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The year of sleaze in sports

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For awhile, it seemed this golf season would be remembered as the Year of the Runner-Up.

That’s overshadowed now.

Los Angeles Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke had an interesting take on the entire year in sports:

It dominated this year's sports scene like a black-tasseled whip.

Athletes were embarrassed by it, executives were crushed under it, and at least one former Notre Dame football coach tripped over it and fell on his big fat face.

It made headlines -- and mincemeat -- of Alex Rodriguez and Madonna, Jamie McCourt and the Bodyguard, Tiger Woods and approximately 1,556 Women With Big Hair.

It skewered Dwyane Wade in court papers, Erin Andrews through a peephole, and Shaquille O'Neal from here to Gilbert Arenas' fiancée.

It dominated every tough opponent, captured every large headline, and thus should now be honored with the biggest of awards.

Our 2009 Sportsman of the Year is Sleaze . . .

I'm devouring the stuff like everyone else -- really, Tiger, Ambien? -- but I don't feel good about it.

Sleaze may be Sportsman of the Year, but part of me wishes it would go back to Washington, return to Wall Street, leave sports alone.

The beauty of athletics has always been that it brings us together and collectively, somehow, someway, makes us feel better about ourselves.

How many majors must Woods now play before he makes us feel anything other than disgust?

How many Final Fours will rebuild Louisville's collegial connection with Pitino?

We know it will hurt us, we know it will forever change the way we look at something we love, but we want to know, we have to know, so much that some fool not only visually molested a TV sideline reporter, but truly believed an Internet site would buy the video of her.

Which makes you wonder who should be more embarrassed -- the athlete who commits the personal sin, or folks like me who rush to read about it?

Good job, Sleaze.

But don't forget, you couldn't have done it without us.