October 21, 2008
Please recall Monday morning, which will forever be known as the last time the world hadn't seen this photograph of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore wearing nothing but black boxer briefs and covering himself in $100 bills:
That photo was discovered on Commodore's Facebook page -- which he used to keep in touch with friends playing in Europe, but has since deleted -- but only because his name was tagged in it. The image was actually uploaded to (and since taken down from) the Facebook profile of Fred Wray, his longtime friend, sports agent and the guy who actually took the photo.
Wray reached out to us last night, revealing that he and Commodore had a laugh over some of the amazing comments goofing on the picture. ("Somewhere there is a horny orangutan looking at this photo and falling in love.") While everything was all in good fun, Wray said there were a few misconceptions about the photo that Commodore wanted to clear up.
So we grabbed a few minutes of phone time with the former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman to chat about the photo, the fallout and what it feels like to be the first professional athlete to make it rain on himself.
"My mom almost had a heart attack when she saw it on the Columbus Dispatch blog," said Commodore, after a morning practice. "But I called her and explained to her what the scenario was, and she's fine."
So in the immortal words of A Tribe Called Quest and/or Leaders of the New School: What's the scenario?
"That picture is probably from about three weeks after the Super Bowl party last year that I had in Carolina. We had a team pool, and I ended up winning the pool," said Commodore, who said he pocketed $3,000 in winnings. "So that money was from the Super Bowl. I won the money, I had the cash, I went home, I was lying in bed ... I was just clowning around and kind of threw the money up. My buddy took a picture, and that was the end of it."
Well, not exactly the end. While the photo generated mostly good-natured ribbing, some believed it was a picture taken after Commodore had signed a massive five-year free-agent deal worth $18.75 million with the Jackets.
"That's totally not the case. That picture's from before I was traded to the Ottawa Senators," he said.
So Commodore doesn't typically cavort in black boxer briefs, throwing money on himself?
"No, that's what I'm trying to say. I don't usually spend my evenings in briefs throwing money around my bedroom."
And that bedroom was actually his bedroom and not a motel room, as some have inferred?
"It was. It was a little dirty. I've stepped it up since then," said Commodore, who was actually quite superstitious about changing much about the room when he lived in Raleigh. "My first year, I wasn't even guaranteed to make the team, you know? So I didn't buy a place. And that year we ended up winning the Stanley Cup, so I'm like, 'Wow, I'm not going to change anything.' Although it was due for an upgrade."
Astute Puck Daddy readers used CSI-like analysis to break down aspects of the photo, and we wanted Commodore to address some of them. Like, for example, the tin of chewing tobacco found, conveniently, on his nightstand.
"That's a habit that I've since dropped. It was an occasional thing to pass the time."
Does he recall what the mysterious book on the bed may have been? "No. No I don't. Although if I look at it ... hold on, it's posted up over here in the room."
Commodore walked over to an unspecified location in the Blue Jackets locker room, reviewed the posted photo, and returned.
"If I had to guess, it may have been a Vince Flynn book," he said, regarding the best-selling pop fiction author. "It's just kinda like a police kinda thriller."
So someone put the photo up in the room in Columbus, huh?
"We had a media day here, about how to handle the media. It was nice timing with that picture coming out. That is now Exhibit A," Commodore said with a laugh. "I'm setting an example for the young guys on what not to do. Being a good leader here."
Did he take any of the readers' man-scaping advice to heart?
"Some of those quotes on there were honestly really funny. I don't mind. I am who I am, and it doesn't bother me at all," said Commodore. "The main thing I want to get out is the timing of it. It looks like I signed a contract and this is what I'm doing. Which is not the case. They can call me an orange baboon or whatever they want to call me, and I'll just laugh."
Finally, how does it feel to be, perhaps, the first professional athlete to make it rain on himself with the money?
Commodore laughed. "Yeah, I guess it feels kind of good. I really didn't see this coming, obviously. And making it rain really wasn't what I was trying to do. I guess I'll just leave it at that: It was a good feeling, but a feeling I want only once."