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Sep 16, 2014 9:46 PM

Jonathan Papelbon was never exactly a brain surgeon

As the formerly glittering National Football League shield continues taking on mud from off-field felonies, it is refreshing, in a warped sort of way, to see a Major League Baseball player get in a bit of trouble simply for being an on-field idiot. Jonathan Papelbon, whose occasional acts of idiocy in Boston made him more lovable to some New Englanders, is serving a seven-game suspension for insulting Philadelphia fans and for getting a bit too riled during a mindless meeting Sunday with umpire Joe West. Leaving the field after being torched in the ninth inning of a Phillies loss to the Marlins, Papelbon made an unmistakably lewd gesture in response to the boos inspired by his blown save. Papelbon later tried to explain his clutch-and-grab as an equipment adjustment, which fooled no one who witnessed it, live or online. West ejected Papelbon, who charged from the dugout, got in West’s face and bumped him. MLB sentenced Papelbon to a seven-game suspension for his combination of offenses. Since the Phillies are only slightly better than Papelbon’s former team and headed nowhere but home, the closer is serving his suspension without an appeal. He couldn’t let it go, however, without taking an utterly ridiculous stab at rationalizing his misconduct: “While I completely understand how the fans would perceive my gesture while being booed, it was not my intent whatsoever to insult the fans of Philadelphia. If it was perceived in that manner, I sincerely apologize.” Philadelphia fans are well-versed in sending and receiving obscene messages.


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