I Was Keith Olbermann's Third-Worst Person in the Sports World

By Mike Cardillo

“Like you never made a mistake,” — Nathan Flomm, Clear History


Tuesday night was shaping up to be a tremendous night of sleep. For the past week, I’d been taking care of my parents’ cat and she kept waking me up at 5:00 a.m. every day and wouldn’t stop making a racket but she was back with my folks. On top of that, I’d taken a yoga class that left my body ready for a deep, sound slumber.

Just as I was about to sign off my Internet duties for the day, this innocuous-looking tweet came along.

Why I initially thought this “shout out” would be a positive thing is beyond me. I scrambled to find Olbermann on ESPN2 and caught the replay at midnight. I waited. I waited. I waited and then … there it was (as you can see in the video above): The third-worst person in the sports world on Tuesday, according to Olbermann, was a tie between Jose Mourinho and The Big Lead, or, in this specific instance, yours truly for making a mistake. (Hey, at least I’m in good company alongside the Special One, right?)

Long story short, I wrote a post about the Chelsea team massage therapist, however in the post’s initial headline I used the feminine  “masseuse” instead of the masculine “masseur” to describe Chelsea masseur Billy McCulloch. Obviously, it didn’t dawn on me until my jaw slowly dropped around 12:21 a.m. Wednesday, when I saw it highlighted on national television that masseuse is a female term — so much for the three years of high school French I took. It turns out cheating on a test about Jean-Paul Sartre was, fittingly, truly meaningless.

It was an honest mistake and I own up to it. I would quote Hall of Fame UConn coach Jim Calhoun, but there’s no need to repeat that type of language.

Of all the mistakes I’ve made throughout my mostly undistinguished career in media, I did not think a simple mix-up between masseuse/masseur would be what finally got my name on ESPN’s airwaves, but here we are. I like to use the hashtag #youreawinnerandaloser on Twitter and this clearly fits the definition. Another silver lining: I could post the clip on Facebook and family members would still be impressed.

It must have been a very slow news day for this story to wind up on ESPN, but fair play to Olbermann. In a way it’s an honor to be slammed by someone as sharp as him. We took a few shots at him during his brief media feud with WFAN’s Mike Francesa, so if Keith wants to even up the score it’s more than fair. At least it was somewhat assuring that Olbermann preceded his slam by saying he likes both the site and Mourinho.

If a newspaper editor screws up a headline, it winds up on Leno (for a few more weeks, anyway). If a blogger messes something up, it ends up on Olbermann. Call it the natural evolution of media.

In the end, was I mortified beyond belief that this happened? Yes. Will I lose a lot of sleep going forward because of my poor French gender usage? No … except for last night when I didn’t sleep a wink.

Good luck to whoever assumes the title of Third-Worst Person in the Sports World tomorrow.