2008 Cracked Crowns

It's that time again, to honor the most asinine achievements of the past year. From black eyes to DUIs, from pranks to skanks, we present to you the 2008 Cracked Crowns on our scale of shame.

Boys will be boys

Flair Hits Like a Sissy

The details are still a little iffy, but what we do know is that a fight involving Ric Flair, his daughter, and his daughter's boyfriend took place on a September night in Chapel Hill. Police reported that everyone had been drinking and both men were bloody. The legendary wrestler emerged with a black eye, which was allegedly from his daughter. Days later, Flair appeared at the opening of the zMAX dragway in Concord and at the Sunset Club—eye still as black as the night sky.

Change We Can't Believe In

On day two of 2008's training camp, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith told reporters to stop dwelling on his past. "When I was twenty-two I was a different guy," he said, alluding to a 2002 incident in which he punched a teammate during a film session. On day seven of training camp, Smith punched teammate Ken Lucas in the eye during a break from special teams drills. Changed man, huh, Smitty?
Everybody point and laugh

Don't Text Me, Bro

Sixteen-year-old Brian Harkey and a couple of his friends went on a crime spree in four counties, stealing six cars and breaking into three businesses. When the cops raided Harkey's home, his friends caught wind of it. They began sending him text messages asking if he'd been caught. By this time, the cops had Harkey's cell phone. They replied, "No. I'm in the woods hiding. Come pick me up." Cops then bagged the two young (and dumb) accomplices.

You should know better than that


When S*%# Hits the Stand

Artives Freeman showed up to the first day of his murder trial in June, dressed in a suit and tie. But wait. Something stunk. Is that…no, can't be. Freeman had feces, yes, crap, in his hair -- a sad attempt to look insane to the judge. Stunned -- because it stunk -- the judge ordered Freeman be sent for a mental evaluation to determine if he was competent to stand trial. The hospital later determined he is.


Who Let the Big Guy on the Bus?

In August, Jase Squires, aka Cubby of 96.1 The Beat's A.M. Mayhem show, wanted to see if he -- a twenty-six-year-old, 300-pound man -- could board a school bus. Squires asked the bus driver if this was the bus for Southwest Middle. She said yes and he got on, all the while talking on his cell to the radio cast members. Squires, freaking out, got off at the next stop. No questions asked. Later that day, he was arrested and charged with causing a disturbance, but the charges were eventually dropped. The bus driver wasn't so lucky, though -- she got fired.

Open mouth

From the Sarah Palin School of Rhetoric…

Presidential hopeful John McCain came to Concord to drum up support in October. And when Congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina's Eighth District introduced McCain, he told the audience that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." News of Hayes's remark broke in The New York Observer followed by reports on Politico.com and the Huffington Post. Hayes, who lost his reelection bid, adamantly denied making the statement. That is, until Politico got hold of audio from a WFAE reporter.

Hang your head in shame

Somebody Tell Mama We're in the Top Ten!

We had barely finished celebrating the New Year when Forbes released its list of "America's Most Miserable Cities," ranking Charlotte ninth. Seriously? "Charlotte has undergone tremendous economic growth the past decade," the article read. "But the current picture isn't as bright. Employment growth has not kept up with population growth. … Charlotte scored in the bottom half of all six categories we examined. It scored the worst on violent crime." Well, when you put it that way.

Keg Standing for Your Vote

In July, York County Councilman Paul Lindemann was driving home to Fort Mill after a night of drinking in Columbia when those darn police stopped him. Things went sour, though, when Rock Hill's The Herald requested the cop's dashboard video that captured Lindemann flunking his field sobriety test -- badly. How bad? When asked to count backward from thirty-two, he repeatedly got stuck at thirty. When he finally reached twenty-nine, he went straight to nineteen, which is when the officer slapped the cuffs on him -- his third DUI arrest since 1998. After the video surfaced, Lindemann, a Republican, vowed to win his reelection in November, which, amazingly, he did.

You can never show your face in a church again

Coming Soon to an Episode of Mad Men

It's one thing to expense a meal with your spouse as a business dinner, but another to expense a sexual encounter with a prostitute. Such was the case for two businessmen—one from Charlotte, the other from Raleigh -- when they pleaded guilty to falsely listing sex arranged by local madam Sallie Saxon as a business expense. Saxon's call-girl service was busted by feds in early 2008 (allegedly, more than 500 men paid as much as $700 an hour for services). So how do you expense sex? The Spitzer wannabes put it down as advertising. That's one full-service ad agency.

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