DURHAM, N.C. – Sports fans have been wrestling with a pair of troublesome questions this week: Why would former Duke basketball star JJ Redick get wasted enough to attract police attention just weeks before the NBA draft, in which he is expected to be a first-round pick? And why would Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger try to take out somebody’s windshield with his face?
Fans rightly concluded that both men had little to gain from their adventures, so what could they have been thinking? Did they believe their athletic skills made them invincible? Did they think the laws of man and physics don’t apply to them? Or is there a simpler explanation?
“JJ’s been obsessed with Paris Hilton ever since he saw the sex video during the (NCAA basketball) tournament,” said Shelden Williams, a former teammate of Mr. Redick’s. “JJ’s so straight he was the last guy on the team to see the video. I think Coach K even saw it before JJ did, but once JJ saw it, I couldn’t get my copy away from him.”
“JJ started letting his hair grow out and putting product in it and mussing it up on purpose,” said the teammate. “He started drinking and hanging in clubs with guys from the lacrosse team. It really tore him up when Paris was dating Matt Leinart,” former USC quarterback and a first-round draft pick.
Mr. Redick’s obsession with Ms. Hilton came to a head on Tuesday. He spent the evening in a collegiate hangout in Durham, drinking heavily and trying to text message Ms. Hilton to invite her to be his date at the NBA draft.
Shortly before 1 a.m. he gave up and left the bar. He was arrested when he turned around as he approached a license check point near the Duke campus. He pulled into a parking lot of an apartment complex and was attempting to hide under the dashboard when police found him. His blood alcohol level, 0.11, exceeded the legal limit 0.08.
According to another teammate, Mr. Reddick underwent a transformation after seeing Ms. Hilton’s video.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shared Mr. Redick’s obsession with Ms. Hilton. He, too, was jealous of the attention paid by Ms. Hilton to Mr. Leinart, said Mr. Roethlisberger’s former teammate Jerome “The Bus” Bettis.
“We thought Big Ben had gotten over that,” said Mr. Bettis, “but when he seen the Paris music video on the web this week, he got all bent out of shape again.”
A source close to the Pittsburgh police department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Roethlisberger had been on his way to a FedEx office in Pittsburgh to send Ms. Hilton a “personal” home video when his motorcycle crashed into a car. He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time because he thought he “looked cooler” without one.
“The good news and the bad news,” said the police source, “is that Ben’s expected to recover normal brain function eventually.”
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