With the shocking news about England's nine-time world darts champion, Phil "The Power" Taylor's, conviction for "fondling" and "groping" a couple of 23-year old girls still hot off the press, the question inquiring darters all over the world are asking is, "just what is the difference between an arse and a bum and which one exactly was Taylor thinking with the night he got himself in such a mess?"
It seems like it was only moments after the conviction was announced that my e-mail started buzzing. The phone started ringing. I slipped into my comfy "write about the Brits" red coat, fixed a fresh cucumber sandwich, poured a spot of tea and headed off to knock out a few lines of commentary straight away. "Hey, Marylou," I yelled to my wife, "I gotta type something up. When you're done vacuuming and cooking, walk the dog, will ya?"
Seriously, as those of you who follow this column know, Marylou has vetted my copy for years. It is her job to ensure that I don't write anything vulgar, sexist, libelous or just plain stupid. It is my fault that I ignore her except when she's wearing something all lacy and revealing. Note to reader: She tried to edit out that last line.
"Dog, wassup?," Marylou asked. Second note to reader: Well, technically, she didn't put it quite this way.
"It's unbelievable! Phil Taylor just got CONVICTED of assaulting some girls or something in a motor home after an exhibition. It's gotta be BS. I've got this idea in my head. I have to get it on paper NOW, before I loose it."
Now you have to know my wife. Unlike ninety-nine percent of the female population out there, she actually knows who Phil Taylor is. It's not that she's met him. Neither have I, but that's because I've never made it to the finals of the World Championship to get slaughtered like John Part. She knows who Taylor is because she knows EVERYTHING about darts. She's a real sicko.
"I hesitate to ask just what your idea is?" was her cool (okay, it was frickin' frigid) reaction to my excitement. "Perhaps you should be careful with this one."
So, I quickly reeled off my thinking which, essentially, was that no matter what Taylor may have done or not done, for some white-wigged judge to convict him of ANYTHING was just plain ludicrous in the face of the things Bill Clinton DID DO TO WOMEN WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT and which he got away scot-free with because he had the best of the best lawyers that only gobs of money can buy. Blah. Blah.
"'May have done or not done'?" was Marylou's very measured, very steely response. "In other words, even if it's true, it's okay?"
"No. NO!. That's not what I meant. Jeez. Here, I'll walk the dog."
So I gave the thing some time to settle.
Over and over I read through the news stories from the Sun and the Mirror, about undoing bras and grabbing at zippers and who knows what else. Hmmm.
I followed the opinions as they came bombarding into the Cyberdarts chat room from darters around the world — and as postings began to appear at the Planetdarts web site.
I considered the PDC's statement that, despite its belief that "indecent assault is a serious matter" it would defer "what action may be taken" until after March 27, the date upon which sentencing will be announced, or until the appeals process has run its course.
And, of course, I read and re-read Taylor's own comments, "I just can't believe I've been found guilty. This is a gross miscarriage of justice. I didn't think in my worst nightmares that it would ever end up like this."
I was glad I took a time out. My wife was right. She's always right. Third note to reader: Marylou typed that last sentence!
This IS serious stuff. Three separate lives are involved here. A whole mess of reputations. Possibly the very foundation of a marriage.
But none of this sordid stuff has SQUAT to do with darts. This ain't about whether Taylor should be refused a spot at the oche; that concept is flat out ludicrous. This isn't about whether little boys and girls will still ask him to sign their autograph books; they will. This isn't about whether or not he'll still be able to stomp the crap out of everybody he faces at the line. This has nothing particularly important to do with the future of the sport of darts.
This is about responsibility. Period.
None of us will ever know for certain what occurred.
Sensational news reports aside, there isn't a soul in the world, except Taylor and a couple of 23 year old girls who know what the truth really is.
Rumored late-breaking eyewitness information about the "kind" of girls these might have been aside, there isn't a soul in the world except Taylor and a couple of 23 year old girls who know what really happened inside Taylor's motor home.
Headline grabbing comments aside, from Taylor's so-called friend, Eric Bristow, who has a big mouth anyway, about how Taylor should be "banned" from our sport, there isn't a soul in the world except Taylor and a couple of 23 year old girls who will EVER know the truth.
The fact is, "miscarriage of justice" or not, Taylor's been convicted. Nine world championships notwithstanding, there will always be a black little mark next to his name.
Sure, there's an appeal process. He may win. He may lose. But the damage has been done. Neither result will change the fact that, at the end of the day, only three people will ever know what really happened.
Sadly, only one of them will have to live forever with the knowledge that, guilty or innocent, none of this would have ever happened if he'd been thinking with his head instead of his arse.
From the Field,