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Krupa swears she's not a monster

Joanna Krupa swears she isn’t the Model From Hell – she just plays one on TV. Last Tuesday on ABC’s debut of its new incarnation of "The Superstars,"Krupa unloaded on partner Terrell Owens(notes) with such unrestrained spite that she managed to make the Buffalo Bills receiver look like a mild-mannered dude caught in a diva’s crossfire.

The profanity-filled, unedited Internet footage of Krupa’s rant as she and her athletically gifted partner became the first team eliminated from the competition cast her as even more of a monster.

And those of you who despise T.O. will be happy to know that, upon reflection, Krupa doesn’t take any of it back. Instead, she offers this explanation: You had to be there.

“Yes, I blew up, but I had my reasons,” Krupa said Thursday night from Los Angeles. “Trust me, there was a lot of frustration, and it was building up throughout the competition – and then it burst. I didn’t feel like my partner was giving it 100 percent, and I didn’t feel like I had a teammate. Poor, poor him? Come on! Look at his track record.

“To some people, I’m a hero. I stood up to T.O. After what he’s been doing to teammates for years, I finally gave it back.”

Before we further break down the Battle of the Beautiful People – and for the record, my personal opinion is that a) neither one is as incontrovertibly awful as he/she has been portrayed; b) it’s show-biz; and c) I hope you’re all enjoying the offseason as much as I am – let’s bring you the best news of all.

According to a sneak preview on the show’s website, Owens and Krupa will be back on the show for next Tuesday’s episode, having been returned to the competition because of an injury to former tennis star Jennifer Capriati. After the second episode airs, Krupa believes, “I think people will see obviously why I was so frustrated.”

The Polish-born Krupa, who is billed on her website as the Sexiest Top Model In the World, charged that Owens was high-maintenance even by her industry’s lofty standards.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t experienced in my field such weird energy, such a prima donna,” she said. “Even the other cast members – it was competitive between the girls, kind of a weird vibe.”

One of those cast members, legendary soccer standout Brandi Chastain, said Thursday, “Joanna is very, very nice. She was a joy to be around. I had no idea that she had such a, uh, competitive streak until I saw the show on Tuesday.”

However, former NFL standout Warren Sapp(notes), who is part of the show’s announcing crew, had a much different perspective.

“She’s a maneater,” Sapp said of Krupa. “You heard of cougars and all that [expletive]. This is a maneater, buddy. She wants to make it seem like he was [a prima donna], but I was there, and that’s a lie. She’s a nightmare. She treated him like he was her child. She’s crazier than any athlete I’ve ever seen.”

Krupa clearly took the made-for-TV competition more seriously than Owens. She was “ecstatic” when she learned of the pairing, explaining, “I saw how athletic he was, and I said, ‘We’re gonna win this. I got a great teammate. He’s gonna kill it.’”

However, Krupa claimed, “From the beginning, we didn’t click. He was too busy flirting with [actress and fellow cast member] Ali Landry. Every other team was bonding, and I felt all alone. He was preoccupied with another project, and he had just signed with the Bills, and he seemed to be off in his own world. In the first two events I did as well as he did, and he was the athlete.”

Despite Sapp’s defense of Owens’ behavior, Krupa insisted her partner was the one oozing attitude on the set.

“Let’s get that [expletive] straight,” she said. “He was late every time he had a call time. He was 30 minutes late. I understand he was the star of the show, and the star is always late. I get it. But that wasn’t the only thing. Every time we were off camera, he was taking off his shirt, so we could all look at him. He had his bodyguard and assistant with him the whole shoot. There was a point where he threatened he was gonna leave the show if he couldn’t wear his hat with his website on it. There was a lot going on that people didn’t see on the show.”

What they did see made Krupa seem like the Model From Hell. After losing a pair of obstacle-course relays, the first after Owens got his foot caught in a cargo net for a prolonged period, Krupa began muttering to herself, “I don’t want a teammate like that. Calls himself an athlete? What does he get a million dollars for?”

When Owens offered a conciliatory, “Hey, Jo, let’s go,” she shot back: “No, T.O., not ‘No, let’s go.’ You’re the one who [expletive] up. We could have won. So shut up.”

