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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The worst team EVER... and a fascinating tie to my historical trip down memory lane to learn a lesson in morality

 How do I begin to tell you about the worst team ever and how it
Brantley B2b
relates to my personal touch with historical infamy?

OK, first guess which team is the absolute worst ever. And no, it's not the Cubs. Hint: This team's record is 1-14,000 and still counting.

Ever hear of the Washington Generals--the perennial losers? The Washington Generals are the team that always plays the Harlem Globtrotters--the perennial winners. The Generals were created in 1952 and owned by Red Klotz who was also its manager, coach, mascot and chauffeur in his used green DeSoto. Oh, and he also started and played into his 60s. He and his team were good players but that was not their show biz role. The Generals lost wherever the Globetrotters played... in the Egyptian desert, on an aircraft carrier, in Attica Prison, in Hong Kong, in a "Simpson's" episode, in front of Nikita Khrushchev, the Pope and Barack Obama to name a few. Get the picture?

Oh, and they won once--by accident--and were booed by the fans.

In fact, the Generals' win over the 'never lose' Globetrotter at the height of their popularity in 1971 was so upsetting to everyone who knew about the fabulous showboats that one sports writer called it a blow to American confidence. The loss was, he wrote, on a par with Lt. William Calley's recent conviction for murder in the My Lai massacre when as many as 504 unarmed South Vietnamese villagers were brutilized and killed by American soldiers under Calley's command. (Google it and be amazed, greatly saddened and ashamed.)

Now the connection: At that time, I was publisher of a really good magazine called Rotor & Wing International. It was an influential business publication for all the commercial helicopter owners and operators in the world.

F. Lee Bailey, the flamboyant attorney who helped get O.J.Simpson off the hook bought a small helicopter company called Brantley which manufactured the helicopter shown above. He visited our offices to get editorial coverage for his new company and I visited his manufacturing facility. His operating manager was former army captain, Ernest Medina who was Lt. William Calley's superior in Viet Nam. Calley contended Medina gave him the order to massacre those civilians who were suspected of aiding the Viet Cong, the enemy. That was suspected but never proven.

I knew Medina and his flamboyant boss, Bailey. They didn't give me good vibes. Bailey was an egotist, a pompous showboat and womanizer. Medina was quiet and not warm. Bailey flew me in his helicopter to show me what he could do and he and Medina bought lots of advertising in our magazine.

Less than a year later, Medina and Bailey sold the company 'stiffing' our magazine with a very large advertising bill unpaid, the jerk. So sue me, he said.

The enormity and shame of the Viet Nam war massacre and the pomposity and gall of Bailey gave me a 'dirty' feeling. The loss of a game by the Harlem Globetrotters didn't affect me... or any of the My Lai survivors in the slightest by comparison, which goes to show that any analogy of life to sport is a vast and ridiculous overreach.

And any excuse of serious allegations against athletes we idolize as great football players or whatever, is crap. Life is for real. Sports are for money. Not the same. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for cutting any star athlete any moral slack so our team can win. There are enough examples in today's news to make you sick. Let's stop that. Oh, by the way, you too congressional abusers.

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