Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting Bradley a slow dance with the devil

Milton Bradley can find men -- other black men like himself -- who have taken the same trails in life, run into troubles and then got to the end of the trail to confront some unintended, often horrific, consequence.


Maybe Bradley's life hasn't played out yet quite like O.J. Simpson's or Mike Tyson's or Chris Henry's or Plaxico Burress' or Jayson Williams' or Michael Vick's. To his credit, Bradley has had no criminality attached to his crass behavior or, apparently, no long list of "baby mommas" like Shawn Kemp to eat into his net worth.

That's a comfort of sorts. It's also a reminder that, for all of his temper tantrums, Bradley has escaped what has undone other big-name athletes. Then again, it might just be his dumb luck.

For Bradley has shown he's a hard push from going off sanity's precipice. He's a blood-and-guts example of pent-up madness; he's an emotional volcano that threatens to erupt like Mount St. Helens. He doesn't need a change of scenery; he needs psychiatric treatment.

What Bradley, 31, doesn't need is a maple or ash bat in his hands and people around him. He proved as much in past seasons and last season. For the Cubs, he went postal, fighting people's efforts to restrain him. His rage, though, was impossible to corral. Much like trying to harness a rattlesnake, you steer clear of it, ever mindful that the rattler can kill at any moment.

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