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Naughty or nice in the sports world?

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He’s makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Yep, Santa Claus is comin’ to town, and if he’s makin’ a list of the good and the bad in the world of sports, well, those could be some interesting lists.

There has been some very good and some appallingly bad this season.

On the nice list, Jolly Old Saint Nick probably has Michael Phelps. The swimmer dominated the sports world for much of the summer with his record haul of gold medals at the Summer Olympics. Hey, when LeBron and Kobe take time to check someone out, you know the guy’s a big deal.

Also on the good list: The New England Patriots. They made NFL history with the first 16-0 regular season. Then, the New York Giants denied them a championship with a Super Bowl shocker. They’re on the nice list, too.

There were plenty of Oklahomans who were plenty good this year, too. Bill Self won a national championship. Matt Holliday inked a big contract. And Clay Bennett and Co. brought an NBA team to OKC.

The Thunder leave a lot to be desired on the court, but it’s hard to put the players on the naughty list. These guys have been everywhere in the community recently. They’re buying Christmas gifts and handing out coats and serving meals. I know that NBA players are contractually obligated to make community service appearances, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re doing good for people in the area.

But what of the sports types that belong on the naughty list. There are lots of them.

O.J. Simpson just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Apparently, the idea of a second chance is lost on The Juice.

Plaxico Burress had his own legal problems. He might’ve been on the nice list after the first month of the year, since he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. But since then, he’s been involved with a couple domestic disputes, driven without insurance and, oh yeah, shot himself in the leg.

Are we sure it wasn’t his foot?

Isiah Thomas makes the naughty list, too. When police responded to his house in October because of an accidental overdose of a prescription sleeping pill, the former NBA star was the one who’d overdosed. But Isiah tried to pin the incident on his 17-year-old daughter.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the Dallas Cowboys. That’s naughty list would take all day.

There are some folks with ties to our fair state who haven’t been angels either. DeMarcus Granger swiped a coat he hadn’t paid for. Andrea Riley popped an opponent in the back of the head. And Josh Jarboe just couldn’t stay out of trouble.

So this Christmas week, if Santa’s making and checking that list as promised, he’s sure to find sports types who’ve been naughty and nice. But he’ll probably also find, like the rest of us, that it’s the two groups that make the sports world the interesting place that it is.

Happy holidays.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›