Said Sapp, who witnessed the exchange: “As I watched her berate him, I thought, ‘Oh, if I could put Donovan McNabb(notes) and Jeff Garcia(notes), one on each shoulder, and Tony Romo(notes) on the top of my head, it would be amazing. Cause this is something I haven’t seen.’ [Owens] looked at me like, ‘Dawg, what do I do with her?’ I was like, ‘I have no idea.’”

Shortly thereafter, Owens said on the telecast what most viewers undoubtedly were thinking: “I feel sorry for her boyfriend.”

Krupa, who is engaged to Miami club owner Romain Zago, had this response on Thursday: “Obviously, I don’t treat my fiancé like that – but he’s not T.O. If he was T.O., maybe I would treat him differently.”

Amazingly, at least according to Krupa, the unhappy pair ended up on semi-decent terms. “People might think T.O. and I are enemies, but we’re not,” she said. “We’re not good friends, either, but we’re fine. He even came to a Maxim ‘Hot 100’ event I hosted in Santa Monica two weeks ago, after I invited him. He showed up late, of course – it started at 8 [p.m.], and he got there at 10:30 – but we actually had a good talk.”

Krupa even said she might go to one of Owens’ games this season. In addition to her frustration over his behavior, she offered additional explanations for her on-air tirade: It was after midnight and she was exhausted from a long day of competition; she didn’t realize that Owens’ foot was caught in the cargo net because a climbing wall blocked her view; and she was the victim of creative editing.

“ABC basically needs an Oscar for the way they edited it,” she said. “But hey, it’s show business, and anything that sells, right? They told us, ‘This is a competition show; this is not a reality show.’ But I guess the footage was too good for them not to show it.

“I am a little potty-mouthed – I’m going to work on that. But besides the cursing, I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

Hey, I’m happy, too. Far be it from me to argue with the Sexiest Top Model In The World.

OXYGEN-DEPRIVED THOUGHT FROM ABOVE

In the wake of my controversial column calling for the Redskins to change their nickname, and the contentious discussion it provoked, I suppose some of you will find the experience I had at an Indian casino last Friday night somewhat humorous, or possibly poetic, so here goes: After arriving at the Cache Creek Casino in Northern California with friends, I checked in to receive my free club card, which entitled me to amenities that included entry into a nightly 'Splash of Cash' drawing. I put the entry slip into a large receptacle without giving it much thought and, eventually, made my way into a venue within the casino to watch a two-hour concert. Later, while walking past the front desk, my friends John and Sara started screaming and pointing at a grease board, and the first thing I saw was: $6,000 cash, Michael Silver. "Oh my God!" Sara yelled. "You won!" And I had – if by "won" she meant "lost." Also on the board upon further review: "One hour to claim!" And "10 p.m." It was 11:45 p.m. I had just experienced the sensation of scoring a dramatic goal in soccer, only to see the offsides flag go up out of the corner of my eye. And, of course, failing to cash in on a six-grand parlay because of the call. I took it reasonably well, but the several dozen witnesses to our premature celebration didn't give up so easily. "Go up and tell them you won!" many of them advised me. When they learned that I'd been occupied in the concert, and thus unable to hear loudspeaker announcements, they urged me to appeal on those grounds. Alas, the guy in charge wasn't hearing it – I was 45 minutes late, and out a mythical six-large. People started booing. They didn't think it was fair. Others believed it was a setup – that the casino purposely picked me to win because, based on a club-card scan, they knew I'd be in the concert venue. Whatever. In my opinion, it's not the greatest public-relations strategy on earth, but if that's the worst thing that happens to me in a casino this decade, I'll take it. Besides, the Don Julio shots took away some of the sting, which brings us to our next category …

TAKE IT TO THE ATM

If you want to keep up with my latest adventures – and those of intriguing sports personalities like T.O., Michael Crabtree and Spencer Hawes (with many more to come) – you'll head to Mogotxt and join the revolution. … The U.S. soccer team won't shock the world again in its Confederations Cup final against Brazil, but the Americans will put up a much better fight than they did in bracket play (and leave South Africa feeling very, very good about themselves). … Though we now know South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford did not take a solitary walk on the Appalachian Trail, he will take a hike come November 2010.

