Riverswalk of Shame

Riverswalk of Shame

If you’re an early TKF reader/listener, it’s no secret that I was never a fan of Philip Rivers. I didn’t like that the Chargers drafted any quarterback that year and would have rather they stuck with Brees and filled other holes.

However, I also never liked Rivers attitude, the way he threw the ball, the way his face was his face, or the way he keeps having kids at an alarming rate.

This is my opinion, and I put it out in plain site to forgo any attempts at those who would claim it would altar my feelings on his most recent special award. It doesn’t. I’m well aware that a lot of people think he’s the greatest quarterback to ever put on the powder blues. I can’t argue with stats, or results, and I won’t. It doesn’t matter to me anymore.

I’m not here for that debate.

What I am here to tell you is that Rivers, just like LT, is not a San Diego athlete anymore. He hasn’t been for a couple of years now, and unfortunately that is not up for debate.

In fact, he is playing for the anti-San Diego team. The team that is literally “fighting” to win over an entirely different city. One that doesn’t use the words “San Diego” in any of it’s business entities, promotional material, or merchandise.

He is and has been QB1 for the Los Angeles squad. He is a Los Angeles athlete. 

Was he great while he played in San Diego? His stats were top-notch. He was thee star we had on the football field next to Antonio Gates and a rotation of wide receivers.

Was. Was. 


The fact that he lives in San Diego doesn’t make him a San Diego athlete. He wasn’t born here, he didn’t play any level of football here other than the NFL and he went when the team went. Would he rather be playing in San Diego? Of course he would, but THAT STILL DOESN’T MAKE HIM A SAN DIEGO ATHLETE.

I know it’s hard to think of him any other way. When Seau left it was rough. It didn’t seem real. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if Tony left. But if he did leave, and then while he was still playing for a different team was awarded Professional Athlete of the Year in San Diego it would be pretty dumb.

But, as we continue to learn anything to do with mainstream San Diego sports is pretty dumb. 

Of course the media jumped all over Rivers, drooling over his khakis and catching a cold sweat as he graced them with his presence. Canepa was feeling things he didn’t even know he was capable of feeling anymore, while the rest of the San Diego Sports elites lined up to kiss the bolo. Rivers even teared up. He understands. He got a heroes welcome. And, it was wrong.

You know when Rivers should have his victory lap? When we should be puckering up to the country tuxedo? After he retires. When you’re supposed to do it. When he’s done playing for the AWAY team, he comes “home” and get his awards, his handshakes, Canepa’s cigar smoke in his eyes. After he walks away from Spanos and the game and LA. AFTER – NOT DURING.

I’m sure if any media people read this they’ll say, “You don’t know Philip, he means it, he’s a good guy, good husband, great dad. He loves SD and is pretty vocal about wanting to be here!” Great. Thank you. I’ve saved you the trouble of telling me how great a dad and husband and person he is. The problem with those media biases is they always start with “You don’t know him like I do..”

YOU’RE RIGHT! I don’t. 95% of the fans who watched him also don’t and never will. They only think they know he’s a great person cause you said it on the air or in the paper, or because they heard Rivers talk on TV or on the radio or in the paper rifling off the personification of what he wants to be perceived as.

The media doesn’t know who Rivers is. You think he’s gonna let loose all his demons and misgivings with the one person who can damn his legacy forever? Get real. You ain’t James Bacon and this ain’t the golden age of Hollywood. 

I don’t know who Philip Rivers really is as a person. I also don’t care, because my relationship with him was always and will always be as a fan who was granted no level of access.

That’s where we were allowed to keep it. And, that’s fine! But, that doesn’t bode well for the radio jock who opines about what a good guy he is because you had a steak with him one time or talked to him on the phone once a month about how he likes Kansas City BBQ.

He’s being honored as a professional sportsman, not a professional person, and the two shouldn’t be mixed together, otherwise we have to sit down and really dissect what that means, and sometimes it doesn’t turn out so well.

I’m sure the media vets will set me straight.

Philip Rivers by all accounts was a great quarterback when he played in San Diego. I’m willing to concede that. But, for the San Diego Sports Association to elect someone from another team as their Professional of the Year is a joke. Its the most San Diego Sports thing of all time.

It’s like electing Pearl Jam the greatest San Diego rock group of all time (something they’ve tried to do) because Eddie Vedder worked in El Cajon for a summer.

What makes this all the more rich is that the honor is nowhere to be found on chargers.com. You know what awards are featured on your beloved football team’s website? Melvin Gordon winning “Best Dressed” and Philip Rivers being awarded the Los Angeles Sports Council’s Sportsman of the Year…you’ve got to be fucking kidding me? We’re little brother once again. We can’t even have this to ourselves, because guess what? He doesn’t belong to us anymore. I do know one thing: he’ll sure as hell button that top button for that award ceremony.

I get wanting to remember him. Wanting to honor a San Diego resident for all the joy he brought local football fans. I get it. WE GET IT. But, it was wrong. He is not a San Diego athlete, he’s a professional athlete who chooses to make his home in San Diego.

You want to honor his career? Give him one more standing ovation as appreciation for putting up with Norv Turner? One last hurrah? Like the great Mitch Hedberg once said, “you have to wait.”

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc

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Written By :

Dallas McLaughlin is a writer and performer for the Emmy-winning Yo! Gabba Gabba! and The Aquabats! Super Show! He's also worked as a consultant for Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon, and Fox Sports. A diehard San Diego sports fan, Dallas has written passionately against the DH and in favor of Padre Brown for SI.com, The Sports Minute, Fox Sports, Voice of San Diego, San Diego Magazine, and is one of the founding members of The Kept Faith. A professional standup comedian who's performed with Norm McDonald, Chris Hardwick, Dave Attell, Jeff Garlin, and many more. He recently won San Diego's Funniest Person Contest, and has been featured on FoxRox, Tonight in San Diego, and was a DJ on FM94/9 for over seven years. Dallas has spent over two decades on stage as an actor, award-winning playwright and director. In his spare time, Dallas likes to eat burritos, drink beer, and talk to his wife about her dislike for Harry Connick, Jr.

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