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Everybody loves a scandal, barring the people embroiled in one, of course. The rest of us absolutely cannot get enough. Whether you admit it or not, few things make you feel better about yourself quite as intensely as seeing the people that society places on the highest of pedestals get knocked off of them in spectacular fashion.

Just like anything else, there are limits to what we'll put up with. You're not going to see anyone lobbying to have O.J. Simpson mentioned more frequently during USC broadcasts anytime soon. That ship has sailed. But he's also one of the most extreme examples. More often than not, celebrities dip to lows that a rational person would expect (or hope) they'd never recover from and, somehow, claw their way back into our good graces. For example ...

Rush Limbaugh


The Scandal

In 2003, a woman named Wilma Cline strolled into a Florida police station and handed over evidence that Rush Limbaugh, America's holier-than-thou king of political talk radio buffoonery, was buying hillbilly heroin on the black market. The evidence came in the form of emails and answering machine messages from Limbaugh asking Cline to sell him large quantities of drugs, which she totally did several times, according to her own admission. I'm guessing she came forward to clear her conscience and then filled the hole left by that now absent guilt with the piles of money she was paid by the National Enquirer for telling her story to them also.

Pictured: 1 of 8 stories they've been correct about.

Naturally, when someone comes forward with evidence that they have access to large stocks of pills and are selling them to anyone who knows them well enough to ask, your next course of action is to focus all of your time and energy on just one person that they sold to. Why cut off the snake's head when it's so much fun watching that tail grow back every time, you know? So, with their priorities appropriately out of order, Wilma Cline was given immunity, and authorities launched a three-year investigation that culminated in ... Rush Limbaugh having all charges dropped in exchange for going to rehab.

Way to keep us safe, law enforcement community of Florida!

Why It Should Have Destroyed Him

Prior to 2003, the war on drugs and its various casualties were a target that Rush Limbaugh set his sights on regularly. He built his career on lecturing those who lived outside his rigid moral code. This drug scandal was a fundamental breach of the informal contract Rush Limbaugh had with his audience. His days as a morally superior blowhard should have come to an end the moment he had to go on the air and admit to his legions of rabid fans that he was a drug-using, law-breaking criminal, just like those people he spoke out against so vehemently. Relatively speaking, it's kind of like the guy who speaks out against gay marriage and eventually gets caught in an airport bathroom stall blowing some random dude. You just can't trust his gay hate for a single second after that, right? Right. That was a fantastic analogy.

Just doing my job, folks.

Why It Didn't

Rush Limbaugh survived his drug scandal because the people who listen to him are not doing so because they're seeking the truth. People turn to Rush Limbaugh when they need a mouthpiece for all of the sexist/racist/homophobic thoughts that they wouldn't dare give voice to while in the company of friends or colleagues. In a time when calling every woman you see "sweetheart" and assuming that every person of color is "the help" is frowned upon, listening to Rush Limbaugh is like a secret confirmation that you've planted your flag firmly on the side of the bigot. It might not be popular to tell people that anymore, but listening to someone who at least pretends to feel that way too is still all the rage in some circles. We have entire television news networks dedicated to it these days.

Rush Limbaugh knows better than anyone that telling people they aren't assholes for being total assholes is a service that's scandal-proof.

Chris Brown


The Scandal

I know, you're probably reading this right now thinking "Wait, there was a scandal involving Chris Brown? I've heard nothing of this!" So let me be the first to tell you ... Chris Brown punched Rihanna. In the face. Hard. A lot of times.

The fact that the beating took place the night before both stars were set to perform at the 2009 Grammy Awards, along with Brown's arrest on felony charges and the brutal images of Rhianna's battered face, led to an immediate and intense media circus. Overnight, Chris Brown went from squeaky clean Wrigley's gum and milk spokesperson to the most reviled man in music.

"Chris builds strong muscles by drinking milk, then uses them to blast broads in the face!"

It seemed as if he had maybe another month or two on the entertainment planet before he finally departed in the same rocket that took Vanilla Ice to wherever he's been exiled to for the beating he gave the good name of rap music.

Why It Should Have Destroyed Him

"Don't hit women" is like a basic principle of male behavior. Those who don't abide by it are rightfully outcast as a lower form of person. And that's just when a regular dude hits a regular woman. But we're talking about a pop princess who was signed by Jay-Z here (I mean Rihanna, by the way).

You don't care what this caption says.

She's got millions of fans and lots of people within the industry who depend on her well-being to put food on their tables. In no time, rumors spread that Jay-Z himself guaranteed that Chris Brown was done in the music business. Nobody had any reason to doubt that was true.

Why It Didn't

Damn if we weren't wrong about that! Chris Brown stayed out of the public eye approximately as long as it took to record a new album. He then released that album, released a bunch of videos and went on tour, because when life hands you a reputation as a woman beater who deserves to hide in shame for the rest of his days, you just fucking punch that in the face too and carry on, apparently.

And gradually, people fell for it. Before long, Chris Brown was doing talk shows and performing on award shows and even winning awards. Sure, pockets of resistance still pop up on the Internet, and he's even dumb enough to try and respond to them sometimes, but when it comes to the career of Chris Brown, for all intents and purposes, the Rihanna incident might as well have never happened.

