It sounded like a swell idea: male and female athletes from high schools throughout San Diego County honored at a fancy banquet, with professional football players handing out the awards.
But jokes about Steve Garvey’s paternity problems and other mildly suggestive jibes by San Diego Charger Billy Ray Smith and former Chargers Kellen Winslow and Hank Bauer left at least some of the parents and school officials embarrassed and angry.
Among those who were upset were the father of a girl receiving an award for her volleyball prowess and a San Diego high school principal who wishes she hadn’t been invited.
“The locker-room humor got going and they couldn’t stop it,” said John Deavers, student government adviser at Poway High School. “That would be all right for a Rotary or Kiwanis meeting but not for a banquet with teen-agers. These guys are supposed to be role models.”
Winslow asked a girl if she knew Garvey; Bauer wondered aloud how the male coaches react to having “gorgeous” young girls on campus, and Smith said Garvey should “lay off or cut it out.”
Former television sportscaster Mike Smith, whose video company, Image Producers, sponsored last week’s banquet at the waterfront Marriott Hotel, says he is sorry that people were upset. The objectionable stuff began when the jocks departed from their prepared scripts and started to ad-lib.
“The comments were out of place, and I hope people know we had no control over what the presenters would say,” Smith said. “When we have something like this again, we’ll sit down and talk about what is acceptable for a high school audience.”
Bauer, a radio sportscaster, said he is “ticked off” that anyone could interpret his comment as improper. He said he was merely trying to compliment the girls on their looks.
Billy Ray Smith said his Garvey joke was a “feeble attempt at humor” and that “I’ll be the first to apologize if anyone was offended.” But he added that the adults should realize that the students are about to enter college, where they will hear much stronger stuff.
Winslow did not return several messages left with his answering service.
One Pop and You’re Out
School officials in San Marcos have taken a tough stand against the latest rage on campus: small firecracker-like packages called “poppers,” wrapped in tinfoil and sold at swap meets and in Tijuana.
So far, 15 students have been expelled for possessing the illegal explosive devices and will not be readmitted until next fall, at the earliest. (The students are eligible to attend a county-run school for pupils with discipline problems or apply to other school districts.)
San Marcos School Supt. Mac Bernd this week sent a note to all parents warning that there will be zero tolerance for poppers.
The San Marcos response contrasts sharply with that of the San Diego school system, where students caught with poppers merely have them confiscated and are asked not to bring any more to campus, according to security chief Alex Rascon.
Tickets for Neil Diamond’s April 17 concert at the Sports Arena sold out within two hours, but somehow, as always, the scalpers and brokers have plenty of tickets to sell, at a tidy profit.
Two ticket hustlers hired 20-odd street people to sleep near the box office at the downtown Civic Theatre to be ready when sales began at 10 a.m. Monday. One of the two passed out cookies and sang off-key renditions of Diamond songs to keep the recruits focused on the task.
As each street person approached the head of the line, he was slipped enough money for six tickets (the maximum allowed) at $20 each, plus a couple of bucks for his effort. Some were unsteady on their feet, others had the bruised faces that come with urban outdoor living.
“One was so drunk he could barely stand,” said one box-office employee, adding that she has seen nothing like the transients-as-proxies scheme in her 12 years. Usually, the scalpers and brokers hire college kids, she said.