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I don't know about you, but I nearly choked on my Froot Loops after reading Roberto Alomar's prepared apology statement a few days ago.

This couldn't have been the same Alomar who recently gave umpire John Hirschbeck a full facial saliva shower, or callously mentioned that Hirschbeck was bitter because of the death of his 8-year-old son to a rare brain disease.But thanks to a prepared statement - and a $50,000 pledge toward brain disease research - Alomar sounded like Winston Churchill after the Battle of Dunkirk.

"While I understand that this gesture in no way excuses or mitigates my conduct," the Baltimore Orioles star supposedly said, "I hope that it demonstrates my honest concern and complete remorse."

Mitigates? I've never heard a ballplayer use that word in my life. Some of them don't know about Watergate, much less mitigate.

But that's the beauty of prepared statements. Quick. Painless. No messy follow-up questions. In other words, a sham.

Actually, what I really think Alomar meant to say was. . .

"I'm sorry I spit on the guy, but it could have been worse; it could have been a loogie. And don't forget that $50,000 pledge to Joe Hopkins University. That's at least two autograph shows and an MTV Rock-Jock softball appearance."

In fact, just think if every athlete and coach had to fend for himself. No more statements prepared by everyone but the mope in question.


"I realize that the NBA referees are doing their jobs and it's my job to respect them and the rules of the game and not put my teammates in jeopardy."

- Dennis Rodman, after last season's head-butting incident with official Ted Bernhardt.


"Why don't nobody ask how I felt after BUTTING heads? That welt hurt LIKE a (expletive) and I had to WAIT three days before I could get my forehead pierced. Plus, my Jacqueline Kennedy pillbox HAT didn't work so well, either."


"I came here fully intending to play in the Buick Challenge. I realized last night that I was actually mentally exhausted and that if I played I would be doing a disservice to myself and to those who came to watch me play."

- Tiger Woods, after his last-minute tournament withdrawal forced the cancellation of a dinner in his honor at the Pine Mountain, Ga., resort.


"Kiss my swoosh."


"When my contract can be reworked in October of 1997, I will take steps at that time to assure that my compensation is elevated to a level commensurate with my standing on the Sonics and in the NBA."

- Seattle SuperSonic Shawn Kemp, after refusing to report to training camp last week.


"What do I look like, Scottie Pippen? You think I'm playing for $3 million? I don't comb my hair for less than $9 million."


"I knew it was a mistake to transport the young man and I compounded the problem by withholding the information initially. I would never knowingly compromise our program. I have learned a tough lesson and I will accept the consequences for my mistake."

- Purdue assistant coach Frank Kendrick, after admitting that he violated NCAA recruiting rules last June.


"PleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePlease don't fire me."


"I want to state that the university's disciplinary action was necessitated by my overindulgence of alcohol and by my subsequent immature behavior."

- Notre Dame running back Randy Kinder, after he was suspended last December for the Orange Bowl and spring practice.


"Keg-ger! My place!"


"It is not enough to be a great athlete. We expect them to be good citizens, good role models and an asset to our community. This kind of incident is deeply disturbing and cannot be dismissed or tolerated."

- USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett, after four Trojan starters were suspended last week for trading school-issued football shoes for clothes.


"Oh, great. O.J. walks, but my guys can't play in the Cal game."

See what I mean? The whole thing has reached epidemic proportions, mostly because these athletes are role models.

A couple of days ago I asked one of our teen-age kids to clean her room. She threw a fit, poured nail polish remover down my shirt, and had to be restrained by my wife. Later, she handed me a typewritten note.

"While I understand my refusal to clean said room conflicts with the accepted modes of daily co-existence, I must also note that the act of vacuuming dehumanizes me as an individual. Thus, a mitigating circumstance."

I sent her weekly $10 allowance to Joe Hopkins University.