LIES, LIES, LIES

1. While vacationing in the Bahamas with his father-in-law, Tom Coughlin, Giants guard Chris Snee will be required to show up five minutes early to Happy Hour at the poolside bar.

2. One month from now, the world will be a much safer place with Donte' Stallworth and Michael Vick out of jail and the guy who stole Lance Armstrong's bike serving a three-year prison term.

3. In the wake of his appearance on "The Sean Hannity Show," Jets kicker Jay Feely will be addressed by teammates as "Wide Right."

LET'S DO SOME DON JULIO SILVER SHOTS FOR …

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, two '70s icons who died Thursday and made those of us who came of age in that era feel a whole lot older. In Jackson's case, the term " '70s icon" is vastly insufficient. He was, quite simply, one of the most talented and compelling performers of the century, and the undeniable proof is in the music. Sadly, he had many well-documented issues that don't make for pleasant conversation, and the massive fame he enjoyed for virtually all of his 50 years had an extreme adverse effect. Possibly, he never had a fighting chance, and I hope he'll Moonwalk his way to a sense of peace in the afterlife. As for the late Angel, I prefer to remember her this way.

THIS WEEK'S PROOF THAT CAL IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

As the athletic year comes to a close, there is much to celebrate for the Golden Bears, who appear headed for a second consecutive seventh-place finish in the Director's Cup standings. Though I'm not a fan of this particular scoring system, certainly finishing in the top 10 for six of the past seven years is a sign that the world's greatest university is building an athletic empire worthy of its overall excellence. Another sign: Sandy (Hand Me The Mic And Get Out Of The Way) Barbour has been honored as a regional Athletic Director of the Year by NACDA (The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics). In other cool developments, Cal rugby star Colin Hawley scored a try in his first full international appearance with the U.S. National Team, helping the Eagles to a 31-13 victory over Georgia earlier this week. And basketball star Alexis Gray-Lawson (aka Alexis Gray-Awesome was named to the Team USA roster for the World University Games and will compete for a gold medal in Belgrade, Serbia, next month. Finally, Benvenue, a very loud and unsubtle band made up of former Cal football players Erik Robertson(notes), Sid Slater and Francis Blay-Miezah, rocks Blake's in Berkeley on Saturday night. And with that, Golden Bears, get ready for the best year ever (yes, I know I sound like a student-council candidate from my childhood, but it's true) in 2009-10, when Cal will have a legitimate shot at capturing conference titles in football and men's and women's basketball – and virtually every other sport.

YAHOO! SEARCH WORDS OF THE WEEK

don't stop till you get enough

LYRIC-ALTERED SONG DEDICATION OF THE WEEK

In a dramatic announcement, Titans halfback Chris Johnson declared last Tuesday that he would unilaterally shed the "Smash and Dash" moniker he shared last season with fellow runner LenDale White(notes) and assume a new, self-anointed nickname: "Every Coach's Dream." The fact that Johnson didn't bother to inform White about their impending "divorce" shows just how serious he is about making the change, which undoubtedly took root as he stared into a mirror and made like a cheesy '70s pop-rocker. Here's The Gameface's interpretation of that magical moment, to the tune of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver," a song you may remember from "Wayne's World" or "The People Vs. Larry Flynt."

Mike just closed his eyes again
Took the Heimerdinger sleep train
Visions of Susan Sarandon through the night
Morphing into sheer delight

Oh-oh dream weaver
Come let CJ make everything all right
Oh-oh dream weaver
I can do it better than LenDale White

Smash and Dash is now in the past
Stewart and Williams can have their name
Man I feel so much lighter now
Cutting back hard across the grain

Oh-oh dream weaver
Come let CJ make everything all right
Oh-oh dream weaver
Even Hakeem didn't have a name this tight

100 total yards through two
I went to the sideline
Suddenly John Harbaugh's wildest dreams came true
Toasting my ankle with Rex Ryan

Oh-oh dream weaver
Come let CJ make everything all right
Oh-oh dream weaver
I can do it better than LenDale White

Dreeeeeeeeeeammmm weaver
Coaching me is a delight
Dreeeeeammmm weaver
Stare into the light …