Sunday, June 09, 2013


It's hard not to feel badly for someone like Lance Rentzel. Sort of. A sports figure is supposed to be a hero, but he's just some jock who might have some mental problems. If his mental problem is being a gambler (Pete Rose), a con-artist weasel (Lenny Dykstra), or even a wrongful death murderer (O.J. Simpson) he can still hold his head up, get news coverage, and have fans. But if it's a sexual problem, and doesn't even involve touching the victim? Rentzel now can't really show his face. He can't do memorabilia shows. Not even after 30 years.

If the athlete exposing himself is not particularly well known (Ed Bouchee) there aren't blazing headlines and the man can resume his career and later go to autograph-signing shows if he feels like it, reliving the good times. If it's a non-consensual gang bang involving another player's woman, but can't be fully documented with videotaped evidence (Dwight Gooden, Vince Coleman and Daryl Boston taking their turns at bat) then people likewise forget. If the incident is wife-swapping and the guy ends up divorced and looking like a total asshole AND he's not much of an athlete anyway, he can change his name and disappear (oh, Mike Kekich where art thou…nevermind….)

But Rentzel? The unusual name, his huge fame (a star athlete married to Joey Heatherton) and being officially caught TWICE exposing himself to young girls? Hey, that's the third strike, even if you're a football player.

Rentzel got away with it once in 1967 when he was with the Minnesota Vikings, and the charge was quietly reduced to "disorderly conduct." But three years later, while a member of the Dallas Cowboys and Joey-married, his victim's family refused all bribes and chose to shame his fame. And they did, nevermind his excuses, his depression, his confusion. Rentzel's marriage ended, and while he did manage to keep playing (for the Rams) the scandal sent him to exile and obscurity soon after. His whereabouts and his life over the past decades are not well known.

Footnote #1: scandal-plagued bike rider Lance Armstrong was named after Lance Rentzel.

Footnote #2: Rentzel blamed the first incident on depression after reading the book "1984." The second incident after watching the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Footnote #3: Lance's book is mostly a straight autobiography, not entirely about two incidents or the psycho-sexual phenomenon of guys who either have a turn-on or suddenly are driven to "prove their masculinity" by flashing (especially flashing at young girls or old ladies who'd be most likely to show a reaction). An irony is that Lance talks about the sadistic coaches that worked players till they dropped (not illegal) and the hazing rituals he and other college athletes went through. Like being forced to crawl around backward with "grapes up our asses" while drinking body fluids and getting smacked with battery-powered cattle prods. Ohhh, that's normal college activity! All the laughter hasn't died as far as college fraternity and sorority antics still goes on, and nobody's as concerned with that shit as they are with protecting children from...the sight of a dick? Which they get to see on line thanks to our wonderful Internet sometimes by accident but many times on purpose by people a lot more evil than Lance Rentzel?

And here's a musical footnote. When he was a big star, Lance was even asked to make a record.

LOOKIN' LIKE SOMETHIN' THAT AIN'T?...too easy to make that into a dick joke. Let's just say that this star athlete, who wrote a book trying to explain himself, was not a bad singer. He does a nice job on this mild soul B-side. It's short and painless. No, that's not a dick joke either.



Anonymous said...

He was a damngood football player the Qb for greenbay raped several women he had to show his dick to do that but yet he still played!

MikeB26 said...

Good to see the compassionate quotes. It's so easy to judge but harder, in this society, to possess perspective and forgive. I read When All the Laughter Died when I was about 12. I remember thinking of Lance as a person who wasn't making excuses for himself as he tried to make things right. I hope he has done well.