apocryphal, but supposedly President Franklin D. Roosevelt once remarked regarding (a) Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, (b) Spanish dictator Francisco Franco or (c) Dominican strongman Rafael Trujillo that although he was a son of a bitch, at least he was "our son of a bitch."
That same sentiment remains today when talking about sports figures. Barry Bonds was the most despised baseball player when he was chasing Mark McGwire's (tainted) single-season home run mark and Hank Aaron's career mark. That is, unless you were one of the fans sitting in Telephone Company ballpark watching him launch balls into McCovey Cove.
Terrell Owens is a cancer in the locker room who tears teams apart with his pettiness -- unless he happens to be wearing the colors of your favorite team. Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little are responsible for the deaths of others as a result of their drinking.
The list goes on and on of athletes who have done things that they shouldn't have -- from the ridiculous to the criminal. But in most cases, even though they are scorned by the public at large for their (mis)deeds, they are beloved by the hometown fans. Character matters, well, so long as the team is winning.
Add Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans to the list. After it was announced this week that Mr. Cushing would be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season for testing positive for a steroid masking agent (the same female fertility drug that got Manny Ramirez suspended for 50 games last season), fans on local talk radio gushed over his performance on the field. And when the AP announced that it would hold a new vote on the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award won by Mr. Cushing, Texans' fans and radio personalities had their panties in a wad.
Brian Cushing may have been a cheat, but at least he was "our cheat."
And the same may be said about the roster of confidential informants used by the police. Each and everyone of them has broken the law at some point (a multitude of times, usually) but now they ply their trade for the men in blue. Sure, they may be a bunch of criminals, but at least they're "our criminals."