Bart Scott said good-bye to the 2011 football season by flipping off a photographer and growling, "Take a picture of this. Get out of my [bleeping] face." There's a very good chance that Scott won't be back with the New York Jets next season, so the final, lasting memory we have of the chatterbox linebacker is his middle finger followed by an expletive-laced taunt, which earned him a $10,000 fine by the team. Was Scott's kiss-off to the press a rude and boorish act? Absolutely. Behavior we haven't seen before? No way. Scott is just the latest in a long line of a rogues' gallery of New York athletes who have had a run-in with the media. The strong, silent type, such as Eli Manning, Mariano Rivera and John Olerud, is the best bet to thrive in the chaotic world of New York sports. The churlish, prickly kind, and throw in thin-skinned to boot, well . . . they often find trouble around here. Here are the Top 5 local athletes' encounters with the media (or should it be called the Bottom 5? -- and since these are probably just the tip of the iceberg, feel free to add more in the comments):
5. John Starks: On Feb. 6, 1996, the New York Knicks guard confronted and threatened Thomas Hill of the New York Post, after the writer contacted Starks' family while researching an article. Starks felt that Hill invaded his privacy, and after a practice, Starks got in his face and told him how he felt. The whole tirade was caught by TV cameras, which made the incident headline news.
4. Randy Johnson: New York and the Big Unit just didn't mesh, and we knew it wouldn't work out the very first day he arrived. Johnson hadn't even tried on his extra-long pinstripes yet, when, on Jan. 10, 2005, he shoved a photographer in the street on his way to his physical the day before his introductory press conference, and barked, "I don't care who you are, don't get in my face!" New Yorkers basically said, "Same to you, pal," as he lasted two seasons with the New York Yankees before they shipped him back to Arizona.
3. Bret Saberhagen: The New York Mets were a disaster in the early '90s, on and off the field, with one bizarre, knuckleheaded incident after another. On July 27, 1993, Saberhagen sprayed bleach onto two reporters in the Mets locker room, and for weeks refused to admit he was the prankster. He finally copped to the practical joke gone wrong, apologized and was fined. He had previously tossed firecrackers behind a group of reporters who were interviewing Anthony Young that season (not to be confused with Vince Coleman throwing firecrackers into a group of fans at Dodger Stadium).
2. Bobby Bonilla: "I'll show you the Bronx" has become part of the local sports lexicon, and it was uttered by Bonilla on April 10, 1993, when he expressed his displeasure with reporter Bob Klapisch and his book about the Mets, The Worst Team Money Could Buy. Bonilla threatened and taunted Klapisch in a frightening exchange: "Make your move, 'cause I'll hurt you . . . I'll show you the Bronx."
1. Richard Todd: The abused, disparaged Jet quarterback just couldn't take it anymore. Steve Serby of the New York Post had written a column that basically said the Jets couldn't win with Todd behind center. Serby knew that Todd was angry with the article and went to make peace with the Jet QB before a practice on Nov. 4, 1981. Todd wanted none of it, though, and the two engaged in an angry exchange before Todd charged Serby and slammed him into a locker, briefly knocking out the reporter. Serby went to the hospital, the Post sued the Jets (the charges were thrown out of court, though) and Todd and Serby sort of made peace later in the season.