Real Men Work at Applebee's

I'm a fan of Jeff Pearlman for a lot of reasons -- he's the guy who brought the real John Rocker to public attention, for example, although I'm sure he's sick of being remembered that way. His new column for ESPN skewers that most eyeroll-worthy of sports cliches, the notion of the "real man."

The story is insightful and thought-provoking, although I think it's a bit underdeveloped in its current form and would benefit from a larger treatment in a 3,000-word think piece. How do we define masculinity, and what does that definition say about us? How can the Falcons (correctly) revile Bobby Petrino for his lack of loyalty, but look the other way when Mike Vick tortures and kills animals? When does this positive quality, allegiance to one's mates, descend into evil? And what does that tell us about culturally mandated gender roles?

But that's taking away from the fundamental revelation of the story: Peter Warrick now works at Applebee's.

That's right. A throwaway line from the story informs us that the erstwhile wide receiver, once arrested for shoplifting, is now Vice President and CEO in Charge of Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches.

Actually, according to Wikipedia, he owns the Applebee's, and I don't know which report is right. Either way, there's a big gap between being the fourth pick in the draft and having stoned teenagers inform you that their Maple Butter Blondie is melting, and hence they aren't paying for it.

To be fair, this is a small indignity compared to having one's high school rat-tail shaved by the Florida State seniors, or indeed having said rat-tail in the first place.

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