre is at least 117 mistresses behind Woods, but he was dumb enough to hit on a Jets employee. Now the NFL is involved and he might be the first grandfather in league history suspended for sexual harassment.
As for Clemens, does the name Mindy McCready ring an underage bell? She was the country singer Clemens allegedly started ogling when she was 15.
McCready claims they didn't have sex until she was legal. And that Clemens has erectile dysfunction. Talk about a reputation deflater.
Other reports have implicated Clemens with a stripper, a bartender and one of John Daly's ex-wives. All while he's supposedly been happily married, though not to one of the Nordegren sisters.
Drama Queen: Favre's on-again/off-again retirements have almost led to the ESPN moving SportsCenter to Hattiesburg. But once he shows up at camp, Favre is the same old gladiator.
Imagine if he'd held out until Game 10, then sat in the owner's box and was introduced? That's what the waffling Clemens did with the Yankees.
His agent also demanded that Roger not be forced to go on road trips when he wasn't scheduled to pitch. At least the Yankees refused to hire a full-time pedicurist to buff and polish Clemens' toenails between starts.
Icon: You can't question anything Clemens did with the Red Sox, who figured he was washed up at 34. Then, quicker than you can say "Brian McNamee," Clemens resurfaced as Walter Johnson in Toronto.
He won two Cy Youngs, parlayed that into a couple of zillion-dollar contracts with the Yankees and Astros and God knows how many Barbies for McCready. Then came the Mitchell Report, where the name "Clemens" appeared 82 times.
Mark McGwire also has his reputation ruined by steroids. But he was smart enough to lay low and eventually kinda, sorta confess and apologize. Clemens made a spectacle of his innocence, going on "60 Minutes" and threatening to sue anyone who dared besmirch his name.
That's how he ended up before Congress claiming his best pal Andy Pettitte "mis-remembered" him taking steroids. Clemens' farcical Capitol Hill performance was unmatched until three weeks ago, when Stephen Colbert showed up and demanded his colonoscopy results be entered into the Congressional Record.
The difference is we were laughing at Clemens, not with him. And now nobody really knows what to include in his career record. How many of those seven Cy Youngs, 4,762 strikeouts and 354 wins are bogus?
Say what you will about Woods, but nobody is suggesting his 14 majors and 71 PGA wins need an asterisk. And no matter how many games the NFL takes away his cell phone, nobody will say Favre's 500-plus touchdown passes and three MVP awards weren't legit.
Those guys may have cheated on their wives and duped their corporate sponsors, but their athletic reputations stand. Unless it turns out he was sending pictures of his gonads to Victor Conte, Favre is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.
Clemens, once considered the best right-handed pitcher in baseball history, is now considered the game's greatest liar. Even if he gets into Cooperstown, Clemens might not make the induction ceremony.
All those felony charges could mean 30 years in prison. If the presiding judge has any sense of historical propriety, he or she will somehow get Clemens sentenced to Nevada's High Desert State Prison.
What better cellmate could he have than O.J. Simpson?
The Juice was the Holy Grail of reputation destruction. As low as his poll numbers remain, a lot of people still say he was the greatest running back they've ever seen.
You can just see the Juice and the Rocket, two broken-down jokes hanging around the prison yard, trading cigarets and talking about old times. It evolves into an argument over who was better.
"At least I didn't have to cheat my way to 2,003 yards in 1973," O.J. would say. "And nobody's ever accused me of erectile dysfunction."
"Oh yeah?" Clemens would respond. "Well, at least I never killed anyone."
That's some reputation.