Skip to main content
Original Issue

Cool Jerks A vigilant website has made a contest of athletes' outrages and offenses, legal and otherwise

Long before Charles Barkley pitched an Orlando fan through a
plateglass window and Albert Belle chased down unruly
trick-or-treaters in his Ford Explorer, athletes were soiling
their reputations. At least past miscreants didn't have their
misdeeds meticulously chronicled on "Look, we
understand that athletes have bad days," says Steve Hofstetter,
who monitors hockey and basketball for the website, while his
brother, Adam, keeps tabs on baseball and football. "Just don't
spit on the fans."

Steve, 21, a senior at Columbia and a freelance journalist, and
Adam, 26, an editor, named their first online Jerk of the Week in
1998. (He was Jose Canseco, for pleading no contest to domestic
violence.) Each week they comb the AP wire and newspapers for
likely targets and assign them Jerk points--for instance, three
for a DUI and five for spousal abuse. The offenses don't have to
be criminal ones: Dodgers leftfielder Gary Sheffield tops the
2001 baseball standings with 16 points, earned for his spring
tirades against his club and his gripes about being underpaid,
while baseball commissioner Bud Selig, whose decisions are often
criticized on the site, is the alltime points leader (119). The
career leader among athletes? Dennis Rodman, with 69 points
amassed over 29 Jerk infractions, including such weirdness as
challenging NBA commissioner David Stern to a nude wrestling
match (three points) and being charged with disturbing the peace
for acts that included landing a helicopter on the beach in back
of his Newport Beach, Calif., house during his 40th birthday
party (two).

The brothers are planning a miscellaneous category to tap into
fertile areas such as boxing. Says Steve, "When athletes are in
the police station with a plaque over their chest, we want them
saying, 'Damn, I'm going to be the Jerk of the Week.'"

--John O'Keefe