"You should be ashamed of yourselves." -
Kellen Winslow, Sr.
If only he knew, he could have stopped all this. But with the conspiracy unraveling, and the corrupt machinations of the media beginning to be exposed, the time has come for the lid to be taken off. The world must know.
The planners knew the risks when they took me in. I was but a wet-behind-the-ears sports reporting newbie, with only a tenuous connection to the dark world of real journalism. I can't be blamed for what I am about to write.
It was late in March when I was first pulled in to the media conspiracy to make Kellen Winslow, Jr, look like a schmuck. I am a middle-aged man, but somehow it seems like I was still young then.
Now, only ten weeks later, I look at life differently.
* * *
"We have to bring him down", said the journalist that I will codename Big McLargeHuge, "You know who I mean... The Chosen One... K2".
"He's become too big, far too big for this town", I concurred. "He has the ability to make us journalist-types look foolish and weak by comparison. As he gains in strength and power, our star will wane."
"Then you're in?", he asked.
"I'm in", I said, setting in motion the events which I am now forced to relay.
* * *
Please do not to judge me harshly, gentle readers. I am but a journalist, and barely that.
As a sometimes-reporter, I am a "little" person, as the elder Winslow pointed out (audio, MP3) barely able to see out side of my own narrow view of the world.
But even little men will fight to protect their own fragile egos, and our cabal contained many unimportant people desperate to maintain their small and inconsequential places in the world. As we gathered for our initial meeting, I reflected that I was no better. I, too, was a "little" and pathetic. Perhaps, if not in the physical sense, at least in my stature in the world when compared to Men of Greatness™.
Figure 1. Conspirators gather in top-secret meeting place
You could see it in the eyes of the media conspirators when we first met. You could see the inner weaknesses behind the public face.
Dismissing these nagging thoughts of inferiority, we put in place our scheme.
It was a television reporter, one that you know of, who first hit upon the idea of getting K2 on a motorcycle, which we knew was both dangerous and forbidden by his contract. The faster the motorcycle, the better.
I didn't consider it a workable plan. K2 is far too conscientious to be involved in such a dangerous and reckless sport.
We were moving away from the idea - I preferred the scheme which involved trapping him in a room with a briefcase of stolen money and fourteen drunken soccer moms - when inspiration struck.
"I know how to get him on that cycle", McLargeHuge said.
The brilliant part of the plan is that it exploited K2's only known weakness: a desire to help sick and innocent little children and puppies.
The hard part, or so we thought, was to create the association in Kellen's mind between saving children and puppies and recklessly operating a motorcycle.
It turned out to be amazingly simple.
* * *
I know why I was recruited. This is why I was so important to the planners: computers.
Journalists are brilliant in a devious way, but have been hamstrung by their lack of technical knowledge. It is what has kept them down so long.
Journalists, you see, deal with computers the same way that a gorilla might deal with a tasty banana locked tight in a clear but unopenable box.
First they begin by investigating it. Their fingers start probing and mashing every square inch of the computer. Buttons are pressed, and screens are smeared with journalistic sweat. When the computer remains inert, they will often begin banging it with their fists. Finally, when this fails to yield a satisfying result, they will often hurl the computer savagely, barking epithets which cannot be reprinted here.
I may not be much of a journalist, or a conspirator, but I am a nerd, and they knew this. In my bumbling and naive way, I thoughtlessly brought with me the key to the media's ascendancy, which only Kellen Winslow Jr. could block.
I could be used to unlock the box. I could be used to bring down the Chosen One.
* * *
So, I hacked into K2's computer.
It wasn't as hard as it undoubtedly sounds. All I had to do was develop a website devoted to puppy-saving, and it was just a matter of time before a site visit occurred.
A small piece of script looked for the words "How can I help? - Kellen" to be typed into a contact form. When that happened, as it inevitably did, the script downloaded a software application which subliminally broadcast messages into Kellen's brain, and - a surprising bonus we didn't expect - that of some of his friends.
Figure 3. Web page used to lure Winslow
The scenario which entered his helpless and unwilling mind was brilliantly conceived. I wish I could take credit for its formulation, although I lacked the creative skills to assist. But I know what it contained.
They put a premonition into Kellen's mind as he worked late into the night on the computer I modified with the subliminal broadcasting software. The sequence, which undoubtedly came to dominate his thoughts, was to suggest that a sick puppy and an emotionally fragile small child would soon need his help. They would be lost, alone and scared, in the Westlake woods. The mewling of the puppy and faint cries of a child were combined with photos of the local woods and flashed quickly and repeatedly into his mind. It was impossible to resist.
