Todd Marinovich-Pathetic Loser or Abuse Victim?

The May, 2009 issue of ESQUIRE magazine had a fascinating story…about the wreck of a once great football star-Todd Marinovich. I first read about this kid years ago-his father (pro football coach Marv Marinovich) set out to make his son the perfect quartrback. He had the kid in training from the age of 7-and subjected te kid to special diest, excercise regimes, and general all-round indoctrination. At first, it worked-Todd had a spectatcular HS football career, and went on to a great career at USC. Later, playing for the Raiders, he got hooked on heron. This lead to a downward spiral of booze, drugs, and more drugs. Todd ended his career as a second-string player for a Canadian league team, and now works cleaning boat hulls at a marina.
A total tragedy-was the old man to blame?
Is this a common scenario in pro football?:confused:

Well, that’s his problem right there. Have you ever tried to snort one of those?

As for your thread title, i have no idea as to the answer. But i am sure that your two options vastly oversimplify the issue.

I feel like Todd might have had a chance if he wasn’t Marv’s kid, but then again, he might not have had the football opportunities if he wasn’t…

I am two years older than Todd but we lived in the same town and lots of us followed his career at least casually. He probably never had a chance. :frowning:
Edit- here’s his Wiki entry, if you’re interested.

This quote from the Sport Illustrated article cracks me up:
“Marv invented a game in which Todd would try to lift a medicine ball onto a kitchen counter. Marv also put him on a balance beam. Both activities grew easier when Todd learned to walk.”

Not to pile on to an easily-made typo, but when I read this my thought was
“Yeah, he started by smoking crow, then began sniffing crane, and that was it…”
Then I realized how plausible ‘crow’ and ‘crane’ sounded as drug names. Now I’m wondering if it means anything…

There’s waaaay too much we don’t know.

Marv Marinovich MAY have been a jerk who ruined his kid’s life. Or he may have been no worse than Earl Woods, Tiger’s Dad.

Eldrick Woods thrived on golf from an early age, and could handle anything his father dished out. It LOOKED to many people as if Todd was the same way. Maybe Eldrick was more mature than Todd… or maybe Earl was less of a hardass than Marv… or maybe it was just luck.

I can’t judge, and neither can you.

In this day and age, why can’t Todd Marinovich be both a pathetic loser AND an abuse victim?

I think there’s a non-zero chance that “heron” is slang, not a typo. Didn’t any of you ever watch “The Wire”?

I love The Wire.

I might buy your assertion if the OP had not also referred to the “diest” and “excercise” of the “quartrback.”

Well yeah, I think it’s a typo as well. I’m just saying it’s possible.

Perhaps Todd should’ve chosen another addictive substance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_u7VGiMO0U&feature=fvst

Eh, I think that the entire premise is crap. I don’t buy the fact that having a domineering and/or strict father makes anyone a heroin addict. Even using abuse as an excuse for drug abuse is a horseshit cop out.

The guy is probably a loser. His dad’s plan to sculpt him might have made him unhappy (though I’m not sure being a HS and USC superstar jock and multi-millionaire is a recipe for misery) too, but blaming his ultimate failure on that is just an excuse.

Oh Lord Jesus Christ who art thou on thy throne in heaven, please keep Omniscient and people like him away from drugs addicts. Their aggressive ignorance does untold damage.

People like Todd Marinovich happen every day.

The problem is that the backstory isn’t as compelling and thus doesn’t make the papers.

When you have to bring your OWN cake to a birthday party because your dad has you on a diet, when you’ve never eaten fast food until your college visits, when your entire day is micromanaged, you’re going to go absolutely fucking APESHIT the instant that’s gone.

We saw this stuff all the time at the bars in college. I personally remember freshman year- one girl with whom I was a casual acquaintance called her mother to ask if she could go to the bar, then stayed in when momma said no. Flash forward three years, same girl is banging some dude in an alley- no joke.

Problem with Marinovich was, he had access to better excess, no one to say no, and too many enablers. Of course his crash was gonna be harder.

Did daddy bring it on? Sure- but daddy wasn’t the only one to blame. Todd could have stood up to him earlier, could have moderated himself in college, could have chosen better friends. USC could have kept him on a shorter leash. Coaches could have assigned him spies or helpers.

Marinovich’s problems were his own fault. But plenty of people couldhave headed him off and didn’t.

Thanks for the insightful replies. I guess poor Todd would have been a better man if he had less football and more love.
It is just so sad when a young person with all that talent throws it all away, because he never had the chance to mature.

The stage parent specifically, or just the fall from grace?

The “coach’s son” is a common phenomenon in sports. Naturally dad is going to tend to teach his kid the stuff he loves (Marv was a trainer/conditioning guy, technically, not a coach, but the priniciple’s the same). Oftentimes it works out well (but, there are different kinds of coach’s sons – some just drift into the game because they’re around it all the time, have good genetics (athletes’ kids are often good athletes), and like it, others may be pushed). Many coaches’ sons also seem to be able to gracefully transition away from sports being their whole lives – stereotypically, coaches’ sons are from middle class backgrounds, may not be the best pure athletes (the runty white Bobby Hurley stereotype), but were lifelong overachievers who could make it to the college ranks on sheer practice and superior preparation. But then they see the handwriting on the wall, they may not have the pure physical gifts to make it in the bigs, so they don’t stake everything on playing ball, maybe get a decent degree and go into business, or coaching. Those guys can have a soft landing. Marinovich’s problem may have been (1) he was as physically gifted as his best peers; (2) his Dad was pretty extreme in the pressure he put on him; and (3) he never came off as terribly bright or thoughtful, so his lack of a Plan B is not shocking.

We could name a lot of examples of coaches’ sons who seem to have turned out fine, either because successful in the pros (Grant Hill, Chris Simms) or finding alternative paths (Rex Ryan, etc.).

As for the larger question – abject failure and poverty are far from uncommon for former pro athletes. Historically, they didn’t make much money, and had little to no professional financial counselling, so it was very easy to waste whatever modest competence they had. Even with recent huge salaries, the pressures on young athletes, the inflated ego that comes with being a star, the inevitable hangers-on, the poor judgment of any 22 year old guy, especially from a less-than-perfect familial background, seem to make it incredibly easy to squander everything. (I didn’t even get to drugs). Even guys considered smart and middle class can easily get in over their heads – see the case of Bernie Kosar, who was always considered a cerebral quarterback and good businessman, certainly not known for any social pathologies or wild living, and still found himself massively underwater.

On re-reading the article, I think that Todd really ddn’t care for pro football. Whether this was due to his drug use, or simply too much footall, is hard to say.
Unfortunately, being 40 and brok, and with no job skills is pretty pathetic.

Kinda like most of the rest of the world. At least this turd had the brass ring for awhile. Wasn’t smart enough to hang on and buff it…

Absolutely. Stay away from birds, tho. That’s bad juju. Myself, I prefer this.

The orange ones fuck you up REAL good.