And if you're still holding out hope that Chris Brown will somehow suffer a fatal blow to his singing career as a result of his unsavory treatment of Rihanna, I regret to inform you that the exact opposite thing is about to happen. Rihanna's most recent album, Unapologetic, includes a song called "Nobody's Business" that features, on co-lead vocals, you guessed it, Chris Brown. And if recent news reports are correct, it's going to be her next single.

Ike Turner would be proud.

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Marv Albert


The Scandal

Marv Albert is a dirty bird. We found that out in exhaustive, sometimes horrifying detail after he was arrested and charged with forced sodomy, assault and battery in 1997. People who willingly have sex with Marv Albert don't even want to know as much about his inside-the-bedroom tendencies as we learned from watching him sweat out a potential life sentence from underneath one of the most ridiculous hairpieces in the game. During testimony, it was revealed that Albert forced a female companion into his hotel room bed, bit her 15 to 20 times and then forced her to perform oral sex on him (that counts as sodomy, too, Jesus fans).

And Marv Albert didn't deny a bit (ha!) of it. His only defense was that the assault was consensual. And that's when another woman came forward and claimed that he'd pulled a similar, but this time far more dramatic stunt with her. In this incident, Albert called a hotel employee up to his room to "help him send a fax."

"Gets 'em every time!"

She arrived to find Albert wearing a garter belt and women's underwear, fully aroused. She claimed that the freaky sports legend tried to force himself on her, but she was able to escape by, and I'm not joking, knocking his toupee off his head and running out of the room. I can only hope she yelled "No!" first in her best Marv Albert voice.

Why It Should Have Destroyed Him

Sports is an unforgiving world. If you don't believe that, go look for Pete Rose's plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame. On top of that, it's a God-fearing, buttoned-down kind of world that prefers their sports guys to be sports guys, as opposed to guys who wear lingerie and sometimes bang dudes. When NBC finally fired him a few months into the scandal, it was safe to assume that we'd seen the last of Marv Albert.

But Marv had something going for him that would ultimately save the day.

Why It Didn't

Irreplaceable. That's what Marv Albert was when it came to basketball on NBC. If you think that's not true, consider who they brought in to take his place. Bob goddamn Costas.


That's like being replaced by Louis CK in a comedy show. The hole you've left is so vast that it can only be filled with the maximum amount of talent available. It's like when Lindsey Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac and they had to hire two people to replace him. Calling in Bob Costas is effectively calling in two people. He's that fucking good.

But he's not as good as Marv Albert. Not as good at calling basketball games, anyway. Don't take my word for it, though; here's a quote from the Cos himself on the matter:

"If someone says Marv Albert is the signature voice of the NBA and the games are not the same without him, I not only have no problem with that, I agree with it."

This was in response to public ridicule of Costas' work calling the Chicago Bulls' sixth NBA title, a fact I mention solely because I was born and raised in Illinois. Regardless, it was clear what had to be done. Bob Costas had to keep the job, because Marv Albert totally mouth-raped someone.

Just joking. NBC hired Albert back less than two years after the scandal that briefly cost him his career. And then, because karma is sometimes a very real thing, NBC lost their television contract with the NBA just two short seasons into Marv Albert's return.

Michael Vick


The Scandal

Michael Vick's reputation took a hit after he knowingly infected a woman with herpes in what came to be entertainingly known as "The Ron Mexico Scandal," but lucky for him nobody remembers that shit, because not long after that unsavory affair, Michael Vick went to prison for owning and operating an illegal dog-fighting ring.

In the weeks and months leading up to his incarceration, more and more heartbreaking details of dogs mistreated and killed came to light, all of which painted Vick as nothing short of a psychopath. Hours after he pleaded guilty to criminal charges, the NFL gave him an indefinite suspension without pay from the league. As for the court of public opinion, well, this all happened in 2007. As of 2012, he's still topping "Most Hated Athlete" lists.

But it's gotta be nice to win something for a change, at least.

Why It Should Have Destroyed Him

Everything mentioned in the Marv Albert entry about the unforgiving nature of the sports world plus killing dogs equals a lifetime ban from the good graces of just about everyone alive. Or at least you'd think it would have. Sure, he was going to get out of prison with fresh legs and the toned physique of someone who has nothing to do all day but lift weights, but would any team really take on the PR nightmare of having thousands of angry dog lovers protesting in the parking lot of every game your team plays? Because that's what we were all pretty sure was going to happen. No team was going to touch this guy, and everybody knew it.

Why It Didn't

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid knows a thing or two about young people with problems. His sons (one of whom tragically passed away earlier this year) have been in and out of jail for drug-related offenses during his time in Philly. So it should have come as no surprise when, at the urging of then quarterback Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid signed Michael Vick to a new contract as soon as he was released from prison and his suspension was lifted.

The mustache of a man who cares.

Vick sat the bench most of his first year back. But when McNabb was traded away in the offseason and starter Kevin Kolb went down with an injury early into his second season back, Michael Vick was inserted into the starting lineup and played at an insanely high level. He's been the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback ever since. It's the kind of ending Disney movies are made of, provided that movie is 101 Dalmatians and the script is rewritten so Cruella de Vil wins.

But guess what? We have to accept it! Why? Because Michael Vick committed a very specific crime for which he was punished in a few very specific ways. Once criminals have served their time and paid their fines and proved that the punishment has reformed them, they're allowed to re-enter society and hold down jobs like the rest of us. Even the Humane Society is working with the guy these days.

That's exactly how the justice system is supposed to work. It's just sad that it only works that way for a select few people.

Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

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