Once the suggestion took hold, we knew that K2 would want to prepare to race to their rescue. Only a motorcycle had a narrow enough width to get through the torturous paths of the northern Ohio forests. Only the fastest motorcycle would do when innocent lives were at stake.
Destroying an innocent young man is easy. It was like taking candy from a baby.
An NFL columnist from ESPN thought up the radio-controlled weight displacement device that would occasionally force the front wheel off the ground. Another reporter ran a story on local college security which convinced Tri-C to install parking lot cameras.
Our spying, under the guise of a desire to record the gregarious Winslow's ideas to improve the lot of all men, had given us a knowledge of his daily patterns.
We knew that each evening he would drive repeatedly around the Tri-C parking lot, which is near where we had taken the photos of the woods. He would circle and circle, waiting for the cry that meant that it was time to save the puppy and child who he had foreseen would need his help.
You may have already realized the secret which has been withheld from you: Winslow was not practicing riding his motorcycle that fateful evening. He was on sentry duty.
* * *
When our lone female conspirator - chosen for this role due to her footspeed - played the pre-recorded tape of the puppy and child from just inside the nearby woods, we knew what would happen. Winslow would make a bee-line for the sound, likely with his helmet unsnapped so as to be quickly removed in order to scoop up and carry the puppy while his other arm cradled the child to safety.
With the weight displacement device forcing the front wheel off the ground at an inopportune time, even the top-of-the-line motorcycle could not be controlled. No human could have done it. It would have taken a God.
We were still nervous. As I watched from my location behind a nearby car, I thought for a moment that Kellen would be able to bring the motorcycle back under control and still race to save the fictitious child and puppy. Using seemingly superhuman strength, he almost did, and then hit upon a brilliant alternative: Winslow decided to forego using the motorcycle and actually use the curb to propel himself through the air to the victims he thought were there.
The front wheel hit the curb, launching our victim, and Winslow flew like Superman through the air. I thought that he had out-witted us, again, and that we were stupid and weak for even attempting our plan.
But Providence was on the side of Evil that night. Winslow had forgotten about our planet's gravitational pull, and how it would drag him back to the hard Northern Ohio tundra. When it did, the injuries occurred. The Chosen One lay crumpled on the ground and, for once, others would come to help him.
We slunk away, under the cover of the coming night.
* * *
Figure 4. Modifications to Elite Motorcycle
We were silent when we re-formed at the pre-designated rendezvous a quarter-hour later. Everyone knew what we had done - how the media had conspired to bring Kellen Winslow down, mercilessly mangling his body.
We didn't want to think about the implications. Our congratulations to each other were muted as our limited consciences began voicing their nagging, insistent complaints. Alcohol, of course, quieted them for many of us.
From then on, we all knew, the system would do its work. We would all write articles condemning Winslow, of course, because kicking greater men than ourselves when they are down is simply what we do. It's our reason for existence, and would be pursued with relish. Even journalists outside our cabal would join in, seeking easy prey.
Our sick behavior and scheming continued long past that horrible night. As many of you suspect, we boycotted Winslow's repeated attempts to apologize for his humane acts to his fans and friends, refusing to relay them to their intended audience. As he lay bedridden and healing, it was we who had the upper hand, and we used it to create the impression that Kellen Winslow was a pampered, prideful, arrogant dolt who felt he was too important to talk to the people who ultimately paid his salary.
It didn't stop there. Putting news reporter Chuck Galeti on the front lines last weekend was a master stroke. We knew that Galeti's small stature, combined with his horrible profession, would confuse and infuriate the elder Winslow as the pain of looking down at Galeti would aggravate an old neck injury.
Despite all this planning and our success to date, we knew that our sinister plans would not hold. Not against the laser-like insight of the elder Winslow, who rushed to the defense of his son.
So, it turns out like this. I was the weak link in the chain, and felt compelled, when rightly condemned, to pen this confession.
We made Kellen Winslow get on that motorcycle. We made him appear to pop wheelies. We made him race around and around at 35 MPH in the narrow space. We made him hit the curb. We made him appear to offer only a stony silence to his fans. We made his father attack a journalist in plain sight. I was all us, the evil media.
To Kellen Winslow, Sr, and Kellen Winslow, Jr, as well as to the staff and fans of the Cleveland Browns, I am truly sorry. I know my life is worth nothing, but beg of you to find it in your hearts to forgive me, if my revelations today will bring me some small measure of absolution.
Please forgive me. Please forgive us all.